‘Cell tower radiation killing birds, bees’ MoEF Panel Wants It Classified As Pollutant
Himanshu Kaushik TNN
Ahmedabad: An environment and forests’ ministry study has blamed electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from communication towers for the declining numbers of sparrows and bees. The study titled ‘A possible impact of communication tower on wildlife birds and bees’ said the radiation decreases egg production in the bees. A 10-member expert panel headed by Bombay Natural History Society director Dr Asad Rahmani was asked to study the radiation impact after the issue was raised in the Lok Sabha in August last year. “We have suggested that EMR should be recognized as a pollutant given its effect on wildlife and should be audited regularly,” said the Wildlife Institute of India’s Dr B C Choudhary, who was part of the panel The experts noted a Punjab University study that said embryos of 50 eggs of house sparrows were damaged after being exposed to mobile tower radiation for five to 30 minutes.
Sparrows exposed to the radiation suffered from reproductive and coordination problems. They also became aggressive. In the case of honey bees, the group observed that high radiation resulted in an unusual phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder characterized by sudden disappearance of a hive’s inhabitants, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers behind. The vanished bees were never found. Also, the navigational skills of the bees were affected by high-tension lines. The panel also took note of a recent study that showed that the worker bees stopped coming to the hives after 10 days and egg production in queen bees dropped drastically to 100 eggs per day compared to 350 eggs when a mobile phone with frequency of 900 MHz was kept for 10 Minutes in the beehives. It recommended a law to protect urban flora and fauna from EMR and said no new towers should come up within 1km radius of the existing ones. “New towers should be more than 80 feet and less than 199 feet tall,’’ it said and recommended independent monitoring of the EMR levels.
“Forest department should be consulted before installing towers near protected areas and zoos.”
‘Cell tower radiation killing birds, bees’