Impact of Powered Devices on Environment – Coursework Example

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The paper “ Impact of Powered Devices on Environment ” is a meaningful variant of coursework on environmental studies. The technological growth in the telecommunications industry and home appliances has greatly contributed to the development of various electrical and electronic gadgets such as personal computers and mobile phones. However, this has come at an expense especially in regard to environmental degradation owing to their short life span (Robinson, 2009, p. 183). Most of these devices once their end of shelf life has expired find their way into landfills as electronic waste with the minimal amount being recycled yet they contain harmful substances such as mercury and lead which have grave consequences on the environment (Sepú lveda et al. , 2010, p. 28).     The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of the increased powered devices/ electronics in households and the economy at large to the environment.

Secondly, using various case examples, the paper outlines how certain organizations have attempted to limit the impact of the electronic wastes associated with powered devices. In this regard, the paper examines how electronic wastes derived from electronics that their life span has expired.

The paper argues that electronic wastes contribute to atmospheric pollution and releases toxic waste that can leach and contaminate water bodies and food chains. 2.0 Powered Devices, Electronic Wastes, and Generation of Electronic Wastes 2.1 Powered DevicesElectronic devices and equipment constitute the huge portion of powered devices within households as such, powered devices in households can be contextualized within the discourse of electrical and electronic gadgets/equipment. The underlying technology of powering these devices is reliant on semiconductors materials such as silicon which are connected to build an electronic circuit.

These powered devices can either be personal electronic devices such as DVD players, portable electronic devices such as GSM phones, and computerized electronic devices such as laptops (Gaidajis, Angelakoglou & Aktsoglou, 2010, p. 193). 2.2 Electronic WastesElectronic wastes are unwanted electronic products that have surpassed their shelf life (Pinto, 2008, p. 72). According to Huo et al. (2007, p. 1113) electronic or e-waste disposal is emerging as a global environmental concern as they are currently constituting one of the largest chunks of municipal waste. Redondo, Williams & Cherrett (2011, p. 715) observes that the rate at which electrical and electronic waste is being emitted has grown exponentially in organizations for economic cooperation and development countries which is experiencing saturation in regard to a huge amount of new electronic devices.

See appendix 1 for example of electronic wastes. According to Echo Watch (2013), the number of computers, mobile phones, television, and other personalized and computerized electronic gadgets being disposed of depicts at an alarming trend. For instance, in 2012, 50 million tons of e-waste were emitted globally. By 2017, the volume of e-waste generated annually at the global level is expected to rise by 33%, thereby hitting 65 million tons of e-waste.

In absolute terms, China generated 11.1 million tons of e-waste, thereby making it the highest generator of e-waste. This is closely followed by the US who emitted 10 million tons of e-waste. 2.2 Generation of Electronic wasteThe contribution of these powered devices to the generation of electronic wastes falls within two domains. In the first instance, these devices are manufactured with various components sourced from various materials and chemicals. Some of these are poisonous while some are not.

For instance, they might include metals, non-ferrous metals, and ferrous metals (Ongondo, Williams & Cherrett, 2011, p. 715). Additionally, electronic gadgets such as monitors and other microchip types of equipment contain harmful chemicals such as mercury and lead which can cause poisoning to animals and water bodies (Shah & Shaikh, 2008, p. 4).

References

Causes International (2014). Is e-Waste a growing concern? Retrieved on 28 May, 2014 from: http://www.causesinternational.com/ewaste/e- waste-facts.

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Communication Commission of Kenya (2010). E-waste: impacts, challenges, and the role of government, service providers, and the consumer's workshop. Held at Ole Sereni Hotel, Nairobi -Kenya 9th -10th June 2010.

Echo Watch (December 23, 2013). Worldwide Electronic Waste to Reach 65 Million Tons by 2017. Retrieved on 28 May, 2014 from: http://ecowatch.com/2013/12/23/worldwide-electronic-waste-to- reach-65-million-tons/.

Electronics take back Coalition (2013). Facts and Figures on E-Waste and Recycling. Retrieved on 28 May, 2014 from: http://www.electronicstakeback.com/wp- content/uploads/Facts_and_Figures_on_EWaste_and_Recycling.pdf.

Gaidajis, G., Angelakoglou, K., & Aktsoglou, D. (2010). E-waste: environmental problems and current management. Journal of Engineering Science and Technology Review, 3(1), 193-199.

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Huo, X., Peng, L., Xu, X., Zheng, L., Qiu, B., Qi, Z., ... & Piao, Z. (2007). Elevated blood lead levels of children in Guiyu, an electronic waste recycling town in China. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(7), 1113-1117.

Industrial Sector Studies: Recycling- from e-waste to resources. Available at: http://www.unep.org/pdf/Recycling_From_e- waste_to_resources.pdf.

Jefferies, D. (April 2, 2014). 50m tonnes of e-waste generated every year – and it is increasing. The Guardian. Retrieved on 28 May, 2014 from: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/50m-tonnes- waste-designers-manufacturers-recyclers-electronic-junk.

Ongondo, F. O., Williams, I. D. & Cherrett, T. J. (2011). How is WEEE doing? A global review of the management of electrical and electronic wastes. Waste Management, 31(1), 714-730.

Pinto, V. N. (2008). E-waste hazard: The impending challenge. Indian journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 12(2), 65.

Robinson, B. H. (2009). E-waste: An assessment of global production and environmental impacts. Science of the total environment, 408(2), 183- 191.

SECRETARIAT, R. S. (2011). E-WASTE IN INDIA. May 28, 2014 from: http://rajyasabha.nic.in/rsnew/publication_electronic/E- Waste_in_india.pdf.

Sepúlveda, A., Schluep, M., Renaud, F. G., Streicher, M., Kuehr, R., Hagelüken, C., & Gerecke, A. C. (2010). A review of the environmental fate and effects of hazardous substances released from electrical and electronic equipment during recycling: Examples from China and India. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 30(1), 28-41.

Shah, A. & Shaikh, T. (2008). Electronic waste: addressing the future today. Retrieved on 28 May, 2014 from: http://are.berkeley.edu/~sberto/ewaste.pdf.

UNEP (2009). Sustainable Innovation and Technology Transfer. UNEP.

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