The Effects Of Computers On The Environment

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The Effects Of Computers On The Environment Essay, Research Paper ***note – bibliography and citations included!!!*** Identifying the Need ====================== Although computers can be used as a tool to spread awareness about problems in the environment, they cause a lot of environmental problems themselves. Pollution caused by the production of computer hardware, as well as from the cleaning agents used to clean computers, is a great hazard to the environment and the people that live in it. People leave their computers on non stop resulting in a lot of energy consumption and enormous amounts of paper are being used daily to print out electronically stored data. () It causes health problems as well as economic problems and is in urgent need of treatment. IT Background of

the Issue ======================== When examining the problem of pollution caused by computers and their production, it is evident that all computer hardware is responsible for the problem, for it is the hardware’s production that causes the pollution. Pieces of hardware such as keyboards, monitors, mice etc are all made out of plastic which is usually not recyclable. Other chemicals found in these tools are also often bad for the environment and cause damage. As a result of the assembly of pieces inside the computer such as wafers and computer chips a lot of toxic materials are given off causing further harm to the environment. The evolution of computers causes harm because old computers are often thrown out only to be replaced by larger computers, which consume more energy

and therefore cause even more pollution. They too, will eventually be thrown out and replaced. As the demand for larger monitors and more memory chips grows due to developments in multimedia, so does the level of toxins and fumes released into the environment contributing even more to the problem. These are given off when the monitors and chips are being produced and manufactured. Analyzing the Impact of the Issue ============================== The pollution caused by computers has a large effect on society. It has effects on the environment due to paper consumption, energy consumption and harm caused by toxins. This harm affects people’s health and results in large economic expenses. Contrary to former beliefs that computers will lower the amount of paper used around the

world, computers just contribute to making this use larger. In addition to making it easier to print out several copies of the same document, surveys show that most people would rather read something off a piece of paper than off a screen. According to the World Watch Paper survey of 1993, the paper consumption of PCs reached 115 billion sheets of paper, a number that has since grown. () All this use of paper costs business owners a lot of money for they need to provide their offices with paper, and costs the government money because it needs to build recycling sites. Further environmental problems caused by computers include a large amount of energy consumption during the production of computers as well as by the use of computers. “For the manufacturing of a normal PC approx.

30′000 megajoule in energy are used.” (uns.umnw.ethz.ch) Computer upgrading is also harmful because the more new computer models produced, the more old models get thrown out. This computer waste is rarely recycled for it costs too much money. Collecting all this waste and discarding it safely costs a lot of money too, resulting in further expenses. Perhaps the most alarming problem however, is the release of toxic chemicals that are used in the production of computer hardware and in the disposal of computers. In the manufacturing of just one 8 inch wafer 4,267 cubic feet of bulk gases, 27 pounds of chemicals, 29 cubic feet of hazardous gases and 9 pounds of hazardous waste are given off. In addition over 3787 gallons of water are wasted. All the chemicals and toxins that are