EMF- IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT

  • Recently, in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Communications stated that there is no impact on the Environment due to Electromagnetic Field levels in India.
  • Electromagnetic fields are a combination of invisible electric and magnetic fields of force.
  • Electric fields are created by differences in voltage: the higher the voltage, the stronger will be the resultant field.
  • Magnetic fields are created when electric current flows: the greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field.
  • Electromagnetic fields are present everywhere in our environment but are invisible to the human eye.
  • Electric fields are produced by the local build-up of electric charges in the atmosphere associated with thunderstorms.
  • Besides natural sources, the electromagnetic spectrum also includes fields generated by human-made sources: X-rays are employed to diagnose a broken limb after a sport accident.
  • The electricity that comes out of every power socket is associated with low frequency electromagnetic fields.
  • Various kinds of higher frequency radio waves are used to transmit information – whether via TV antennas, radio stations or mobile phone base stations.

Issues:

  • Numerous worldwide studies link EMFs to serious health problems such as leukemia, miscarriages, chronic fatigue, weakened immune system, forgetfulness, depression, nausea and loss of libido.
  • Radars are used for navigation, weather forecasting emit pulsed microwave signals, which are detrimental to health of flora and fauna present around these radars.
  • What are the Initiatives Taken by the Government to Curb EMF Emissions?
  • As per the Government, EMF emissions from Mobile towers are non-ionizing Radio frequencies having very minuscule power and are incapable of causing any adverse environmental impact.
  • The International EMF Project of the World Health Organisation (WHO) published an information sheet in 2005 on the effect of EMF emissions on animals, insects, vegetation, and aquatic life and has concluded that the exposure limits in the Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for the protection of human health are also protective of the environment.
  • The present norms for Electromagnetic Field (EMF) emissions from mobile towers in India are already ten times more stringent (even lower) than the safe limits prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO.
  • The government has put in place a well-structured process and mechanism for monitoring any violation so that Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) adhere to the prescribed norms including the submission of a self-certificate before the commercial start of the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) site.
  • The field units of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) regularly carry out the EMF audit of up to 10% of BTS Sites annually on a random basis.
  • DoT also imposes a financial penalty on TSPs whose BTSs are found to exceed the prescribed EMF emission limits.
  • In addition, if emission levels of such non-compliant BTSs are not brought within prescribed limits within 30 days, the same is liable to be shut down as per the prescribed procedure.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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