A neatly designed chart designed by Geekaphone condenses the iPhone’s impact on the environment and the people who manufacture it in poor countries.
The statistics do not impress. For instance, iPhones purchased in 2010 contributed to 2,350 million kilograms of CO2 released into the atmosphere. Less than 10 per cent of phones are recycled. Two million phones enter landfills each week. 49 workers assembling iPhones’ touchscreens in Taiwan were poisoned. The iPhone’s power adapter exceeds global energy efficiency standards. And so the grim list goes on.
Of course it would be unfair to say that only Apple’s product has such an appalling environmental record; other smartphone makers probably don’t fare much better. But Apple rakes in 50 per cent of total global cellphones with a market share of only four per cent, therefore it seems correct to single the company out for criticism.
Smartphones are here to stay. What companies like Apple and its smartphone competitors should do is to incorporate alternative energy such as solar power into their product design. They should also implement recycling programs and make sure the workers who actually make their products are looked after properly. Considering how much money these companies make from the gadgets they peddle, this is the minimum we should expect from them.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.