Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT’s) Mumbai License Service Area (LSA) organised an awareness webinar on “EMF Emissions and Telecom Towers”. This session was organised to make the consumers aware about the growing need for mobile towers as part to build reliable telecom infrastructure and breaks myths regarding the health effects of EMF exposure from mobile towers.

The webinar workshop was addressed by the eminent key speakers including Sivakamy Rajagopalan, DDG(Administration), O/o Sr DDG, Mumbai LSA; Ashwani Salwan, Sr. DDG, DoT, Mumbai LSA; Haushila Prasad, DDG (Compliance); M. K. Jain, Director (compliance) and Dr Vivek Tandon, Senior Assistant professor of Neurosurgery, AIIMS. The workshop had more than 100 participants including general public, government officials, residents’ welfare associations, students, doctors, telecom service providers, infrastructure providers and other officials.

Commenting on the event, Salwan said, “For socio-economic progress, the telecom industry forms the bedrock by providing a robust network of mobile towers to boost connectivity. He further mentioned that there is no risk to health from mobile tower radiation as the EMF radiation norms for India are 10 times stricter than the limits prescribed by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and are in adherence to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Extensive research on EMF signals has not been able to establish any injurious effects on human health from mobile tower radiation.”

Meanwhile, Haushila Prasad gave the overview of the webinar and conveyed the statistics of Mumbai LSA. He further added that World Health Organization (WHO) has referred to approximately 25,000 articles published around the world over past 30 years, and based on an in-depth review of scientific literature, the WHO has concluded that there is no risk to human health from mobile tower radiation.

Also, M. K. Jain said, “The government of India has defined some of the most stringent emission standards for mobile towers making India one of the few countries worldwide with the most stringent emission standards for mobile towers. We follow norms that are 10 times stricter than what has been prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO. DoT continuously monitors the EMF emission levels from towers across India and ensures compliance with emission norms across the country through its field. All telecom service providers are required to ensure the radiation from mobile towers (BTSs) is within prescribed safe limits. LSA also conducts physical audits of sites by selecting them randomly and testing the power of the available EMF signals at different probable locations near the site. There is a need to bust the myth around the health effects from Electromagnetic Field Radiation (EMR) exposure from diverse EMR sources especially Mobile BTS antennae and mobile phones. Therefore, one must rely on the scientific data that EMF radiation from mobile tower is safe.’’

Additionally, Dr Vivek Tandon said, “The EMF radiation emitted from mobile tower antenna and mobile handset is low non-ionizing RF/Electromagnetic energy. According to the Scientific research on the health impacts of radiation from Mobile Towers, it has been found that low powered, non-ionizing radiated emitted from the cell towers have no ill effects on human health, whatsoever. Therefore, it becomes extremely essential to address the spread of misinformation and provide an authentic view of health concerns related to mobile towers. It is also important to be informed that no scientific or medical evidence is available to corroborate the argument used against mobile towers.”

Misconceptions among a section of the state population around the health hazards of EMF radiations should not override the factual information made available to us through scientific research. Telecom towers are critical installations for the realising of the vision of inclusive growth. According to The Mobile Economy Report 2022 from the GSMA, 5G connections will surpass 1 billion in 2022 and 2 billion by 2025. By the end of 2027, 5G will represent around 39 per cent of mobile subscriptions in India, with an estimated 500 million subscriptions.

India holds the potential to lead the telecommunications technology sector across the globe therefore, more towers are required for the realisation of the vision of Gati-Shakti and Digital India’s vision of Govt. of India. EMF radiations from mobile towers are strictly monitored and assessed on a regular basis. Evidence from credible and extensive research has ruled out any possibility of health issues originating from EMF radiations. Moreover, eight High Courts of India have also upheld the same view and have delivered judgments that aim to disprove all such unfounded fears and misguided activism that is posing a severe challenge to the overall growth and connectivity of the country. Hence, public need to be assured that any fear around mobile towers lack any foundation

In 2021-22 till date, Mumbai LSA has tested 1493 BTSs from April 2021 to March 2022 and all BTSs have been found compliant as per DoT Norms on EMF radiation. 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.