Smart Technologies and its Impact During Manufacturing: From Smartness to Sickness

Smart Technologies and its Impact During Manufacturing: From Smartness to Sickness
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Zubair Farooq

There is a continuous increase in the demand of Smart Technologies, but we are unaware how these technologies are manufactured and how much it affects our earth. Today electronics are a part of our life and have become a crucial factor for existence of human life, so we cannot terminate its presence. But, we can use such means of sources for manufacturing which is eco-friendly and does not effects the earth overall. The electronic devices are mostly made from conventional sources of energy (Fossil Fuels). By using these sources of technologies for fabrication, processing, manufacturing the impact may me classified under following categories:
1. Pollutants: These affect the atmosphere and can acquire any shape, that is, they may be particulate matter, or gases:
(a) Particulate matter is responsible for respiratory diseases; its safe limit is upto 75µg/cm^3in atmosphere;
(b) Sulphur Oxides, another type of pollutant is mainly due to fossil fuel burning (for industrial or house hold use). Its effects on health causes asthma and irritation of eyes and also is harmful for agriculture and forests( when sulphur dioxide is further oxidised it forms sulphur trioxide, which in turn reacts with water and forms Sulphuric Acid and cause acid rains). The safe limit of sulphur oxides in atmosphere is upto 80〖µg/cm〗^3, several techniques are used to reduce the sulphur content in any fossil fuels mainly coal, but still there is a presence of sulphur oxides in our atmosphere;
(c) Nitrogen Oxides are also a harmful pollutant and this is mainly produced naturally (about 80%) which is the safe limit and remaining 20% is through manmade intervention due to combustion of fuels. Safe limit of Nitrogen Oxide is about upto 100µg/cm^3;
(d) Carbon Monoxide is formed due to incomplete burning of Carbon with Oxygen and cause severe effects based on the concentration, if the concentration is 100 ppm (parts per million) it cause headache, for 500 ppm concentration it causes collapse and 1000 ppm is fatal.
2. Carbon Dioxide: Presence of carbon dioxide is not harmful, but its increase in concentration shows drastic effects which includes global warming, increases acidity in sea water, climate mitigation, air borne diseases includes dengue (American Medical Association), melting of ice bergs in polar regions, increase in water level which is due to melting of ice bergs and expansion of water molecules (due to increase in temperature). Today, the concentration of carbon dioxide is 400 ppm (Mauna Loa observatory), which was280 ppm in 1850, i.e. in parallel with industrial revolution, the major contribution is after 1950 (both in the period of industrial and electronic revolution). The excess carbon dioxide is produced mainly due to burning of fossil fuels used for manufacturing electronic devices, other finished goods, and is also due to deforestation of trees.
Electronic wastes: These are the electronic equipments that are near or at the end of their useful life. Today the electronic equipment’s are made by inorganic compounds (mainly silicon), and these are non-biodegradable, which cause a major problems.
These effects can be reduced for further increasing by using sustainable sources of energy for generation of electricity, and for processing of devices. For electronic wastes, switching from inorganic to organic devices (conducting polymer) will be viable for neglecting further wastes. The urban and rural waste can also be used for producing biogas, by using direct, thermochemical, or biochemical conversion routes, which would lead to form energy and mostly waste.

—The author, a student at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, can be reached at: