By Ajay Poddar, Managing Director, Syenergy Environics
From the morning alarms which go off on our mobile phones to the smart watches that track our pulse rates and sleep quality, our lives revolve around technology. Historically, new technologies have evolved in response to population and economic pressures and demands for various needs like increased safety, better health, security, higher productivity etc. While newer technologies definitely have many benefits and make our daily lives easier, their impact on human health too needs to be evaluated. In the past, we have seen instances where we have gone ahead and implemented newer technology only to realise that they have not been tested.
While energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) consume less electricity and lead to fewer emissions from power plants, they do contain mercury – a hazardous material. It is particularly bad if the light bulb breaks or is not disposed of properly. Studies on exposed workers have shown that inhaling significant amounts of mercury can lead to inflammation of the lungs, kidney damage, gastroenteritis, restlessness and shaking. Swallowing a large dose of mercury can be fatal. Even exposure to lower levels over a long period of time can be harmful. Moreover, children and foetus are known to be more vulnerable to mercury. Similar incidences may happen with LED now as it emits sodium vapour which has yet not been tested fully.
While solar and electrical cars are great for the environment as compared to the regular ones, their health effects on people need to be further examined. Numerous peer-reviewed laboratory studies conducted over several decades have found biological effects from limited exposures to electromagnetic radiations.
We are living at a critical time, both for humanity and the planet. There is a dire need to protect and to seek more sustainable formulas for interacting with the environment. The development and use of technologies that do not harm the environment and human health is critical to maintain and improve the quality of life. Some of the great examples of the use of technology for the benefit are –
The ability to monitor and analyse the pollution levels around factories, air quality in the bigger overpopulated cities and even the PH levels of the oceans help us to assess the damage being done and take corrective actions. Environmental Simulation Testing helps ensure new products and technologies are up to standards before they hit the market and start to affect our planet.
Increasing yield in agriculture
The farmers are able to use the drones to monitor the health of their crops, spray medicines for better efficiency. In addition, to reduce our reliance on animals, thus reduce the carbon emissions and still feed the world population, some companies are turning to engineered foods.
To ensure that the individuals purchase fewer materials eg: ride sharing.
Protection of wildlife
Drones and other technology is also being used to prevent poaching and protecting the endangered species across the world.
Creating accountability & dissemination of messaging on environmental issues
Web and social media have made information on critical social & environmental issues easy to disseminate across cultures and countries. It helps like-minded people to share concerns, create awareness about issues and do their bit to help in resolving those issues.
The future will be marked by our ability to evolve and use technology for a sustainable and environmentally conscious living. Its technology that can play a critical role in ensuring that we reduce the burden on the planet and become more aware that our day to day choices have an impact on the planet. Technology, therefore, can be a part of the solution or part of the problem in case the adequate research is not done on the same. We need to ensure that we continue to find effective and efficient ways to ensure that it helps rather than harms us.