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Smartphones, data centres are damaging the environment, says study

Among all the devices, trends suggest that by 2020, the most damaging devices to the environment will be smartphones

IANS  |  Toronto 

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and data centres will be the most damaging information and to the environment by 2040, warns a new study.

For the study, the researchers studied the carbon footprint of such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktops as well as data centres and

Their findings, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, showed ICT has a greater impact on emissions than previously thought and most emissions come from production and operation.

"Today, it sits at about 1.5 per cent. If trends continue, ICT will account for as much as 14 per cent for the total global footprint by 2040, or about half of the entire worldwide," said Lotfi Belkhir, at W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, McMaster University,

"For every text message, for every phone call, every video you upload or download, there's a data centre making this happen. networks and data centres consume a lot of to serve you and most data centres continue to be powered by generated by fossil fuels. It's the consumption we don't see," Belkhir added.

Among all the devices, trends suggest that by 2020, the most damaging devices to the environment will be

While consume little to operate, 85 per cent of their emissions impact comes from production.

A smartphone's chip and motherboard require the most amount of energy to produce as they are made up of precious metals that are mined at a high cost, the study said.

Smartphones also have a short life which drives further production of new models and an extraordinary amount of waste.

"Anyone can acquire a smartphone, and companies make it easy for people to acquire a new one every two years. We found that by 2020 the of a is going to be more than that of PCs and laptops," Belkir said.

Belkir has made policy recommendations based on his findings.

"Communication and data centres have to go under now. The good news is and data centres are going to run on But there needs to be a policy in place so that all data centres follow suit," Belkir said.

First Published: Sun, March 04 2018. 13:19 IST