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Minister stresses study on cell phone towers
Pakistan Created: 4 Nov 2010
ISLAMABAD: There is dire need to conduct a national study to assess cumulative environmental and health impacts of 26,000 cell phone towers installed in the country, Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi stated this while summing up debate on a motion moved by some members of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The NA members showed concern on presence of cell phone towers in residential areas and stated that cancer and birth defects were being reported in some areas due to radiation emitting from these towers.

The minister informed the members that the cell phone towers emit non-ionized radiation of low frequency in range of 0.0027- 0.0042 milli watt per square centimeter (mW/Cm2). He said safe limits specified by International Commission on Non-Ionized Radiation Protection and Measurements (ICNIRP) was in range of 0.57 1.2 mW/Cm2, which was about 300 times lower than safe limit.

Afridi said that the cell phone towers could cause hazards in earthquake or in case of strong wind besides, creating noise and visual pollution.

He said that biological changes due to long time exposure in low frequency, radiation was still not fully understood by scientists and research was still going on.

He mentioned that general safety rules were observed for public by not giving direct exposure within eight meters (25 feet) from radiating surface of antenna.

Environmental protection agencies at the federal and provincial levels have been authorised to examine environmental and health aspects including installation of towers in public places before issuance of environmental approvals.

Afridi emphasised on conducting a national study to see the cumulative effects on mushrooms of cell phone towers in the country.

Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Muhammad Hanif Abbasi, Nisar Tanveer, Tahira Aurangzeb, Begum Nuzhat Sadiq, Shireen Arashad Khan, Muhammad Riaz Malik, Rana Mahmoodul-Hassan, Mian Marghoob Ahmad, Muhammad Afzal Khokher and Nighat Parveen Mir moved this motion.
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Source: Daily Times, 03 Nov 2010

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