Are mobile towers in residential areas harmful?
While people are rather happy with better network accessibility brought by increase in the number of mobile phone towers in their areas, the National Rights Commission (NHRC) is concerned about the harmful effects of radiation emitted from these towers in residential areas. Notices have been issued to the union ministry of communications and information technology and health ministry.
Development in the telecommunication sector has never been so hiked up as now. New and better services are being introduced with newer networks that require more towers. Development should not come in the way of healthcare and government needs to ensure that strategies are adapted to take care of these aspects.
The harmful effect of having mobile towers in residential areas is highly debated. Some of the theories believe that there is no harm in having mobile towers in residential areas while the others cite the list of harms that could come from them.Yes:1. Electromagnetic radiations:
If you go for expert advice, they would tell you that living within 50m of a mobile tower is like being stuck in a microwave oven for the entire day. The electromagnetic radiations are cancerous elements that are straightforward lethal for health. Take a look at all those cell phone towers on the terrace of residential buildings and you can imagine how close a call people are taking with these perilous elements. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that mobile tower radiations are carcinogenic to humans and can cause brain cancer. It has the same effects as being surrounded by DDT, chloroform, lead and petrol exhaust.2. Unauthorized constructions:
Out of all the mobile phone towers in metropolitan cities, a shocking 45% of them are illegal. They did not follow the norms that are set for the purpose and ignorantly put the lives of people at risk of cancer and other disastrous ailments. The buildings on which the tower is to be set must be authorized by the concerned government body but since most of them are illegal, hence unauthorized too.3. Other issues:
While cancer is the biggest threat to people living in the vicinity of a mobile phone tower, there are other health issues too. People in the area experience sleep disorders, fatigue, headache, memory loss, depression, hearing problems, joint pains, skin diseases, and even cardiovascular problems. Mobile phones emit radiation too but they are smaller in intensity while mobile towers generate higher intensity of radiation 24 hours. We can only imagine the kind of long term toll this can take on the health of people.4. Birds on the go:
The most notable effect of mobile tower radiation has been seen on birds. The numbers of local birds like sparrows have started to dwindle from the residential areas where mobile towers have been installed. The mobile towers are known to emit microwaves that are found to damage bird eggs and embryos as they cause thinning of the skulls of chicks as well as eggshells. Microwaves also interfere with the navigation sensors of the birds which they use to find their way back to nest. Imagine a mother bird on the spree for food trying to return to the kin but never being able to find the way back. It is dismal indeed.5. On children and unborn:
Children have thinner skulls and are hence known to be more affected by radiation from mobile phone towers. The same applies for pregnant woman carrying an underdeveloped child. The penetration of radiation is easier on them and the effect could be really disastrous if not kept under check. Children these days are known to have less concentration power – one of the effects of having cellular towers in residential areas, near schools and hospitals. No:1. Norms are effective:
The norms set by the Indian government are far more stringent as compared to the limits set in advanced countries. There is very negligible amount of harmful radiation created amid our mobile phone towers which do not have a greater coverage area. The frequency is very low, making the norms far more effective than to leave us worrying about cancer and other health issues that are only known to happen under very high radiation exposure.2. Authorization:
After compliant from the residential, many illegal mobile towers were sealed in the year 2013. Now the company needs to get various types of clearances from various departments that strictly check the environment and the tower capacity before giving it a go. The whole problem of illegal and unauthorized setup of mobile towers on rooftops started when people started selling off their space to mobile companies that promised them good pay and round the day electricity advantage. People also need to be more aware and precautionary if they want the government to take care of the health needs of the citizens.3. Heavy fine imposed on trespassers:
Heavy fines and punishments are now imposed on illegal construction of mobile towers which has effectively lessened the whole fiasco about harmful radiation in residential areas. On top of that it is to be noted that people are more worried about getting the best signal strength on their mobile devices. There is no compromising on data speed or call drop due to bad network. People rarely have objections if a mobile tower is erected in their area.4. For selling radiation proof products:
The whole rumor about mobile tower radiation in India was started by a foreign company that sells radiation proofing products like window and ventilation shields. There are even curtains and wallpapers being sold that are labeled as radiation proof. The whole stigma comes from this backdrop which could one fine day start selling clothes and helmets that are meant to ward off radiation.
Mobile phone towers in residential areas are harmful if they do not comply with the norms and the emission if higher than permissible limits. However, it is still worth noting that cellular phones are bad for pregnant women and children which make it clear that mobile towers are also no good. Only when these things are kept within a certain limits, they are useful and necessary. For instance, it is true that radiation mingles with sleep. You are advised to stay technology free while sleeping. Do we really follow this rule? It is about time we start taking them seriously.