Technology has helped us to unravel a lot of mysteries in different industries and proffer lasting solutions to environmental health and safety issues. It has also contributed to most of the breakthroughs in the medical field and improving efficiency in the workplace.
It’s safe to say that we will experience rapid technological advancement in this decade like never before. Nevertheless, we can’t ignore the negative impacts of technology on environmental health and safety.
The impact of electronic devices is far-reaching as they still pose different risks, even at the end of their lifecycle. Different startups keep emerging to recycle e-waste and reduce its impact on the environment.
However, e-waste dumps remain an issue, especially in less developed regions. People living in such areas are constantly exposed to toxins daily, and their immediate environment is under threat. E-waste has untapped potentials, and its imperative to design better recycling strategies.
A lot of effort and materials go into manufacturing digital devices. For instance, many natural resources serve as raw materials for these modern technologies. Building a single smartphone requires at least 35 materials in this era.
Each element often comes from different parts of the world and tends to leave a huge carbon footprint in such regions. The mining process relies heavily on water and fossil fuel. Some of the negative impacts of the process include water pollution and deforestation.
Sadly, the quest for precious metals in many African countries has led to the loss of lives, child labor, to mention a few.
Heavy energy usage
Converting raw materials into finished products requires a high amount of energy. These devices will also be transported to different parts of the world after production.
The demand for electrical energy at data centers is getting higher every year. Most of the data banks and servers that power the technology rarely use renewable energy. Although some individuals and organizations now embrace renewable energy sources, the rate of adoption is still slow.
The top factors that are contributing to environmental pollution include moving vehicles, factories, and burning fossil fuels. They all release harmful gases into the environment, which usually affect the health of humans and animals.
Water pollution occurs as a result of human activities. When pesticides and waste from homes or industries flow into water bodies, it will upset the balance in the ecosystem. Apart from that, it can cause certain diseases.
Tech companies are the biggest culprit in this issue. This menace will continue to rear its ugly head until stakeholders adopt a circular economy approach. This initiative revolves around reusing materials instead of disposing of them after a single-use.
However, this may be difficult to achieve if manufacturers continue to roll out devices that will only last for a few years into the market.
The good thing is that many countries are introducing policies to minimize the negative impact of technology. Companies will have no option other than to comply with regulations or pay fines and serve jail terms.
It’s high time for startups to focus on developing effective environmental health and safety strategies to reduce risks in their organizations.
Consumers also have a role to play to mitigate these issues. They can consider purchasing second-hand devices, recycle, or opt for green options.