We live in an age where life without technology is utterly unimaginable. From entertainment and information to carrying out of day to day activities, machines and gadgetry is what allows the basic functioning of 21st century human living. With such relentless consumption of electronic goods, do you ever wonder what happens to all the machinery that you toss away after use? While tons of thousands of electronic trash get accumulated every year, most people are under the strange assumption that they are somehow miraculously recycled and fed into the next generation of production. Truth is, while some of the machinery parts are reused for other purposes, most of the material is concealed inside landfills, poisoning the earth with untold amounts of toxic chemicals. Impossible as it is to stop the use of technology, we need to learn how to deal with E-waste in order to save the earth from irreparable damage of its consequences. Here are a few ways to start with.
1. Practice control
So many people seem to have a compulsive desire to horde gadgets the minute a new one is out in the market. Cell phone companies come out with new versions almost every fifteen days. You think you’ve got the best one but a better is already on its way before you have even unwrapped your latest purchase. Such thoughtless cravings are dangerous as there is no way to counter the pile of old gadgets accumulating in your closet. Practice control. Realize the difference between your needs and wants. Double check to see if you already have the device stacked somewhere in your house before you proceed to buy a new one. A little consideration for the consequences of your action will prove vital in curbing the damage that technology is unwittingly unleashing on the environment.
2. Exchange and let go
With technological development taking place faster than the blink of an eye, updated versions of gadgetry is coming out every day. A Model B might surpass Model A in nothing but a bigger screen, and yet people will rush to buy the “brand new phone”. Many companies are now coming up with policies whereby they are offering to buy back old electronics or exchange them for a small reduction in the price of a new model. Find out if there are such buyers in your area and give away your old goods instead of raising moulds on their pile up.
This is a rather difficult and controversial option as the processes involved in recycling of electronic goods involves the release and handling of highly toxic and non-degradable elements. Many companies have been known to make claims of recycling machines parts, while in reality they make the poor and needy separate out the usable from the junk and throw the waste into landfills, harming not only the soil but exposing these people to life threatening substances. Hence, if recycling is what you wish to opt for, ensure that the company is reliable and authorised to carry out the task abiding by necessary regulations.
This is probably the solution to all the troubles plaguing mankind and the environment. Educate the people around you about the effects of electronic wastes on the environment and spread awareness about the crucial need to learn how to deal with E-waste. Teach young children to give two thoughts to the environment before doling out dollars for the latest gadgets. Arrange talks and campaigns to get more and more people to work together to come up with effective solutions for the handling of electronic waste. Make efforts to reduce the waste so that there is less trash accumulation to worry about. After all, prevention is always better than cure.
As the years advance, technology advances ahead of it. From chopping vegetables to chopping off light years to reach outer space, the continuance of human lives depends upon technology. There is only so much room on Earth to accommodate the endless outpouring of electronic waste that we are spitting out every second. Knowledge of how to deal with E-waste is the only hope we have to counter the processes we have set in motion.
A literature student for life, Manali Pal just completed her masters from the University of Delhi and is taking time off to expand her knowledge in Indian folklore and indigenous cultures for future research. A hopeless dreamer, she writes extensively, reads voraciously, and wishes she could spend more time on painting and learning the guitar. Her ultimate academic goal is to get an insight into the world view of the nomadic people of the world – the gypsies, tribes and travelling communities. She loves storms, rain and animals, and wants to build a home in the mountains.