For every 3 people in the world there are currently 2 cell phones floating around in pockets and landfills. With 61% of the population using cell phones the rate in production of cell phones continues to rise. The average cell phone user will replace their cell phone once every 12 months leaving an astounding 140,000,000 cell phones the landfill each year. Considerations on the environmental impacts of this ongoing growing commodity are unfortunately lightly taken.
Colton is the main mineral that allows cell phones to work, this resources happens to be quite scares as there are only two places that it can be mined from. The main mine is in Kahuzi Biega National Park located in Congo, the homeland of the Mountain Gorilla. Originally meant as a reserve for these amazing mammals, the National Park is now subject to rapid deforestation leaving little habitat left for the remaining Mountain Gorilla. Miners lead to Gorillas being killed and their meat is sold as “bush meat” U.N. Environment Program has reported that the number of eastern lowland gorillas in eight Dem. Rep. of Congo national parks has declined by 90% over the past 5 years, and only 3,000 now remain announcing that gorillas in the Congo may be extinct by the mid-2020.
Along with the death of gorillas development in the research of Colony Collapse Disorder, the phenomena that effects bee populations worldwide, has been linked to the radiation of cell phone towers. The radiation given off is considered to interfere with the bees’ navigation systems, making them unable to return to the hives leaving the bees’ disoriented and eventually leading to the death of the bees’ and the colony.
Understanding the effect that cell phones have on wildlife and the environment can help consumers make wiser decision when purchasing new cell phones. While considering a phone look for energy efficiency, recyclability, and utilizing the accounted average life span of 5 years instead of constantly investing in the new hottest phone yearly.
Image obtained from: http://www.techi.com/2011/01/the-environmental-impact-of-cell-phones/