Affect of Technologies on Our Environment
In the age of technological advancement, it becomes more and more obvious that technology greatly affects our environment. Technology is constantly changing, which means that various devices prove to be useful now, but will come out of fashion in the nearest future. After that, they will be thrown away. This causes environmental problems, because various old devices that are no longer in use contain particles that can contaminate air, water and soil. This leads to an assumption that rapid changes in technological progress and constant changes in software result in the ever-growing buildup of electronic waste in various parts of the world, including Vietnam, which is known as the one of the leading e-waste countries across the world.
Many technologies that are used today consume more resources than needed, so that the production and use of various technologies result in a number of environmental concerns. Technology can harm the environment in a number of ways as will be discussed below.
- Pollution. This stands for air and water pollution, soil contamination and heat issues that are all caused by the production and use of technology. Moreover, e-waste is becoming a serious problem as well, with useless electronic devices like computers, television and mobile phones being thrown away. Collecting of electronic waste has started ten years ago, but developed very quickly. A great number of cars and trucks are used to collect e-waste in big cities. The parts of various products are disassembled and classified, and then sold to recycling companies, electronic repair shops and other institutions helping to utilize electronic waste. However, the collection of e-waste and its disposal cause a number of environmental problems as well as public health concerns for the community.
- Public health concerns. The disposal of e-waste leads to a number of health issues as many pollutants are released from e-waste during the process of recycling, and these pollutants including heavy metals can accumulate in one’s body through inhalation of polluted air. This puts occupational safety under threat. More so, all work has to be done by hand, so that the only means of protection used by workers are gloves and eyewear. Furthermore, the use of toxic materials may lead to the development of such conditions as cancer, while the constant use of technology itself might lead to obesity among the population due to insufficient physical activity.
- Consumption of resources. Such non-renewable resources as precious metals including gold are used to make various kinds of technology. Some others, like coal, are used to generate electricity to enable the use of technology. Even some renewable resources such as water and trees are being polluted and used up rapidly being unable to renew themselves due to constant technological progress.
- Waste. The production of technology results in large amounts of waste as discussed above. The used computers and other kinds of electronics are thrown away when they are broken or go out of fashion. This is known as technotrash or e-waste, which contains dangerous chemicals that are not safe for the environment. There is a need to get rid of e-waste using special techniques and methods.
- Disrupted ecology. Building of factories on lands where animals used to live and plants used to grow generates the contamination of food chain, which can greatly affect the natural cycles taking place in the environment. This leads to the extinction of various species of animals and plants, consequently resulting in the disruption of ecological processes, which is a great environmental concern of modern days. Although some animal species are protected from extinction, they do not live in natural habitats. This does not allow them to live in proper living conditions. This is another concern of environmentalists that should be solved in the nearest future.
The problem of e-waste and other environmental concerns can be cleared out by choosing more energy-efficient and less dangerous electronics and by providing support to companies for which protection of environment is a priority. The environmental impacts can also be reduced if the society itself becomes more concerned about it and disposes used electronics in a safe manner.
On the other hand, there are also a few positive effects of technology on environment as will be discussed below.
- Technology helps to develop and manufacture new materials and create new technologies that would be more sustainable without causing harm to the environment. This will eventually help to stop using the hazardous electronic devices and other technological means, which will consequently reduce pollution and eliminate the need for e-waste recycling.
- Technology allows monitoring the environmental issues in a more efficient manner to better understand the impact of various human activities on the ecology.
- It helps to create smart technology that would consequently reduce the impact on environment. This includes smart lights that can sense when there is no one in the room and turn off automatically.
- It allows using paperless means of communication like emails and online banking to carry out financial transactions through the internet, which reduces the number of trees cut down. E-banking is the system of the future, which is already in operation in the developed countries of the world.
- Technology allows various companies to reduce the impact of manufacturing and shipping and to reach a wider audience.
There are times when people are too obsessed with using new technological devices, overlooking the negative impact of technological progress on the environment. On the other hand, technology can be helpful in sustaining the environment and protecting it as discussed above. This leads to a conclusion that technology can have both positive and negative effects on the environment. It is of great important to use technology in a responsible manner in order to solve various arising environmental problems and not to create more in the future.
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