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Health hazards from mobile towers: Letter
India Created: 5 Aug 2018
Editor, Scientific reports on biological effect of cell tower radiation on human health are a grave concern. To get signals cell towers are erected at strategic places with receivers and transmitters attached to them. Receivers receive the signal from their respective suppliers and transmitters transmit the signal to cell phones and other devices wherever radiation could penetrate. The type of radiation transmitted from the towers is the electromagnetic radiation that is similar to that of sunlight but, radiation from mobile towers is seriously detrimental as told by physicists.

According to the report on “Cell Tower Radiation” submitted by Prof. G. Kumar, Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay to Secretary, DOT, Delhi, in 2010, one mobile operator may transmit 50-100 W of power and so, more operators on the same tower or in the same location, means more power and more radiation. Cell towers transmit radiation 24 x 7, so people living within 10’s of meters from the tower will receive signal that is 10,000 to 10,000,000 times stronger than what is required for mobile communication.

India adopted radiation norms of 4.7 W/m2 for GSM 900. However, serious health effects have been noted even at low as 0.0001 W/m2. A few countries have adopted 0.001 W/m2 or even lower. The biological effects due to microwave radiation from mobile towers include: risks to children (softer skull, softer bones-easier for radiation to penetrate), risks to pregnant women, infertility, DNA damage, interference with pacemakers used in the body, effects on skin, ear and eye damage, weakening of bones, sleep disorder, tumours, brain diseases, increased cancer risk. Apart from having a detrimental impact on human health, radiation from mobile towers affects animals and plants as well. There are so many studies that have been carried out on this issue and one can get these reports on the internet.

I want to draw your attention to the locality where I reside at Mawlai Mawdatbaki, Pata-A where two tall towers were erected in 2005-2008 near many houses, some of them only a few meters away. One of the towers belongs to Airtel and the other to Vodafone. Last week, some technicians came to connect some device to the Vodafone tower. When asked, they said they are connecting Jio to the tower. Surprised and shocked, that day we came to know that Vodafone sold the tower to a company known as ATC, already two operators namely IDEA and BSNL are using the same tower as told by the land owner. Therefore, the two existing mobile towers are catering to 5 operators that are transmitting radiation non-stop.

Operators of mobile towers must be strictly instructed that power density inside residential or office buildings, schools, hospitals, should be within specified guidelines. Residents staying in close proximity to the towers must be informed about the harmful effect of radiation.

The crucial questions are: (1) Are network operators aware of health risks and do they follow the radiation norms and guidelines? (2) Do they have a Radiation meter to check the intensity of radiation regularly? (3) Who will be responsible for the health risks of people staying within close proximity to mobile towers? (4) Is the Government/telecom department aware of the sharing of towers by many operators and so, the strength of radiation transmitted by these operators together?

I therefore urge land owners to first understand the health risks involved when they lease their land to companies to accommodate mobile towers. I also urge those in seats of authority to rethink the situation and minutely assess the health risks involved and look for alternatives to remove the towers from residential areas and relocate them in areas where they would not pose a blatant hazard to public health, and at the same time be able to serve the needs of the public in terms of allowing enough scope for mobile phones to access signals. I strongly urge the public to understand the ill effects of radiation and therefore to stand united for an issue like this for the greater good of society.

We need telephone, internet and other modes of technology but not to the detriment of our health.

Yours etc.
Bashida Massar,

Via email
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Source: THe Shillong Times, Bashida Massar, 03 Aug 2018

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