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The Environment Suffers From E-Waste

The Environment Suffers From E-Waste

It is common knowledge how fragile the environment is. Any changes in our surroundings and its impact can be seen or felt soon enough because Mother Nature always remind us of our wrongdoings. You don’t need to be a whiz to notice all the major things happening around us today. You don’t even need natural disasters to highlight all these things to you as they can be felt gradually over time. Weather extremes like the heat and the cold are perfect examples, well, the heat mostly especially now that global warming is no longer just a threat but a reality of our times. I am sure you can feel it too and not just during summer. The world is heating up. More heat is trapped in our atmosphere that not only makes the planet warmer but speeds up the melting of polar ice caps. No wonder the sea level is also rising and is increasingly becoming a threat to island nations like the Maldives.

Negligent and abusive human activities are the main reasons why the world is becoming more inhospitable as the days go by. Technology plays a major role as it is what defines the world we live in now. Modern life has brought about many complexities and challenges even if we like to make ourselves believe that it has made our lives easier, brighter and more convenient. It may be true in one way or the other but seeing how it has transformed our planet into a vast wasteland, others may beg to differ. Technology also puts a big strain on the energy sector as it uses up too much of it and it is an unending cycle seeing that we can’t live a life devoid of the tech gadgets that we now obsess over.

While the health implications of e-waste are difficult to isolate due to the informal working conditions, poverty, and poor sanitation, several studies in Guiyu, a city in southeastern China, offer insight. Guiyu is known as the largest e-waste recycling site in the world, and the city’s residents exhibit substantial digestive, neurological, respiratory, and bone problems. For example, 80 percent of Guiyu’s children experience respiratory ailments, and are especially at risk of lead poisoning.3

Residents of Guiyu are not the only ones at risk. Researchers such as Brett Robinson, a professor of soil and physical sciences at Lincoln University in New Zealand, warn that wind patterns in Southeast China disperse toxic particles released by open-air burning across the Pearl River Delta Region, home to 45 million people.4 In this way, toxic chemicals from e-waste enter the “soil-crop-food pathway,” one of the most significant routes for heavy metals’ exposure to humans. These chemicals are not biodegradable—they persist in the environment for long periods of time, increasing exposure risk. 

(Via: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2013/e-waste.aspx)

I think you don’t even have to debate about this anymore as it is evident in the state of our environment what it has to endure day in and day out because of negligent and abusive human activities. It can only take so much before nature starts to manifest the effects of our actions and seeing the way things go now, it isn’t a pretty sight. Our love for all things technology is the biggest driver to environmental deterioration and destruction. You can see it all around you. Pollution is everywhere: in the air, the water, and even the bustling city noise can be too much at times. Some of us change gadgets in just a few months’ time. This undeniable love for tech gadgets is what drives this industry to manufacture more device that will eventually end up as e-waste over time if not disposed of properly.

By next year the amount of e-waste generated globally is projected to hit 50m tonnes, according to the United Nations University’s Global E-waste Monitor. This will include in excess of 3 million tonnes of small gadgets. That’s not just mobile phones, calculators and laptops – it’s also new stuff like fitbits, Christmas socks that play jingle bells and unmentionables such as vibrators (sorry, but if it’s got a battery, it’s e-waste). There will also be some 12 million tonnes of large equipment: washing machines, clothes dryers and, increasingly, solar panels.

The record will quickly be surpassed. E-waste is created by the digital revolution, driven by Moore’s law – the observation that microchips double in capacity roughly every two years – and other frenetic obsolescence, which some maintain manufacturers design into their products deliberately.

(Via: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/20/electronic-recycling-e-waste-2017-gadgets)

This is the logical (and unfortunate) consequence of our actions right now. We should not even be wasting time by pointing fingers at everybody and blaming others for the current state of Mother Nature when we ourselves have probably contributed to it one way or the other. While we can make minor lifestyle changes to promote and practice the reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste, dealing with e-waste is an entirely different issue. Remember that technology innovations are dynamic and alongside it are new gadgets showcasing better specifications and features to encourage the public to dump their perfectly functioning old phone in favor of newer and sleeker models that virtually have the same functions albeit with a few twists. And we are not just talking about one brand here. This is a multi-billion dollar industry that spans the entire world and continues to contribute to the rise of e-trash that has no more place in the world.

If you are the practical and responsible type who hates spending on unnecessary expenses, you don’t necessarily have to buy a new device even if something bad happens to it. You can still recover your data and buy replacement for defective parts rather than buying a whole new set. That way you can reduce e-trash in your own little way. If you are quite clueless how data recovery works, check these out to learn more about data recover: https://www.harddrivefailurerecovery.net/how-to-recover-data-remotely/ and https://www.harddrivefailurerecovery.net/how-flat-rate-data-recovery-pricing-works/.