Apparently, since the advent of digital cameras, consumers have not only enjoyed photography more but also contributed. Although mostly unintentionally to the reduction of environmental pollution. Previous camera systems require the treatment of film with certain chemicals, particularly those used as fixer and developer solutions. These chemicals had for a long time been responsible for the poisoning of water sources through indiscriminate disposal.
Each year, around two thousand new chemicals are developed for use in industry. These new threats add to the 80, 000 chemicals already in existence. Although the effect of each known chemical is not known, it is clear from studies that our health and the environment are at risk because of these chemicals in general. Surprisingly, the threat of hazardous wastes is one of the least publicized environmental issues.
Nonetheless, according to experts, problems related to hazardous wastes in the environment are actually some of the issues that we can resolve using technology which is currently available. An example of such technology is the manufacture of digital cameras, which has drastically cut down the hazards posed by film development chemicals.
In the years prior to the invention and mass production of digital cameras, laws had been put into effect requiring photography and film development companies to render used chemicals inert or harmless before dumping them in landfills. However, many of these companies, usually the smaller ones, ignored laws and willfully disposed off their chemical wastes without treating them first. This was because of the large expenditure involved in turning those chemicals inert.
Another particular example involved cruise ships and their multitude of passengers each year that took and developed countless film-based photographs. The chemical refuse resulting from the treatment of films aboard the ships were simply dumped into open water, contributing to the contamination or sea water around the world.
Since the introduction of digital cameras, however, these and other incidents have greatly been reduced. A photograph from a digital camera is produced and reproduced electronically, not necessitating the need for film or chemical treatment. And since film-based photography has now been largely ignored by the majority of consumers in favor of the more convenient digital type, the environmental problems associated with camera film may see a complete resolution.
The other consideration when it comes to this issue is the use of batteries for digital cameras and other electronic devices. Batteries also pose significant environmental hazards if not disposed off properly. Older battery types containing alkaline had to be discarded by consumers after a few weeks of use, thereby still contributing, although less frequently, to pollution.
However, nowadays the common batteries are Li-on (Lithium-Ion) and NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride), which have considerably long battery life. Consumers do not need to replace them often and when these units do need to be replaced (after several years, for some models), the companies that manufacture them promote programs whereby these spent batteries are collected and disposed off in compliance with the proper procedures as required by law.