Omicrono YouTube and Amazon: the most polluting websites in the world, according to a study
Streaming content platforms such as YouTube and Netflix are the most polluting internet sites. Using these platforms and others such as the social network Twitter or the Amazon shopping website means a high emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. In Spain, the El Corte Inglés website is the one that generates the most carbon per visitor, according to WebSiteToolTester
According to an analysis of the service for the creation of internet pages, which has analyzed more than 140 homepages of the best-known websites in the world to carry out this study, the problem lies in the large servers that must support these portals and the electricity they need.
Every time an Internet user enters a web page such as YouTube and performs an activity such as opening a video, entering a channel or writing a comment, their computer or mobile is sending and receiving information to the server. These large computer centers far from our homes consume huge amounts of electricity.
This implies that the more elements the web presents with images, videos or infographics, the greater its carbon footprint. Hence, the most popular video and online shopping platforms are at the top of this study.
The most polluting Spanish website
YouTube with millions of videos, live broadcasts and music charts generates a carbon footprint of 702,000 tons per year, according to data collected by WebSiteToolTester. Something that also happens with pornographic content portals, only the traffic of the PornHub.com home page generates 24,500 million grams of carbon dioxide per year, which is the same energy consumption as 27,000 flights between London and New York.
Most polluting websitesWebSiteToolTesterOmicrono
In the ranking, the second most polluting platform is Google, its search engine. Other services such as Gmail or Meet are not taken into account, but the Google search engine is considered one of the cleanest internet portals. Its problem lies in the number of visitors looking for content in the most popular search engine, which is why it generates more than 267,000 tons of carbon per year.
There is also a clear winner in Spain, with the El Corte Inglés website ranked 24th as the most polluting website in the territory: "every time someone loads the home page, 9.98 grams are emitted, almost 3 million grams a year from this website alone" they explain in the study.
The Spanish store frequently updates its extensive catalog of products that it sells online and it takes a long time to load all the resources that make it up, such as images. Zara follows with 1,500 tons generated in Spain, because internationally its website reaches 50,000 tons.
The cleanest on the internet
If we focus on the emissions produced by these portals for each visit that enters to browse their content, Instagram is the cleanest. Followed by other pages like Google, which we have already mentioned, or LinkedIn. In the case of electronic commerce, the clothing brand HyM and the web of online payment services PayPal also get good marks.
Cleanest websites on the internetWebSiteToolTesterOmicrono
Instagram only produces 0.01 grams of carbon each time a user enters their account. On the contrary, Facebook emits 0.2 grams of carbon dioxide per visit, and Twitter reaches 0.84 grams, which is why this last social network is also among the most polluting.
Reducing the pollution generated by these web pages is a very complex challenge. These are services that have become essential for the development of many people's lives, covering needs such as commerce, leisure and interpersonal relationships. For this reason, reducing the number of visitors is something that only depends on the interest and demand of the users.
On the other hand, WebSiteToolTester proposes to reduce the weight or quality of the images and optimize their load so that communications between devices and servers are less demanding and consume less electricity. During the quarantine, YouTube reduced the viewing quality of its videos so that the service was able to meet the high demand from the public who wanted to watch the content from home.
Another option that is being considered more strongly lately is to simplify the computer code on which these pages and applications are based. The goal is to develop more efficient codes that can provide the same service but are lighter and easier to handle for devices and servers. This is the challenge set by The Green Software Foundation, an organization promoted by companies such as Microsoft, together with Accenture, ThoughtWorks, the Linux Foundation and GitHub.