India: Telecomindustrie wringt haar handen met kankerclusters rond zendmasten.
zaterdag, 01 augustus 2009 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal
Bron: India Daily News and Analysis 31 juli 2009
Telcos wring hands as cancer bogey brings down signal towers
Auteur: K V Ramana
Hyderabad: Jagannatham, an owner of a double-storied house in Borabanda locality in Hyderabad, was excited that a mobile service provider chose his property to erect a cell tower on the roof top for Rs 15,000 per month.
But his excitement was short-lived. His neighbours started blaming the cell tower's radiation for one of the residents in the locality testing positive for cancer and other skin diseases in the area.
With Jagannatham not yielding to their request to remove the cell tower, the residents staged a protest in front of his house and then approached the civic body for action.
With the issue getting out of their hands, the authorities asked the mobile company to remove the tower and the residents celebrated as it was being dismantled.
Call it a myth or a yet-to-be-proved fact, residents of several localities in Hyderabad and other towns like Vijayawada see the cell towers as a main reason for primarily causing cancer and dermatology related ailments.
With discontent about cell towers growing, the mobile operators are a worried lot.
''There are definite concerns about the radiation from the cell towers. In fact, we have failed in explaining to the general public about the radiation that comes out of these towers. But whatever is being feared about the cell towers is completely unfounded,'' T V Ramachandran, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said.
''We have also done some studies on the issue. Concerns about safety apart, there are others angles to the story, including a commercial one. Some companies are selling anti-radiation shields for mobile users. Some of them are spreading rumours about hazards. There is a jealousy angle too. While one property owner is earning that extra money in the form of rentals from the mobile company, his neighbour is spreading the rumour. Anyway, there was a need for us (the COAI) to step in. We realised that we are late,'' he said.
The operators are grouping up to start a major campaign for explaining the safety features of mobile telephony.
''If we can't set up towers at more locations, we can't expand our customer base. If we get more customers without having sufficient towers, there are bound to be complaints about call dropping due to network congestion. It is a tricky situation for us now and we hope our efforts to educate the general public will fetch some results,'' a chief operating officer of a mobile service provider said without willing to be quoted.
A cell tower typically covers a radius of about 500 meters to 1 km. The towers tend to emit electro magnetic field (EMF) radiation and the operators, too, vouch for that. But the radiation in the case of cell towers is said to be non-ionising contrary to the ionising spectrum of x-rays or gamma rays.
''The non-ionising spectrum is low in energy. It is not dangerous like x-rays or gamma rays, which need to be handled by a human being fully covered in a protective gear,'' Ramachandran said.
While an electricity line emits about 10 Hz to 1 KHz radiation, an FM radio would have a radiation of about 10 MHz. A mobile phone would have 1 GHz radiation.
''The output power of mobile is less than 1 watt and it would be in the range of 0.2 to 0.6. This is actually less than the power of a microwave or even a radio. This power does not have sufficient energy to break the genetic code of a human being,'' he said.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is worried about the growing concerns about the safety in using a mobile phone or having a cell tower on the roof top. ''There are concerns. But, the concerns are not new. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) started working on EMF in 1996. There are guidelines of the International Commission for Non-ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) limiting the exposure to the time varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic field up to 300 GHz. In fact, the non-ionising radiation heats up the flesh but does not cause any damage. That is the reason, you can feel the heat while using a mobile phone. But that radiation is harmless,'' U K Srivastava, a senior functionary of the Telecom Engineering Centre, the technical arm of the DoT, said.
Meanwhile, the protests are not stopping with Jagannatham's locality. At least a dozen cell towers had to be dismantled by the mobile service providers in various Hyderabad localities.
For now, the operators are happy that the concerns are still regional. But protest of residents is blocking the operators from increasing the quality of the talk-time they offer.
Towers tend to emit electro magnetic field radiation and the operators, too, vouch for that.
But the radiation in the case of cell towers is said to be non-ionising contrary to the ionising spectrum of x-rays or gamma rays.
The protest from the residents is blocking the operators from increasing the quality of the talk-time.
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