Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour

Millions of people are expected to switch off their lights for Earth Hour today in a global effort to raise awareness about climate change that will even be monitored from space.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

EWaste - How Are CIO's Protecting the Environment?

By Michael Lemm
Going green .... or protecting the environment .... has become even more of focus in companies today then ever before. In the US this is partly due to the new Obama Administration emphasis on the subject. But also because it's just plain the smart and responsible way to do business. One major segment of the overall effort is reducing and/or controlling E-waste.
E-waste is only part of the picture, though, of how CIO's can reduce harm to the environment.
For eWaste, many countries, US states, and even cities have eWaste proposals in various stages of becoming law. The common thread that is emerging is producer responsibility: the company that makes the stuff needs to be responsible for it at the end of its life. In some cases, companies pay a fee to a government recycling program. In others, the companies take the products back themselves. One very good source of information about these regulations is EIATRACK. All of the big equipment producers have product take-back programs; I suggest you speak with your particular vendors.
The problem of eWaste is also mitigated somewhat by a regulation that went into effect in 2006 in the European Union, and which is emerging as a common platform for laws in other places.
Called "RoHS" for Reduction of Hazardous Substances, it bans six specific substances in electronics (lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and two flame retardants), subject to certain exemptions and limitations. The practical effect of this is that electronics will be less hazardous to recycle at the end of their useful life, and the stuff that eventually makes it into landfills will be less toxic.
Now, onto the broad question: How can CIOs help (or minimize harm to) the environment?
Probably the biggest thing, in my opinion, is to buy and operate less hardware.
Data centers use an enormous amount of electricity to run and cool the computers, and the generation of that electricity can contribute a lot of carbon to a company's carbon footprint. By fitting more virtual servers onto less physical servers, a company can use a lot less electricity--not to mention seeing other operational advantages.
CIOs can also make a positive impact by factoring electricity usage into enterprise purchasing decisions for workstations, and admin policy decisions (such as when workstations are put into hibernation mode after periods of being idle).
They can make technology and managerial decisions that facilitate working remotely: the pollution savings from non-commuting helps the environment, and the utility savings from not having a full-time office at the company help both the company's bottom line and the environment.
This isn't, of course, as simple as it sounds but plenty of companies are learning to to do it right.
Now what would YOU do.
Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including Michael also authors Small Business Resources Cafe with resources, tools, tips, & insights for small businesses. The Cafe is always open. So .... grab a cup of Joe & sit awhile! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Are We Aware Of The Impact Of Ewaste On Our Health And Environment?

By Nischal Sanghavi

As swanky electronic gazettes have become the new lifestyle status symbols of the modern society, more and more people have started taking to adapting and flaunting latest technology equipments. The usage of mobiles, laptops, mp3 players, computer, LCD TVs and home equipments with advanced technologies have become common. With new upgrades in technology everyday, old equipments are fast phasing out because of obsolence. This obsolete, non-working, non-repairable but durable equipments obviously find there way into the garbage.

According to N.M. Taphani, Regional Officer, Pollution Control Board, this Electronic Waste is highly dangerous for environment and hence should not be disposed with the regular garbage. Electrical and electronic equipment are made up of a multitude of components, some containing toxic substances which can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment if not handled properly. They should be segregated and disposed as per the norms However, according to him the disposal of all domestic waste is the responsibility of Municipal Corporation or civic authorities. Hence, they have not been taking any action on the matter. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) of the Government of India has developed a special guide for issues and problems created by eWaste. However, the workgroup for this divison are currently functional only in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi.
Vendors in the business of used computers says, they often come across non-working computer parts whose repairing may cost more than a new one. They usually throw such parts like display cards, network cards or mother boards of old computers into the nearest dustbin alongwith other garbage. According to Dealers of home equipments, used Television and Electronic equipments are purchased by dealers as buyback. This second hand equipments if working are usually resold to small vendors from nearby villages otherwise they are sold to scrap dealers in town. These scrap dealers in turn use some of the useful material from the equipments and throw away the rest of then things in garbage. According to Mobile phone showroom owners, when they come across non-repairable phones, they keep the working parts of the phone into their inventory and throw away the stripped phone.

There are many people who change handphones almost every 6-8 months as the one he is using either gets outdated or becomes non-repairable due to extensive usage. They normally sell the old phones for peanuts to second hand vendors. Environmentalist Dr. Vinod Pandya say the toxins and chemicals released by disposing this waste creates dangerously harmful effects to human body. According to him, the quantity of eWaste is drastically increasing in our environment and if it is not controlled using specified methods, it will create unpredictable harm to the environment. According to an Assistant Engineer working in the Solid Waste Management department of the civic authorities, they do not collect Industrial Waste and Bio-medical Waste in their garbage. The rest of the waste collected is send to the Porcessing Plant. At processing plant they segregate solid wastes received during garbage collection, however, he is confident that they are not receivng any eWaste with the garbage. He believes that there are many Rag Tickers who pick up this waste material from dustbins and hence, these waste do not reach the Processing plant.
Sove of the eWaste generated due to common human activities are as follows :
1 Breaking, Recycling or disposing Releasing of toxins into the soil, air and groundwater Of Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
2 Burning of wires Induces formation of dioxins
3 Burning of Printed Circuit Boards Induces alarmingly high formation of dioxins
4 Destroying Circuit Breakers Creates Leaching of Mercury
5 Breaking or CRT Glass Leaching of Lead
Nischal Sanghavi, B.E.(Electronics), MBA, Businessman and Freelance writer for The Times of India.