Smartphones are technological aids that offer limitless benefits to our daily lives. However, in the midst of all these technological advancements, we often forget to address one important issue – the dangers of the mobile ecosystem on our beautiful planet.
We all know that smartphones have drastically transformed our lives, but factors such as intensive production, consumption of resources, and disposal of smartphones might not be quiet so clever in in an environmental sense as well as in the social sphere.
Threats of Production Process
The ecological impact of smartphone industry is catastrophic and according to scholars, will have the major carbon footprint in the tech industry by 2040.
It is investigated that 80% of the carbon footprint of a smartphone occurs during its making, out of which 16% is held accountable by usage of device during its lifetime, whereas the remaining in transportation emanations from the supplier to consumer.
A mobile device begins his lifespan in the hands of the manufacturer. For the creation of a single smartphone, around 62 different metals and metalloids are utilized such as aluminum, copper, platinum, tungsten, etc. thus making it one of the most resource-intensive commodities on the market.
Most of these precious elements are anticipated to cease its existence in the future. So not only are they a huge drain of resources, but is also severely harmful on the environment as a large amount of fuel is consumed and forests destroyed while extracting them through mining. An area of Amazonian rainforest the size of a football pitch is being wrecked every minute due to mining.
Companies need to prioritize over these grave matters by closely monitoring mining methods. Also public awareness can go a long way in boosting more responsibility at the production phase.
Unfortunately currently, huge multinational companies are not supposed to reveal any evidence regarding the carbon footprint or ecological practices of their suppliers.
Hence, this subject is left aside in the corner, giving them less motivation to endeavor in the direction of a cleaner operation.
More New Creations of Smartphones, Less Sustainability
With new creations in the world of smartphones every now and then, the lifetime of devices are growing shorter and shorter with each passing day, thus causing less sustainability.
One of the biggest environmental issues posed by smartphones is what happens to them once their lifespan has come to an end.
In today’s progressive world, where technology has taken a fast track to advancement, manufacturers are competing against one another to produce slimmer and innovative phones with fancier designs.
Due to a variety of new options to choose from, people frequently “elevate” their old phones to the latest ones in the market, even if their device works seamlessly fine.
Yet even if people are upgrading their phones less frequently, electronic firms are taking a shot in making up for their lost profits by selling impressive, bigger phones.
This results in an absurd quantity of unnecessary and unsustainable waste. It contributes to not only the treacherous problem of micro plastic, but something far worse: e-waste.
Less than 16% of all the e-waste is send for recycling each year, which means that majority of e-waste are just left in landfill.
It’s not just an excessive waste of resources, but is also a threat to human and terrestrial wellbeing as it releases harmful impurities such as lead, arsenic, zinc and mercury that can cause deadly pollution and jeopardize the healthiness of local residents.
Greener Smartphone Use
The key answer to lessen these detrimental damages is that we as public must alter our buying habits and strive towards a more environmental-friendly smartphone model.
There are some simple measures we all can follow to reduce the impact of smartphones on the environment:
1. You can do your share by purchasing a charger that takes up less energy.
2. You don’t need to upgrade your old phone to the newest model. Instead, buy yourself a renewed device to prolong the lifespan of a device.
3. Try using your device less often and for longer than the average two-year cycle. By using your phone less frequently, you can lengthen its life considerably as well as obtain some mental and physical benefits along the way
4. Recycle, sell or pass your phone forward when you are done with it to extend its lifespan.
5. Support companies that are more eco-friendly.
Having flashy phones might look good in your hands but by taking small baby steps, we all could help make a difference and make the world a much better place to live in.