Green Computing |
The Negative Effects of Computer Use on the Environment
The negative effects of computer use on the environment
There are several effects computer use has on the environment. Not only does it affect the environment but also human health. Hopefully this information becomes useful and you start considering what you do with your computers they next time you decide to throw them away!
First of all, sometimes people (especially in businesses) print unnecessary large amounts of files, emails or things from the internet which wastes paper and harms trees. People who use computers never really turn off the device which wastes electricity that could have been saved and reduce the amount of burning of fossil fuel.
Secondly, computers are made of heavy metals and dangerous chemicals. Heavy metals including:
These metals and chemicals contribute to global warming because from these discarded computers it causes water contamination and air pollution.
- Lead: Can be found in the Cathode Ray Tube, the glass of the monitor and the solder in the circuit board of the CPU. A CRT monitor can have up to 2.2kg of lead based on the glass used. Lead poisoning can happen through fumes, food contamination, skin absorption.
Lead is particularly harmful to children because it interferes with development of the nervous system. It is a neurotoxin that can harm the kidneys and reproductive systems. Even low levels of lead and be harmful to a child’s mental development.
- Mercury: Can be found in the circuit boards and internal switches. Mercury poisoning can include symptoms itching/burning skin, skin discoloration, shedding of the skin. It is linked to brain and kidney damage and harmful to developing fetus. It can be passed to an infant via breast milk.
- Brominated Flame Retardants: may cause thyroid damage and harm fetal development.
- Beryllium: it is a carcinogen that can cause lung disease
- Cadmium: Can be found in a coating on monitor glass, batteries, chip resistors and cables/wires. Cadmium can damage kidneys and bones.
- PCV: which emits highly toxic dioxin when incinerated.
E-waste is sent to developing countries which are placed in landfills where people there extract materials from these electronics such as gold, silver, and copper. They extract them by burning the substances and that process releases hazardous smoke into the air. Toxins from the air also touch the water which also gets polluted and causes health risks. People drink this water and also use it for cleaning their clothes.
The people present around the e-waste gain diseases such as skin cancer, brain damage, lung cancer, kidney disease and abortion.