Technology-Induced Pollution: How To Deal With It

In addition to this, the widespread usage of this technology results in a significant increase in air pollution. More data centres are needed to accommodate the ever-growing need for connectivity, and electronic device consumption remains unabated. There are already an estimated 22 billion Internet-connected gadgets (3.5 billion cellphones) around the world, which serves as a fair illustration of how much electronic waste can collect.

Consumption Has Increased

There is little doubt that data centres’ energy usage will continue to rise as the volume of material grows around the world.

As the number of Internet-connected gadgets and data centres grows, so does the need for storage space and the infrastructure that keep those centres cool. When you consider that the arrival & implementation of the 5G will rapidly multiply the connected equipment which transmits data, this is not surprising that certain sources indicate that the this consumption requires 2% of the world’s power generation, which in turn will lead to the emmisions of polluting gases.

These figures are expected to rise by 2020, when the Internet is expected to account for 3% to 4% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to studies by consulting firm McKinsey. Greenpeace takes this a step further, estimating that web traffic accounts for 7% of all worldwide electricity use.

Examples That May Surprise You

These global numbers could be significant. Some examples of the environmental impact caused by new technologies are less startling. A research by the French Environmental Protection agency found that sending a single email with 1 MB of data results in an emissions of 18 grammes of carbon dioxide.

The number of grammes of CO2 emitted by all emails sent around the world each day rises to 293 billion if that figure is extrapolated. In terms of emissions, sending 20 mails a day for a year amounts to driving 1,000 kilometres.

Sending emails or purchasing music online is less wasteful than mailing a letter or purchasing a CD, of course. Not to add that video conferencing, even if it consumes a lot of bandwidth and data, eliminates travel that would otherwise be considerably more harmful to the environment.

What To Do About The Issue

Large technology corporations are attempting to reduce the impact on their global data centres on the environment in the face of this expanding pollution.

Either through system optimization (e.g. using machine learning) or by locating data centres in colder climates with less expensive cooling, efforts are being made to reduce their energy use. The usage of wind electricity also helps to reduce pollution levels.

Discarded Technology

Aside from the emission of toxic gases, new technologies are also a source of environmental harm. As we mentioned before, an estimated 22 billion gadgets are currently connected to the Internet, many of which are continually being updated. UNEP estimates that roughly 50 million tonnes of technology trash are generated each year as a result of this trend (UNEP).

As a result, all of those discarded parts pose an issue because some of the constituents are quite polluting. The problem is growing worse, not better. If current practises continue, the United Nations estimates that the amount of technology waste will rise to 120 million tonnes per year by 2050.

More Recycling And Less Intentional Obsolescence

There are two ways to slow this dangerous trend: raising the average gadget lifespan and recycling those who are discarded. This trend will be aggravated by the final arrival of 5G and its enhanced capacity to link devices to the Internet.

As a result, we must first address the industry’s use of planned obsolescence in making its products. With the “Longer Lifetime for Products: Advantages for Consumers and Companies” resolution, the European Parliament issued an important ruling in this case in 2017. The goal of this directive is to reduce the amount of waste in technology by providing users with additional tools for equipment repair and by providing tax benefits to enterprises who improve the durability of their products.

It’s also important to promote recycling. Only 20% of garbage is currently recycled, according to the United Nations. When it comes to reducing our environmental impact, we must “urgently shrink our ecological impact by changing how we produce and use goods and resources,” as stated in Sustainable Development Goal.

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Nature And Technology

It spawned powerful new tech. 1760-1840, America introduced industrial processes. Industrialisation and technological advancement had also harmed the environment.

These innovations have harmed our planet’s resources.


Excess CO2, CO, NO, and methane enter the earth’s atmosphere. Some of the major sources are fossil fuels and automobiles. Air pollution harms animal health and contributes to global warming.


Anthropogenic pollution of lakes, waterways, oceans, and groundwater. Insecticides and pesticides pollute water. Untreated wastewater can harm aquatic ecosystems. Diseases like typhoid and eutrophication harm this same food chain.

Resource Depletion

Technology drains resources. It takes longer to replenish resources. Natural resources are renewable and non-renewable. There is aquifer loss, deforestation, fossil fuel exploitation, soil erosion, and resource overconsumption. The use of water and fossil fuels generates this.

Population growth accelerates resource depletion. So the global eco-footprint will be 1.5 times a earth’s capacity to sustainable way feed each human. Large-scale mineral & oil exploration has depleted natural reserves. People dig deeper to get more minerals, causing several more resources to be become scarce.

World Bank estimates global forest loss of 2 million km2 between 1990 & 2015. Population growth encourages logging and land clearing for housing. Loss of CO2 absorbing trees has killed thousands of species & animals.


Emerging environmental technology solutions are assisting in the transition to a more sustainable, limited economic system. It is the development of new technology solutions to preserve, monitor, and reduce the negative environmental impacts of technology.

Climate change mitigation requires virtually all of the nation to keep global mean temperature increase below 2°C.

This section will highlight technology’s positive environmental impact.


They are all renewable energy. Technological advances such as solar panels, water and wind turbines can harness this natural energy and convert it to electricity or heat.

Renewable energy sources by now generate over 20% of UK electricity and will reach 30% by 2020. While many renewable technologies are huge, renewable technologies also are suitable for remote areas and developing countries.

Cheaper solar and wind energy spurs government investment. Up to 2017, over 1.6 million Australian rooftop solar systems were installed.

Tech Smart

To save electricity while meeting user needs, each of these devices can be remotely controlled and monitored

The Internet of Things collects and shares data via sensor technologies. Using real-time data, network devices can ‘judge’. Smart lighting systems and thermostats that keep homes at a set temperature all the day save energy.

WiFi, Bluetooth, & sensor technologies in buildings enable this green technology. Urban areas will soon be interrelated with cars and some other devices like air conditioners & lights.

Eco Technology

By raising global awareness and creating global virtual laboratories, the internet can help the environment. Remote collaboration is possible for many experts. Virtual meetings reduce travel and thus pollution.

The eco-friendly electrical vehicles runs on electric motors and batteries. Since 2008, pollution and GHG emissions have motivated electric car production.

Electric vehicles emit no CO2, reducing a ‘greenhouse effect’ & global warming. They also don’t pollute the air, making them safer for people/animals/plants.

The government recently introduced incentives for fully electric development and use. As of 2018, there are more electric charging stations than petrol stations in the US, according to Bloomberg.

Direct Air Capture

Direct CO2 extraction from the environment has been discussed for years, but only recently realised and also is currently in development.

It collects CO2 from the air & concentrates this for storage or use. Huge fans extract CO2. This method could regulate automotive exhaust, for example. A full-scale DAC can be absorb 250,000 cars’ CO2 annually.

Since CO2 in the air is indeed the main culprit, many believe DAC has been vital for mitigating climate change. However, some argue that DAC may actually increase emissions by making us believe they will be completely eliminated.

Eco Technology

However, new environmental technologies such as renewable energy, smart logistics, & electric mobility can help the decarbonize our economy and avoid further harm.

Isn’t it great to be green?

To maximize positive impact of technology, sensors are required to monitor and eliminate harmful behaviours. Gas detection technique is used in the numerous applications that help the environment. This article discusses a methane detection infrared sensor and a UAV drone.

  • IR emission
  • It measures CO, CO2, & CH4. Contact us for more information
  • Infrared Methane Sensors
  • It is used to identify methane in so many applications by Edinburgh Sensors
  • UAV gas detection

Many reasons exist for using a drone to monitor Carbon dioxide, methane, and some hydrocarbon gas levels.

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