Cross Sectoral Approaches To Environment, Biodiversity, and Ecological Dimensions of Environmental Conservation

WHETHER TECHNOLOGY IS AFFECTING THE ENVIRONMENT NEGATIVELY
OR POSITIVELY?


INTRODUCTION:
As this worldwide pandemic brings to us a new way of education, earning money, heading a
meeting or simply organizing a virtual reunion with our folks, technology not only in terms of
the digital devices used, but also in many other arenas is playing an indispensable role.
Technology brings to us a life of luxury in all possible ways, be it the paper we use for writing,
means of transportation, to the extraordinarily processed food that comes from the food industry.
Almost every component of our day to day life, has the involvement of technology, irrespective
of how much it is contributing.
HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY ALLEVIATED OUR LIVES?
The greatest gain of technology can be enjoyed by the medical sector, as technology is assisting
us to find several medicines to fight several medical problems and help cure people. The
invention of computer was the milestone of inventions in terms of technology. It is not only
saving our time but is also making our livelihood easier and can be found in one form or the
other in our day to day life. 1 Modern technologies like Wi-Fi, and other internet facilities is
making not only information easily accessible but is also making business, research and many
other areas of utmost importance perceive easily than before. Another greatest boon of
technology is that it has saved enormous amount of time for traveling. Transport systems play a
vital role in our life, not only in business but also in medical emergencies. The places that could
be reached in days before, takes just a couple of hours to reach now. Sectors like online shopping
are flourishing day by day. Exhausting processes of banking, can now be done with comfort,
irrespective of where we are situated.
From the field of space exploration to the agricultural sector, technology has made it all better.


Privacy, a feeling of security which are major concerns of this century are all been taken care of
with the help of technology. Important data, including documents, entertainment media can be
stored without any stress on our drives and can be shared when necessary. The smart phones of
our times are multipurpose devices, i.e. they have camera, calling facility, notepads, music player
all in one. Every nation’s military bases are improving rapidly as the technology brings to them a
better means of warfare. 2 As Albert Einstein rightly points out, “It has become appallingly
obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
ALARMING NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF TECHNOLOGY:
E-WASTE

1 Nick Ismail, 2017, Modern Technology: Advantages and Disadvantages (2017, sectors technology, 08
September 2020, https://www.information-age.com/modern-technology-advantages-disadvantages-
123465637/#:~:text=Advantages%20of%20technology,was%20a%20very%20important%20point.)
2 Paul Goodman, 2020, The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Technology (2020, social issues, 08
September 2020, (https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/The-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-technology)

But is the technology and mechanization making our sustenance solitarily healthier and
advantageous day by day? As the technology is making its headway, there’s a tremendous
increase in the number of electronic devices, etc. As it was registered in 2000, there were 415M
Internet connected devices and in 2016 the number surfaced to 3.5MM i.e. a growth of 826%
was observed in 16 years. 3 According to the collected data, massive increase in globally
produced e-waste was observed since 2010. In 2010, 33.8 million metric tons of e-waste was
recorded and in 2019 it was 53.6 million metric tons i.e. an increase of 44.4 million metric tons
in just five years was recorded out of which only 17.4 % was noted and recycled properly. 4 But
how is e-waste harming us and the environment? Electronic appliances consist of toxic materials
such as lead, zinc, nickel and when these elements are released in the air, they can wreak the
human body mechanisms. When these are dumped, the toxic elements mix with the water, not
only affecting the aquatic life but also the crops and the wildlife. 5
PARTICULATE MATTER CONCENTRATIONS:
One perilous consequence of technology obliquely affecting the environment and the health of
the people is the excessive formation of Particulate Matter (PM/SPM). This chemical substance
is formed naturally as well as due to man-made activities, such as burning fossil fuels (which
again is used in several industries, which not only generates electricity but also contributes in
manufacturing computers, running our vehicles and a vast range of technical products), cooling
towers (which are used in several industries in order to reject the enormously generated heat, and
also is an essential part of Air Conditioners and ventilation systems), construction sites and also
under construction roads. According to WHO in 2016, approximately 90% of the population
residing in cities was subject to PM concentrations, which transcended the WHO air quality
guidelines. An exposure to the exceeded safe limits of PM concentrations catalyzes chances of
heart disease, lung cancer, premature death of people, exasperated asthma and heart attacks. 6 It
also gives birth to detrimental natural hazards such as acid rains and vandalized ecosystems
which impacts the forests, wildlife and coastal regions. 7 As the recorded statistics show that, PM
concentrations highly contributes in a degrading quality of the air we breathe and is increasing
air pollution, which is an obvious indirect effect of technology. This further gives rise to an
unending chain of bioaccumulation and biomagnification.
DEPLETING NATURAL RESOURCES:

