The Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT), Gujarat License Service Area (LSA) organised a webinar and awareness program on “Electromagnetic Exposure from Telecom Towers and Related Public Concerns”. The session was organised as a part of DoT’s public advocacy program to make the citizens aware about the growing need for mobile towers to build reliable telecom infrastructure and to break myths regarding the health effects of radiation from mobile towers. The webinar was attended by more than 150 participants comprising Gujarat State and UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu government officials, Gujarat state police, officials of the various district administration and municipal corporations, faculty telecom and internet service providers, infrastructure providers and faculty and students of many colleges.

The webinar was addressed by Gunjan Dave, Sr. DDG, DoT, Gujarat LSA and Ajatshatru Somani, DDG, DoT, Gujarat LSA. A brief presentation on various aspects of EMF and steps taken by DoT was taken by Ajatshatru Somani, DDG, DoT, Gujarat LSA. Various health related queries and myth about harmful effect of EMF radiations from mobile towers was also clarified by medical expert, by Dr. Arun Chougule, senior professor and HoD of Radiological Physics, SMS Medical College and Hospitals, Jaipur.

Addressing the event, Dave mentioned that with the increase in the numbers of mobile users there is also a need to increase the number of mobile towers to cater seamless mobile connectivity to all. If we compare the era of evolving GSM technology to the current scenario of 4G mobile network, now every single mobile user is enjoying improved telecommunication services which includes e-learning through various online platform, attending classes/ offices from home, over-the-top (OTT) services, using mobile phones for various payments and bookings. Speaking about the standards defined by government of India regarding mobile tower emissions, it was informed that India is one of the few countries worldwide with the most stringent emission standards for mobile towers.

Meanwhile, Somani added that the norms mandated by the DoT is 1/10th of the norms mandated by international regulatory bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).  ICNIRP guidelines are regarded as the most credible and are followed by the 95 per cent countries across the world. Various judgements of High Courts of India on the issues of radiation from mobile tower says that there is no conclusive data to show that radiation from mobile tower is in any way harmful or hazardous to the health of citizens.

Also, Dr. Chougule shared his perspective and cleared misconceptions associated with mobile tower radiations. Despite extensive scientific investigation, no link between mobile tower radiation and human health has been discovered. Cell towers generate extremely low-powered non-ionizing radiation that has no detrimental health effects on humans or animals. Following investigations, the WHO has concluded that there is no risk to human health from mobile tower radiation.

In 2021-22 till date, 4365 mobile base transceiver stations (BTS) have been tested in Gujarat LSA and all sites have been found EMF compliant as per DoT norms. All the information on mobile tower radiation is available to the public on DoT’s website where any citizen can also request for testing of any mobile tower in their vicinity by paying a nominal fee.