Have you ever questioned the environmental impact of using the web or mobile phone? Well, in line with a new study published within theJournal of Cleaner Production, information centers and smartphones are going to be the foremost polluting data and communication technologies in the year 2040.

The researchers, from the College of Engineering and Technology of the McMaster University (Canada), studied the carbon footprint of various devices: mobile phones, laptops, and desktops, tablets, etc. Additionally, they analyzed the impact of the data centers, those physical places that process all the data and on that we rely on for the web to figure.

“Behind each text message we send, each call, each video that we download, there’s a data center creating this attainable. The telecommunication networks consume tons of energy, they’re fed by electricity that’s still generated by the burning of fossil fuels. it’s an invisible energy consumption for us, “explains Lotfi Belkhir, lead author of the work.

Mobile phones, the foremost polluting

The result stunned them, as a result of they found that the carbon emissions that return from the use and production of data technologies are a lot of over antecedently thought. “If the trend continues, in 2014 these technologies are going to be chargeable for 14% of the ecological footprint, that is nearly 0.5 the impact of transport globally,” warns Belkhir.

Among all devices, it looks that in 2020 the foremost harmful to the environment is going to be the smartphone. And, though it doesn’t need a lot of energy for daily use, it’s standard that its production has high social and environmental prices. It takes a lot of energy to form a mobile phone, and additionally the employment of scarce minerals and high-priced extraction processes like coltan, gold, and tugnsteno.

Another downside lies within the obsolescence of those products: their short life forces the user to alter mobile every 2 years at the most, so additional and additional waste is generated and firms manufacture a lot of and additional telephones. As a result, “around 2020, the energy consumption of smartphones are going to be much bigger than that of computers,” the scientist points out.

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Sustainable solutions

Stop using technology? it’s a false alternative. though nothing is completely necessary and essential, of course, do while not net or mobile kind of difficult in our current work environment and staff. however, you’ll be able to seek ways in which to reduce the impact of telecommunications.

“Data centers might begin to figure with renewable energy,” suggests Belkhir. “The excellent news is that giant companies like Facebook or Google have already announced that they’ll create this transition in their data centers. however, it’s necessary that there’s legislation that obliges everybody to try and do it “.

On the non-public level, you’ll be able to additionally take initiatives that minimize the impact on our use of communication networks: is it very necessary to download that viral video that you just are sent by WhatsApp which you recognize you’ll ne’er see? does one get to change your mobile as before long because the battery starts to last less, or once it simply works a bit slower?

Another option is to appear for devices that are factory-made with environmental criteria. within the world of the mobile telephone, the on the market choice is that the Fairphone. Its developers attempt to manage all steps in production, from the extraction of raw materials in the mines to the assembly of their elements. additionally, it’s a standard phone with replaceable parts: maybe, once the battery deteriorates, it’s not necessary to alter mobile phones however merely replace them. during this approach, the helpful lifetime of the device is extended and its ecological footprint is reduced. A quite necessary step if we would like to move towards a sustainable future.


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