THE HIDDEN COST OF MEDIA USE BY SHARMILA RAMANATHAN

In a nutshell, this blog for this week is on how our media consumption comes at a price, whereby technology gadgets has a distributive impact on the ecology, the global media supply, and the working of labourers in low-wage countries ( Maxwell, R and T Miller (2012). Varies media studies has been conducted such as the impacts of media portrayals on race, the consequences of online conversations, citizen journalism, an so on. However, very little studies has been conducted on e-waste and its consequences to the environment.

mobileevolution

Source: http://www.pfsweb.com/blog/keeping-up-with-mobile-commerce/

The most obvious and best example that illustrates this is mobile phones, according to a research done “out of 7 billion people, 6 billion people have access to mobile phones.” (Time News Feed, 2013) Putting aside research on phone users, take a quick glance around you, and you will realise almost everybody has a mobile phone, smart phone or not with them. Adding on, in today’s culture, most people are constantly updated with the latest mobile phones in the market.  According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans discard 125 million phones each year, creating 65, 000 tons of waste. However, did the question ever arise what happens to the old mobile phones?

Most of us either sell our old phones or keep them as they might have sentimental value to us, however, keeping old mobile phones are dangerous, as they contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardens and arsenic. (Environmental Issues N.D) With that said, if these poducts are environmenaly hezadous, it is definetly dangerous to us humans as well.

Recommendations for actions:

1) Technical intervention

The solution of possible e-waste crisis lies in ‘prevention at the manufacturing source’. This can be done by employing waste minimization techniques. By substituting these harmful substance to eco-friendly products would be a good change for now and the future.

2) Recycling

More people around the world should consider recycling their e-waste, so that it is disposed the necessary manner. By doing so, it will not only help our environment but also a healthier lives for us.

The wrong method of recycling operation is the burning of plastics/wires of these electronic products to extract certain amount of gold is extremely harmful to human health and the environment as well (Maxwell & Miller 2012).

Reference

Maxwell, R & Miller, T 2012, ‘Introduction’ in Green the Media Oxford University Press, pp1-20.

Cell Pohne Recycling: How to Recycle Your Old Phone; Cell Phones Rival Computers as World’s Largest e-Waste Problem, accessed on 6/6/2013 from  http://environment.about.com/od/recycling/a/cell_phones.htm

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