生命周期污染

The burgeoning global market in electronic and electrical devices, combined with shorter device life expectancies, is fuelling an unprecedented health crisis for children in the developing world—exposing them to dangerous chemicals and air pollutants at home, in their communities, and in places where they often work illegally in exploitative and hazardous conditions.

儿童和数字垃圾场:电子垃圾暴露和儿童健康,2021 年世界卫生组织

从设备和设备制造到数据中心、数据存储和传输,电信设备生命周期每个阶段的污染对人类健康和环境的影响是另一个关键的可持续性问题。 

智能手机和电子产品需要 稀土金属 and minerals, generally from supply chains that are connected to numerous human rights abuses. Tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold are “conflict minerals,” long fueling armed conflicts. Cobalt, an essential raw material used  for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and electronic devices, is mined by hand in 剥削条件 people of all ages including children as young as six years old.  Regulations seeking to ensure responsible sourcing and more transparency in supply chains have yet to adequately address the issue. 

此外,开采电子制造商使用的组件会产生污染土壤和水的有毒副产品。制造业是化学密集型的,并且一直 有特点的 被 Benoit Cushman-Roisin 称为“可能是我们目前拥有的世界上最肮脏的行业”。除了碳影响, 水陆足迹 尚未得到充分解决。如果处理不当,全球每年的碳足迹、水足迹和土地足迹 存储暗数据 据估计,仅此一项就分别接近 526 万吨、41.65 亿升和 59.45 平方公里。

智能手机和电子设备制造中使用了数千种化学品,包括许多已知的致癌物质、生殖毒素、神经毒素,包括铅、镉、溴化阻燃剂、全氟和多氟化学品、铍、六价铬、汞、PVC 和苯。 

电子行业生产线工人经验 癌症发病率升高 和其他疾病。在生命周期的另一端,有毒电子垃圾和不安全的回收方法进一步污染了已经受到环境污染的中低收入社区。国际上大量的回收是非正式的,其中家庭在家里拆开电子产品并用手分离组件,导致大量接触铅和汞。又如,电源线被烧掉以获取有价值的铜。这种做法会向空气中释放有毒物质,例如镉、铬和溴化阻燃剂。烧电线的人没有戴口罩或没有任何工人保护措施。 

阻燃化学品如 三苯基 磷酸盐和三磷酸盐有 被发现 on the surface of phones, laptops, keyboards and mice. Consumers are exposed to chemicals such as organophosphate esters and plasticizers through their use of 智能手机 电子产品 as well as via exposure to dust in their home. 

电子垃圾是一个巨大且不断升级的问题。创纪录的 5360 万吨电子垃圾 据报道在世界范围内产生 in 2019 with only 17.4 %  officially documented as formally collected and recycled. The 联合国大学预测 e-waste will more than double by 2050, to reach approximately 111 million tonnes a year. Electronics right-to-repair and take-back systems have yet to adequately address the environmental e-waste challenges. 渗滤液 produced from the e-waste in landfills, composting plants, e-waste processing plants, solid waste dumping sites and incineration plants is toxic to living organisms; the waste contaminates water, soil, air, and the food chain. 

Under international pressure from environmental groups, companies have taken some steps to “green” their products; however, the current lack of transparency in global subcontracting and outsourcing, paired with the lack of accountability and legal liability leave inadequate rights and rules to address the occupational and environmental issues. For example, although Apple announced it had stopped using the carcinogen benzene and n-hexane during final assembly of iPhone and iPads in 2014, the chemicals are still used in early production stages.  

最后,电子产品的设计有计划的淘汰。个人设备不再设计为使用寿命长,也不再易于维修。人们甚至被鼓励每年购买一部新手机。消费者权益保护组织和政府在产品标准和废物管理方面发挥着作用。

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