This has been sent by a media campaigner to my inbox: global environmental watchdog Greenpeace fears that the introduction of Microsoft’s newest operating system, the Windows Vista, “will trigger a deluge of E-waste in developing countries.”
Greenpeace states that with Vista, ” more companies and
individuals may feel the need to replace their existing computers sooner as these become incompatible with the new operating system. The result:massive volumes of computer scrap in dirty recycling yards and dumpsites in the Philippines, Thailand, and in other Asian countries where most of the world’s E-waste dumps are located.”
Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner Beau Baconguis argues that “With Vista, Microsoft could effectively hasten the obsolescence of half the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s PCs, especially in the absence of fully-functioning global take back systems for PCs. Companies will feel the need to upgrade more computers sooner–and when they do, the world is unfortunately not prepared for the massive E-waste the upgrades will generate.”
“As it is, the current environmental policies of computer companies are not enough to provide an effective solution to the growing mountains of toxic electronic waste from computer components. Microsoft should have factored in these consequences and should have laid out mitigating
measures to minimize the problem of obsolescence, before they started introducing new innovations. Innovation should not translate to more pollution,” she added.
Greenpeace cited results of a study conducted by SoftChoice Corporation which found out that 50% of the current breed of personal computers are “below Windows Vista’s basic
system requirements” while 94% are not equipped to run on Windows Vista Premium edition.
The ability of PCs to be easily upgraded is also important if the
massive volumes of E-waste is to be prevented. Greenpeace has been engaging manufacturers of PCs and mobile phones to phase out toxic substances in their products and institute take-back mechanisms for the same products at the end of their useful lives. The demand comes with a challenge to PC manufacturers to design their products so that these may be easily upgraded, disassembled, and recycled properly.
I wonder that the people at Microsoft have to say to Greenpeace’s pronouncements. We’ve read their press release that Windows XP will continue to be sold alongside the new product. Likewise, it has assured that presently any PC which runs on Windows XP will do well with the new OS.
However, it is just too tempting not to try the maximum impact of the Vista’s never-before seen features like the Windows Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and an improved version of the Windows Media Player. All these will probably perform better with a new PC. Go figure.
Related Article: Coming up after Windows Vista is Windows Vienna.