A day after the Supreme court ordered a BSNL mobile phone tower in Gwalior to shut down on the plea of a cancer patient, GSM Operators Association COAI today said there is no reason to panic as mobile towers emit low radiation and there are no scientific conclusive evidence to link mobile towers with human health hazards.
The development opens up the debate once again on the health issues of mobile phone towers in residential areas. And it also assumes importance since it is for the first time that a mobile tower (of an operator) has been ordered to be shut down on the grounds of electromagnetic radiation emanating from it which is believed to have caused caused cancer to the applicant.
However, COAI says there is yet to be any ground for drawing a definitive conclusion on the tower-cancer link.
“There are eight high courts which have found that the radiation emanating from mobile towers are not hazardous for human health. Government of India, in its affidavit has also amply provided evidence of the same stating clearly that it has one of the strictest norms across the world on EMF emission for mobile towers and it regularly checks and monitors mobile towers for emission and has strict and high penalties in case of any exceptions, violation. DoT submission also refers to over 20, 000 papers which conclusively proves to no scientific evidence which links mobile towers to any adverse impact on human health. As a precaution, DoT has already maintained emission limits at 1/10th of the recommended ICNIRP global standards for India making them one the strictest norms existing anywhere across the globe”, Rajen S Mathews, Director General of COAI said.
He said the industry appeals to the citizens and the public, to not panic and read the interim order in its entirety. There are four EMF related cases which have been clubbed together. The interim SC order relates to only one of them whereas cell towers included in the other cases were left untouched. The particular case deals with an interim order on one of the four cases. Further, the Honourable Supreme Court has also called on COAI to submit various reports and other relevant and connected documents. We believe that final order will take a comprehensive view of the matter after taking into consideration all the supplied material evidence.
A resident in Gwalior had moved the apex court last year, complaining that a BSNL mobile phone tower, which was installed on the roof of the house neighbouring the one he worked in, had exposed him to constant harmful electromagnetic radiation for the past 14 years.
In September 2012, the Department of Telecom had reduced the permissible radiation limits for tower firms to 10 times lower than recommended by World Health Organization. It had also asked the operators to maintain a certain distance from a building, depending on the number of antennae they want to install.
In October last year, DoT had submitted in front of the apex court that there was no proof that radiation from cell towers had adverse health effects.