Write about mobile phone Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Mobile Phones and Environment


At the moment, it is estimated that more than 6.7 billion people use mobile phones globally. The figures have been rising sharply as more people acquire phones. Mobile phones evolve very fast leading to customers upgrading their phones to latest model which is more fashionable and powerful. This has led to mobile phones becoming outdated and disposed off at a very fast rate. Mobile phones release toxic chemicals to the environment when they are thrown out (Hart, 2011). The number of outdated and unused phones is expected to continue growing which increasingly poses a major problem to the environment. This essay will look into the environmental degradation due to mobile phones production and consumption.

The impacts of mobile phone on the environment are supposed to be looked at in the entire life cycle. During their use, it is estimated that mobile phones release about 60kg of CO2e and produces about 122kg of CO2e annually (GSM, 2009). The CO2 when released to the atmosphere leads to increase in greenhouse gas which has adverse impacts on the environment. Mobile phones also consume a lot of power unnecessary due to chargers which are not turned off after use. Most of the consumers fail to plug off their mobile phones when the charge is not needed. Also, mobile phone battery life affects the amount of energy used. In some cases, mobile phone batteries are replaced and thrown into the environment (GSM, 2009).

Mobile phones have toxic heavy metals which do not degrade in the environment. The heavy metals are; lead, nickel, mercury, lithium, beryllium, manganese and arsenic among others. If the heavy metals are allowed to be disposed off in the environment such as landfills, they lead to serious problems. The chemical have adverse effects to human health. For example, cadmium is one of the most dangerous substances to human health since it is carcinogenic. Lead poisoning can also occur as a result of disposing mobile phones to the environment (Lim & Schoenung, 2010).

Nickel and mercury which are contained in the mobile phones are hazardous. Lithium is also a highly active metal found in the Li-ion batteries. When the chemical is exposed to water in the landfills, it can lead to fire. The underground fire caused is very difficult to extinguish. The fire will also add to the environmental pollution leading to more damage to the environment. Though mobile phones have very tiny amount of these chemicals, it is important to look at the bigger picture. There are over a million mobile phones being thrown away annually. Plastics used in the mobile phones are difficult to reuse. This is due to contamination by paint and embedded metal (Lim & Schoenung, 2010).

In conclusion, the landfills do not offer sustainable solution to dispose of the mobile phones. This is due to fact that dumping the mobile phones on the landfills creates a long term risk to the environmental risk. Mobile phones are not biodegradable which makes it unfeasible to dispose them to landfills. The only solution lies on recycling them. This can help to preserve valued resources which include heavy metals from getting into landfills (Hart, 2011). It is important to note that plastics and other electronic parts contained in a mobile phone can take more than 1000 years to breakdown (Lim & Schoenung, 2010).


GSM 2009, “Environmental Impact of Mobile Communications Devices”, Mobile Technology, Health and the Environment, Viewed 13th January 2015, http://www.gsma.com/publicpolicy/wpcontent/uploads/2012/03/environmobiledevices.pd f

Hart, T 2011, Electronics and Environment, New Delhi, World Technologies.

Lim, S.R & Schoenung, J.M 2010, “Toxicity potentials from waste cellular phones, and a waste management policy integrating consumer, corporate, and government responsibilities”, Waste Management, Vol.30, no.3, p.1653-1660.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form