New Delhi: With existing literature showing Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) interfering with the biological systems, an expert committee of Environment Ministry has stressed on minimising exposure levels by adopting stricter norms to match the best in the world.
"There is an urgent need to focus more scientific attention to this area before it would be too late," cautions the expert committee set up by the Ministry in August last year to study the possible impact of communication towers on
"Precautionary principle approach should be used to minimise the exposure levels and we may have to move ahead and adopt stricter norms followed in some other countries like Russia, China, New Zealand," the study stated.
It further said studies on impact of cellphone tower radiation on birds and wildlife are almost nonexistent from India. "There is an urgent need for taking up well-designed studies to look into this aspect."
"Well-designed long-term impact assessment studies would be required to monitor the impact of ever-increasing intensities of EMRs on our biological environment. Meanwhile, the precautionary principle should prevail and we need to better our standards on EMF to match the best in the world," it said.
The 10-member committee headed by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Director Asad Rahmani also called for a law for protection of urban flora and fauna from emerging threats like ERM/EMF as conservation issues in urban areas are different from forested or wildlife habitats.
The committee said "the review of existing literature shows that EMRs are interfering with the biological systems in more ways than one and there had already been some warning bells sounded in the case on bees and birds, which probably heralds the seriousness of this issue and indicates the vulnerability of other species as well."
"Public consultation should be made mandatory before installation of cell phone towers in any area. The Forest Department should be consulted before installation of cellphone towers in and around PAs and zoos. The distance at
which these towers should be installed should be studied case-by-case basis."
To prevent overlapping high radiations fields, new towers should not be permitted within a radius of one kilometer of existing towers, the committee has recommended.
With nearly 800 million Indians having mobile phones, making it the second largest mobile phone-subscriber population in the world after China, the committee estimates that by 2013, India will have over one billion cellphone
connections. "Today, in absence of any policy on infrastructure development and location of cell phone towers, a large number of mobile phone towers are being installed in a haphazard manner across urban and sub-urban habitats in India", it said.
The panel also sought an independent system for monitoring of EMF pollution across the country since EMF is an invisible form of pollution.
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Updated Date: Oct 28, 2011 14:26:13 IST