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Supreme Court order gives boost to anti-radiation activists against mobile phone towers

Anti-radiation activists fighting a battle against unregulated mushrooming of mobile phone towers in the city say the Supreme Court order to shut down one such tower in Gwalior has given their campaign a boost. The SC has ordered deactivation of the tower within seven days on the grounds that it had afflicted a 42-yearold man with cancer.

“It is a boost to our movement against mobile phone towers that are a huge health hazard in several parts of Mumbai as well,“ said Prakash Munshi, one of the petitioners on cell tower radiation in the Bombay high court. “We are trying to get a copy of the SC verdict as it could help us strengthen our case in the high court,“ he said.

Pointing out that the permissible electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation level in India is 450 mWsqm, he said, “If 4G and 5G networks can operate in France at radiation levels of 20 mWsqm, and in Australia between 90mWsqm and 150 mW sqm, why not in India?“ Acellular operator said there was “no conclusive evidence that EMF radiation, at the le vels prescribed by the ICNIRP (a global scientific organisation for radiation protection) causes any risk to the health and well-being of individuals“.

A few months ago, citizenactivists petitioned the telecom ministry demanding that there should be no increase in radiation levels of cell tower antennae in Mumbai as “this could harm the health of those living in the vicinity“.

Activists say 4G can be provided at low frequency and with a wider bandwidth, using multiple “low-power“ transmitters.

IIT Prof Girish Kumar said that based on presentations made to the government in 2010 and 2011, the EMF radiation norms were lowered to 10%.“The norms should be further reduced. The only solution is to provide 4G at low frequency –it can be launched in 700-800 MHz with a wider bandwidth.Also, cellular operators should install more low-power transmitters which will ensure there is no health hazard,“ he said.

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