People apprehend health hazards with mushrooming Cell phone towers

About 800 towers in Jammu city alone: Survey
Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Oct 13: With growing mobile and internet connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir, the apprehensions about health hazards are increasing among the people due to proliferation of humongous number of mobile towers.
The mushrooming mobile towers over housetops especially in the residential areas have been a cause of concern for common masses in Jammu and Kashmir and this has also been generating a public resentment agaisnt the failure of Government to check the same.
According to sources, though the people of various residential areas have expressed their resentment against the mushrooming of mobile towers in their vicinity and even submitted their memorandums to the concerned agencies entrusted to grant permission for establishing of mobile towers, the action taken on their part is very slow so far as the number of mobile phone towers is concerned.
Sources said there are even five to six towers in a radius of one km area in the Jammu city and its outskirts exposing the people to grave risk to their lives. The people showing concern over the mushrooming of mobile towers especially in Jammu wondered that on one hand the Government has launched a massive campaign against banning plastic in the country and on the other hand no one is bothered to check the installation of mobile towers in highly congested areas especially in city and towns as their number is mushrooming day by day due to cut throat competition in mobile companies.
A survey conducted by Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) last year revealed that there were 799 mobile towers in the Jammu city alone. The authorities as per the Government tower policy 2016 have sealed 70 towers after court directives, the sources in JMC said.
Admitting this, the JMC Joint Commissioner, Sunaina said they have removed structures or sealed about 110 to 115 towers which include r their offshoots also following the court directions. This process still continues and action is being taken under tower policy of 2016. “The organization is on the job and we will see whether the tower falls under the policy framed by Government or not and take action accordingly”, she added.
However the residents of various areas of Janipur Gandhi Nagar, Nanak Nagar, Trikuta Nagar, Talab Tilloo etc through Safe Guard Welfare Association has taken the onus to raise the issue before the Government and they have submitted memorandums to State as well as Central Governments in this regard pleading to save the people from obnoxious and toxic effects of mobile towers. The Association representatives said that in case the Government fails to contain their mad expansion it will be a grave problem afflicting the human health and their survival in future.
The installation of mobile towers has even become a bone of contention in various localities if a house owner allows a mobile company to install the tower over its rooftop to earn some extra money as monthly rent is strongly being objected by other residents on the pretext that it will endanger the health of the people in the locality.
The Government has also not made any yardsticks for installation of mobile towers especially in congested areas and it only awakes when any problem surfaces to order a blanket ban as is done in case of polythene now, said Paramjit Singh, president, Safe Guard Welfare Association.
Experts are of the opinion that there are seven major harmful effects of radiation and pollution of Cell Phone Towers. According to them Cell Phone Towers effect on human brain have cognitive effects, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, thermal effects, effect on insects, effect on Plants and impacts on bio-system and ecosystem. They have also cautioned the authorities at the helm of affairs about the harmful effects of Cell phones as well as mobile towers and onus lies on Government to take remedial measures.
In view of such harmful effects of Cell Phone Towers the apprehension of people are growing and they demand action from Government to check their mushrooming growth.
The Interphone study released in May 2010 reported 5,117 brain tumor cases and stated that people who use cell phones for 30 minutes per day over a duration of eight-ten, have doubled to quadrupled chances of getting brain tumor, and that’s why it was classified as Class 2B.
According to this study use of cell phones is a personal choice, but what about people who live in the vicinity of cell towers? They are exposed to the radiation 24×7. Cell operators claim that tower radiation is less intense than the Sun’s rays, but tower radiation is continuous and different in the way it impacts the body.
Tops of trees tend to dry up when they directly face the cell tower antennas and they seem to be most vulnerable if they have their roots close to the water. Some studies have found both growth stimulation and dieback.
In an observational study, it was found that the output of most fruit-bearing trees reduced drastically from 100% to 5% after 2.5 years of cell tower installation in a farm facing four cell towers in Gurgaon-Delhi Toll Naka.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has informed that in a number of studies it has been reported that exposure to radiation from mobile phones causes adverse health effects. But there is no conclusive data available so far on this issue, however, the growing body of scientific evidences indicates some bio-effects and possible adverse health effects of Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) which merit further investigations. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) (2011) after reviewing the studies published from year 2000 to 31st May 2011 classified the radio frequency electromagnetic radiations/field emitted from wireless phone under group 2 B-carcinogen category. Due to this fact numbers of countries have developed health based precautionary guidelines for exposure of EMF from cell phone towers including India.
On the basis of such reports on Cell Towers which are harmful for humans, animals as well as plants the Safeguard Welfare Association has urged the Government to check the mushrooming growth of Cell towers especially in congested areas to safeguard human lives and preservation of environment from its harmful effects.