The dark truth behind our cell phones

Maddy Gleason, Features Editor

In this day and age, phones are the main way we communicate and connect with the rest of the world. Especially at DHS, or any high school, our lives revolve around our phones. In fact, it’s probably in your pocket right now. Whatever type of phone you have, there’s a truth to where they come from.

    And, it’s not just our phones. If you have a tablet, a TV, a computer, or smart speaker product, it was manufactured in a place where safety is an entity.

    “The high demand for phones is causing extreme harm to our environment. The items used in phones are toxic,” said Jr. Kyla Thomas.

    All electronics require copper and cobalt to run, among other elements which are often rare. The extraction, production, and utilization of these elements help us get the new iPhone X or Google Pixel 2, but they also negatively affect the environment and worsen conditions for millions of children.

    Cobalt is absolutely necessary for the production of our phones, because it makes up more than half of the battery. Unfortunately, the only place Cobalt is readily available is in the Congo, which is morbidly corrupt due to the invasive mining corporations which position themselves in the middle of the towns and take men, women and children as forced laborers.

    In fact, individuals between the ages of 5 and 25 have a 77% chance of dying in their unstable work environment.

    Copper is also a necessary component of the production of our favorite electronics. The Pebble mine is located in Bristol Bay, where a salmon run supports an entire Alaskan community.

    According to NBC news, “the Pebble deposit may contain as much as 80 billion pounds of copper and 107 ounces of gold, but the fear is that it could poison the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishery.”

    The environmental effects are deadly, but the effects on the community are devastating as well. For at least 100 years, the people of Bristol Bay have relied on the salmon for income and to support their families. Without this lucrative and important source, the entire community’s economy will twindle as the demand for copper and phones go up.

    One woman who assembled iPads in a Chinese Apple factory, Ms. Chen, was shown one of the completed products for the first time. She was able to communicate with her kids who she only saw once a month due to her economic state.

    Just like Ms. Chen, who said that she might want an iPad once she saved enough money, students at DHS feel remorse, but still possess an electronic interest.

    “The effects make me sad, but my phone is a big part of my life. I wish the materials used in phones were environmentally friendly. It is depressing to see the Earth decline in quality,” said Thomas.

    These problems are not ceasing any time soon, but it’s hard to develop a solid solution without taking away electronics for good, which is nearly impossible for a growing and developing society.

    “Recycle your phone after you get a new one or break it. It can be reused and prevent harm from happening,” said Thomas.

    Although there are countless benefits to phones, in fact, they allow us to communicate with the world around us, there are detrimental to our environment and make many men, women and children’s lives a living hell. If we recycle our phones, only get a new one when it’s absolutely necessary, and remember to donate often to organizations that improve the lives of workers, we can start to make the world a better place.