3 Sergio Lopes, 2018, The impact of technologies on the environment (2018, b14all, 05 September, 2020,
https://www.bi4all.pt/en/news/en-blog/the-impact-of-technologies-on-the-environment/)
4 Ian Tieso, 2020, Environmental pollution- statistics and facts (2020, statista, 05 September, 2020,
https://www.statista.com/statistics/499891/projection-ewaste-generation-worldwide/)
5 Ilene Lubell, 2018, 5 shocking environmental effects of e-waste (2018, e-waste blog, 06 September,
2020, (https://www.google.com/amp/s/info.mayeralloys.com/ewaste-blog/5-shocking-environmental-
effects-of-e-waste%3fhs_amp=true)
6 Dipak Sarkar, 2015, Air pollution control (2015, Thermal power plant, 05 September 2020,
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/particulate-matter)
7 Adrien Lafond, 2020, The environmental impact of particle pollution (2020, foobot, 05 September 2020,
https://foobot.io/guides/environmental-impact-of-particle-pollution.php)

Another serious concern of the advancing technology would be the resources getting depleted
alarmingly. The contemporary ways of using natural resources and the growth of mechanization
prove to be unwarranted and requires urgent attention. In order to be at par with other developed
countries, environmental concerns are mostly ignored. 8 Earth overshoot day of this year was
observed on 22nd August 2020, which marks the exhaustion of natural resources more than what
the planet can actually regenerate in a year i.e. we consume more than what can be revived. In
the present-day situation, we are utilizing our natural resources as if there were 2 Earths and that
it is getting considered that the overshoot will last only for a small period unless the ecosystem
fully collapses and is finally disintegrated. The mark of this day should prompt us the extremity
of the situation and we should really consider advocating some remedy for the same in order to
increase the longevity of the ecosystem. 9
NATURAL INDICATIONS:
Scientifically proven assumptions and the nature itself is demonstrating that the danger is actual,
by giving us clear signs, for example, a few places observing extreme climatic conditions which
are not common to that place, increasing natural calamities and our failing attempts at controlling
them. Why are these drastic changes and disasters taking place? It was noted that at such places
man made activities were either forced and the ecological balance was disturbed or simply the
advancing human activities had an impact on the nature.
There are countless hazards of the technology which need our immediate collective action and if
not advocated soon, the mankind will face a lack of resources which cannot be reproduced
leaving us with an absolute absence of the most basic necessities.
TECHNOLOGY AS THE RESOLVE TO THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS:
Now that we know, that the most general activities of our life involves technology and how it is
affecting the environment negatively, we should look forward to a sustainable use of resources
and technology should be used in such a manner that “no or lesser harm” is caused to the
ecosystem.
The most consequential would be the reasonable generation and utilization of the available
resources. Let’s emphasize on the very basic need of electricity. This electricity is first generated
at different stations using irreversible natural resources like coal and after that goes through
various departments to finally reach our homes. So, in order to use electricity at our homes, a lot
of energy is already drained. Instead of this there are many shifts that can be made, such as the
solar glass, which can absorb the sunlight and can further convert it into electricity. Rainwater
and Greywater recycling techniques can also be applied in order to save the resources
squandered while purifying water. Another common way is of utilizing the solar, wind and tidal
8 Ishwar Mittal, Ravi Kumar Gupta, 2017, Natural Resource Depletion and Economic Growth in Present
Era (2017, SOCH-Mastnath Journal of Science and Technology, 08 September 2020,
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2920080)
9 Marco Lambertini, 2018, Technology can help us save the planet. But more than anything, we must
learn to value nature (2018, world economic forum, 08 September 2020,
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/08/here-s-how-technology-can-help-us-save-the-planet/)

harvesting techniques, which is finding it’s way in many contemporary energy consumption sites.
One sustainable shift is the use of Graphene, which is known to be stronger than steel and one
atom thick. It engages efficient means of energy transfer with minimal loss, water filtration and
photovoltaic uses. Another common issue which has got the attention of millions and still our
environment is getting affected because of it, is the straightway use of plastic, instead of which
plant based plastic/ bio plastic can be easily used. 10 The use of electric cars and the CNG based
cars have stirred up strikingly in the past few years reducing the massive consumption of the
irreversible resources.
CONCLUSIONS:
There are innumerable ways which can improve and stop the degradation of environment with
the help of technology itself. So, whether technology is affecting the environment negatively or
positively? The answer to this can be explained in such a manner that technology is the genesis
of environmental damage and also is the foremost hope for repairing this damage. It is in our
hands to use that technology viably and ensure that no harm is being caused directly or indirectly
to the environment.

Author- Manva Khojare

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