The Ministry of Environment and Forests has commissioned a study on the impact of radiation from cellular phone towers on the avian population, Union Minister of Environment Jayanthi Natarajan said here on Friday.
Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the sixth edition of ‘Beacon 2012,’ a meet on business ethics hosted by the Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Ms. Natarajan said that the report of the study, commissioned a couple of days ago, would be submitted in three months.
The study was commissioned against the backdrop of a previous study finding that the electromagnetic radiation from these communication towers affected bees very badly and reports of adverse effect on scavenger birds in certain parts of Orissa, the Minister said.
“We’re now worried that the radiation on a particular wavelength will have a deleterious effect on the avian population. This is what prompted the study.”
The Ministry would write to the Telecom Ministry suggesting a mechanism, a task force, perhaps – to monitor radiation from mobile towers, the Minister said.
On the controversy over Dow Chemicals being a sponsor at the London Olympics, Ms. Natarajan said: “I strongly feel as an Indian that somebody who has been responsible for such a tremendous environmental disaster in this country should not be sponsoring the Olympics.”
Earlier, addressing the LIBA meet, Ms. Natarajan urged the business fraternity to adopt a Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in place of the CSR and said the Ministry was moving towards a system of self-regulation and self-monitoring.
While hailing the Indian corporate sector for being supportive of environment protection, Ms. Natarajan said there was much more to be done apart from adopting the path of self-regulation.
The Ministry proposed to introduce 24/7 pollution monitoring by industries and posting outcomes on the website to provide a greater degree of transparency and also push for stiffer penalties on violators of environment laws.
Reiterating the Indian position on climate change, Ms. Natarajan categorically stated that a green economy could not be equated with green protectionism, and countries that polluted the environment for the last 150 years had to pay for it while India’s right to grow and develop could never be bartered away.
The biggest gain from the Durban climate change summit apart from the extension of the Kyoto Protocol – still the only rules-based international instrument that made it binding on some developed countries to undertake emission cuts and emission reductions in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility – was that “the Durban Platform was concluded under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and the convention makes it absolutely clear and applicable to all parties that equity is at the heart of any action and any agreement on climate change.”
Citing a Stockholm Institute study to press the case that the US and other Western nations “continued to cause pollution,” despite their commitments, Ms. Natarajan said India was, on the contrary, doing a great deal through its National Action Plan on Climate Change. “We have voluntarily offered internationally that by 2020, we will reduce the intensity of our energy emissions by 20-25 per cent.”
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