It is a step in the right direction. If Bangalore-based NGO Surakshit Vatavaran says there should be a detailed study on hazards of cell phone radiation in the Indian context, it is not without a reason. They are strongly advocating that there should be no mobile towers in and around schools or hospitals. Vatavaran, through its e-petition posted on change.org, wants scientific steps to curb the growing menace of radiation.
A day later, Karnataka High Court lashed out at the Pollution Control Board and the government for noise levels going way beyond the permissible limits. The e-petition submitted by Vatavaran so far has received more than 700 signatures. Once the number crosses 50,000 mark, it will be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for further action, according to NGO authorities.
Says Mahalingam Balaji, technology expert of Vatavaran, “Similar to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), there should be a regulatory body to map the location details of existing and proposed mobile towers. It should include the number of antennas, power transmitted by the antenna etc.” According to the trust, the need of the hour is India-specific studies. As per their data, there are more than seven lakh mobile towers in the country.Vatavaran expects the regulatory body to have a mechanism to seek inputs from public and telecom operators. The trust also proposes that the regulatory body should have the powers to issue guidelines on setting up mobile towers.The idea for such an initiative popped up after WHO in 2011 report that classified radio frequency electro magnetic field as a possible human carcinogen, according to Subhasree V, managing trustee of the NGO. This report made them suggest the idea of an e-petition on the ill-effects of radiation emanating from mobile towers.Apart from a regulatory body, the trust wants thorough scientific studies to determine if there are any long-term health effects due to cell tower radiation. The immediate need is to create a national policy to avoid unscientific proliferation of towers, they say.
Balaji says even though they are targeting 50,000 signatures , they might go ahead with their plan once the number reaches 10,000.