- China - computer industry - environment - mobile phones - pollution - technology
Digital pollution: the ecological cost of our technology
Every time we send an email, download a film or use social media we set off an explosion of digital information that ends in energy-greedy data centres. The servers inside these centres operate day and night, seven days a week and produce two per cent of global carbon emissions - equivalent to the consumption of a country as big as Japan.
High-tech giants are now turning to innovation to reduce their carbon footprint. One solution can be found in the United States, where engineers have developed a microprocessor which significantly increases energy efficiency.
Today, consumers upgrade their phones and computers every two to five years, but how much is this their own decision and how much the decision of the company behind the product? Planned obsolescence describes when manufacturers create an artificial use-by-date to pressure customers to make another purchase. We look at efforts here in France to reduce the environmental and financial impact of this practice.
Finally, we head to China where treating e-waste is a lucrative business. In Guangdong province, up to 2.5 million tonnes of electrical cables are recycled and re-used for their copper, plastic and rubber. However, certain activists question whether this industry always adheres to the strictest health and environmental regulations.