By Brenda Friday
In the space of a decade, cell phones have ceased to be mere innovations and become important objects in our lives. They connect us to our loved ones and make business easier.
Despite the much value we attach to our cell phones, little do we know about their impact on the environment. Truth is; nothing good comes at no cost. This leads us to deeper thoughts about how our cell phones can be dangerous to our own environment.
Most of us use mobile phones and many more people are getting introduced to this era of advanced technology including kids as old as three years. Also mobile phones become outdated so fast as new models are introduced into the market. This leaves us wondering about what happens to the old fashioned cell phones! They are most probably kept in our shelves for emergency use or given to our relatives.
The number of retired cell phones increases year after year, posing an increasing threat to the environment as at the end of the day these phones find their way into dustbins. Perhaps you have done this before, am not here to condemn you because I have done the same too.
It is very common to find these cell phones or their spare parts in garbage collection places around the country and also along shores of lakes such as Lake Victoria at Beaches. This calls for the need for effective means of disposing off such unwanted cell phones so that they don’t end up in such places.
Mobile phones contain toxic heavy metals, for example, cadmium, lead, nickel, mercury, manganese, lithium, zinc, arsenic, antimony, beryllium and copper.
If these metals get into contact with the environment, they leach into water courses and contaminate it and contaminate the soil as well. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that ecosystems contaminated by lead face biodiversity loss, decreased grow and reproductive rates and neural effects in vertebrates.
So disposing off unwanted cell phones into the environment causes pollution to that environment and it is us to lose because we are the key beneficiaries of a safe and clean environment.
I believe that recycling cell phones is the only responsible and safer decision we can take on in pursuit for protection and preservation of our environment as Ugandans.
The writer works with Advocates for Natural Resources Governance and Development. (ANARDE)