The Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) Kerala LSA (Field Unit of DoT, Ministry of Communications, Government of India) organised an “Awareness Workshop on EMF Radiation” in the city, on 28 September 2021. The session was organised as part of an ongoing public advocacy programme to dispel myths around EMF radiation and address unfounded fears of citizens by presenting credible scientific evidence.
Dr P.T. Mathew, Sr. DDG, DoT, Kerala LSA in his keynote address highlighted that the frequency of the electromagnetic signal used in mobile communications is in the harmless non-ionising spectrum, much like the television and radio signals. Studies have been conducted by World Health Organisation and other scientific bodies and to date, no conclusive evidence has been found to indicate harmful effects of tower radiation. Shri S. Gopalan, Sr. DDG (Compliance) in his address stated that the Government of India has adopted very stringent norms by allowing just 1/10th of tower radiation as compared to international standards. India has adopted 0.45 W/m2 compared to 4.5W/m2 stipulated by ICNIRP as the maximum permissible radiation limits. These norms have been arrived at after extensive study by a team of experts from IIT, AIIMS, ICMR and DoT etc. Therefore, there is no harm at all in installing telecom towers in residential areas and in the vicinity of schools, hospitals and places of worship etc.
Before installation of new telecom towers, telecom service providers have to submit details of proposed upcoming radiation from the new tower to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in Kerala. DoT Kerala examines the details and only when proposed radiation is within the prescribed limits, acknowledgement certificates are issued. After this, local bodies issue building permit certificates for tower installation. Apart from this, the mechanism of District Telecom Committees has also been created to resolve and remove misconceptions regarding tower radiations.
He further told that the DoT has also uploaded detailed information on this matter on its website www.dot.gov.in. All telecom service providers have to give periodic self-certificates regarding radiation from their towers to DoT. DoT field offices have been mandated to audit 10 per cent of BTS every year. As part of this, DoT Kerala has until August 31, 2021, tested 46,293 BTS and found that all towers are within the permitted radiation levels. There are 90,292 BTS working in Kerala LSA. Apart from this, DoT has created a portal wherein there is a provision for the General Public to see the radiation level of towers in their vicinity. They can also request for measurement of radiation levels of a site by DoT on payment of a prescribed fee.
Commenting on the development, Dr Suresh Attili, medical oncologist, Continental Hospital, Hyderabad said, “After extensive scientific research, it has been concluded that there is no connection between mobile tower radiation and human health. Even countries, where the norms are 10 times less strict than India, have not reported any adverse impact on human health from mobile tower radiation. Following extensive investigations, the WHO has concluded that there is no risk to human health from mobile tower radiation.”
During the Q&A session, answering the queries of participants, the speakers clarified that network connectivity is required for a connected future and a healthy infrastructure will support the advancement of many technologies, which in turn would enhance the way we all live and work. DoT and Telecom Operators are fully committed and equipped to ensure compliance with guidelines. These guidelines, which have been designed to safeguard the concerns of citizens on EMF exposure norms, are adhered to in order to safeguard our beloved citizens.
Considering the mobile expansion plan for the introduction of 5G, the number of towers in Kerala is to be increased from 19273 to 34000 within the next 2 years. Therefore, DoT Kerala requested co-operation among every stakeholder including the public to shed all misconceptions about mobile tower radiations and come forward to extend all possible support for faster rollout of telecom infrastructure to meet the unprecedented demand for telecom service.