We are killing the planet through the use of technology, said Gerry McGovern, author of the book “World Wide Waste”
Chennai: About 120 trillion spam emails sent every year creates 36 million tons of CO2 emissions and 3.6 billion trees would need to be planted every year to offset the pollution, according to the UN’s trade body.
“Rapidly growing digital ecosystem is exacting a heavy toll on the planet. “We are killing the planet through the use of technology,” said Gerry McGovern, author of the book “World Wide Waste” at an UNCTAD session.
“Every time we download an email, tweet or search on the web, we create pollution and contribute to global warming,” said UNCTAD deputy secretary-general Isabelle Durant.
“So paradoxically, digital is very much physical. Data centres are not in the cloud. They are on Earth. Digitalisation seems invisible and is often sold to us as free technology,” she said.
“But it’s not. And it’s something we need to seriously consider in how we develop and use digital tools,” she added.
Only five per cent of data is managed while the rest is digital waste. Big tech companies design devices that need to be updated or replaced frequently and are difficult to recycle, warning that waste from old phones, computers and screens is piling up fast.
Less than 20 per cent of e-waste is recycled and most of the recycling is done in a way that is highly polluting.