Complete submission to charm of technological wrap has overwhelmingly eased our lives so much so that the buzz about its harmful consequences on health propagates a slow start.
Foot-tapping jingles of cellular companies, beguiling customers with lucrative free talk time offers; need to be given a second thought in the wake of rising incidence of health hazards caused by its radiations.
On 31st May, 2011, International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of WHO designates cell phones as “possible human carcinogen”. Evidences, in varied case studies, affirming the increase of Glioma and Acoustic Neuroma brain cancer in people with proximity to mobile phone towers, prodded the Government to implement stricter radiation norms at national level, in effect from 1st September, 2012.
According to new guidelines, the exposure limits for base station (BTS) emission have been lowered to one tenth of the existing exposure. Now the permissible radiation levels in India, 0.45 W / meter square for 900 MHz, still surpasses the International Standard of 0.001 W / meter square accorded safe for 24×7 exposures (Bio Initiative Report 2007).
The mobile handsets with Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limit of 1.6 W / kg over 1 gram of human tissue is the new norm with exposure limit to be displayed on handsets made mandatory.
Ranchi Municipal Corporation framed guidelines, for installation of cell phone towers in February 2008, was lying sedate and ineffectual. In coincidence with Centre’s move, the RMC has pitched up its activity pulse in issuing notices to the service providers of 356 BTS towers in the capital for furnishing relevant papers to reign in unauthorised installation of mobile towers. Prima facie it appears that hundreds of mobile towers in the capital and the state have not obtained the due sanction of the concerned authorities. RMC records show only 36 applications lying for approval for cellular towers.
Flouting the safety norms, cluster of BTS towers mounted on roof tops and more than one cellular tower erected within one km of existing ones near residential areas, schools and hospitals are commonly spotted. It intensifies overlapping of high radiation fields grievously affecting the health of humans, animals and birds. People living within 50-300 metre radius of cell phone masts are in harmful high radiation zone. Dangerously low, 10 ft to 20 ft BTS towers have been installed defying the safe prescribed height of 50 ft to 200 ft. Ratu, Upper Bazar, Circular Road and Lalpur are affected areas.
Mobile service operators self assess the BTS transmission in compliance with the TERM rules. Yielding to temptations like increasing radiation level of BTS towers to upgrade coverage, thus cutting expenditure of mounting more towers is not ruled out. However, the Inter Ministerial Committee recommendations empower the Urban Development Authority to keep a tab on cellular installations, their structural safety clearances and low power transmissions. The CEO, RMC, Deepankar Panda informs, “Purchase of radiation detectors is imminent. BIT Mesra has been roped in for expert consultation with vigil radiation checks being outsourced to them”.
Record unnatural death of crows, last year, reported in several pockets of Jharkhand was imputed to hazardous EMF radiation of BTS towers, growing exponentially and haphazardly. Dr Shekhar Kesri, Cancer Specialist, Apollo Ranchi speaking on the jeopardy, says, “Cases of Lymphoma and Brain tumour have gone up in Jharkhand. Rise in the number of children suffering from this fatal disease raises concern. Though no direct scientific evidence, but definitely an inter-relation between disease and harmful radiation exists.”
Mobile subscriber base in Jharkhand is nearly 1.5 crores and catering to them are 8 service providers.
Large number of cellular towers in the state emphasise the need for drastic abatement measures against harmful EMF radiation. Radio waves emitted by handsets and towers cause heating of human head and body fluid.
Disease symptoms arise due to related changes in electrical activity of the brain. Risk factors are enhanced 5 times in children and pregnant women.
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