DID YOU KNOW
-that Electro-Magnetic Radiations (EMRs), emitted from mobile towers, interfere with the biological systems affecting birds and bees, an indication that doesn't augur well for other species.
- that EMRs are the potential cause for the decline of animal populations and deterioration of health of plants and humans living near radiation sources such as phone masts.
- that EMRs are responsible for declining number of birds especially sparrows and also for the unusual phenomenon in bees known as ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ (CCD). CCD is when there is a sudden disappearance of bees from their hives.
- that WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer 1 , associated with wireless phone use.
- that studies show significant non-thermal long-term impact of electro magnetic fields (EMFs) on species, especially at genetic level which can lead to health complications including brain tumors (glioma), reduction in sperm counts and sperm mobility, congenital deformities, endocrine disruptions and psychiatric problems such as stress, ringxiety (phantom ringing), sleep disorders and memory loss.
- that there are not enough studies in India to show the impact of EMRs on flora and fauna of species in India; the Ministry of Environment and Forests prepared a report on the possible impacts of communication towers on wildlife in October 2011.
- that the guidelines on exposure limits to EMFs need to be refined. India currently follows the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) Standard that is based only on thermal impact of Radio Frequency and are dismissive of current epidemiological evidence on impacts of non-thermal nature on chronic exposure from multiple towers.
- that the ICNIRP guidelines were formulated in 1998, and was endorsed by WHO and EU then. The guidelines had set a power density of 9.2 W/m2 (watt per square metre) but over the years many countries have scaled down their power density substantially. India however has chosen to stick to the guidelines. For instance New Zealand follows an exposure limit of 0.5 W/m2, the exposure limit in Poland, Italy and Paris is 0.1 W/m2. Italy has a separate exposure limit of 0.025 W/m2 set for sensitive areas.
What the Ministry of Environment and Forests suggests
- EMRs should be treated as pollutants
- There should be an Ecological Impact Assessment study done before setting mobile towers and a public consultation should be made mandatory before installation of cell phones towers in any area
- The forest department should be consulted before installation of cell phone towers in and around national parks, wildlife sanctuary, bird sanctuary and zoo
- The location of the mobile towers and other EMR radiating towers along with their frequency towers should be put up in the public domain
-The report suggests that if new towers must be built, they should be constructed to be between 80 feet and 199 feet tall to avoid the requirement for aviation safety lighting
- In order to prevent overlapping high radiations fields, new towers should not be permitted within a radius of one kilometer of existing towers
-The towers should be built on platforms so that in future the towers can be relocated away from areas of high migratory bird traffic, wetlands and other known bird areas
There are a couple of states like West Bengal and Delhi that have in the past recommended similar guidelines for the installation of the mobile towers. The Bombay High Court had asked the state health department and Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) in May 2011 to submit rules pertaining to the installation of mobile towers in the state. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the government, in June 2011, to issue warnings of health hazards of mobile tower to the public.
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