Cell Tower Radiation: Experts for capping, monitoring
Radiation from a carrier's cell tower was found over the limit set by a World Health Organisation guideline, an expert committee said in a report submitted to the High Court yesterday.
The committee recommended directing Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to take steps to reduce the excessive radiation from the Base Transceiver Stations [mobile towers] set up by the six mobile phone operators across the country.
It recommended asking the BTRC to monitor the radiation of all cell towers on a regular basis and instructing the ministry of post and telecommunication and the BTRC to formulate a policy or guideline for controlling the radiation.
According to the WHO, excessive radiation from cell towers harms public health and the environment.
Prof Shafiqul Islam, chairman of the department of nuclear engineering in Dhaka University, said, “Long term exposure to radiation can cause rash, itching, bloodshot eyes, loss of sight and even loss of limbs.”
The expert committee formed by the health ministry in 2013 prepared the report after testing a number of cell towers in Dhaka city, Deputy Attorney General Kazi Zinat Hoque told reporters citing the report.
The health ministry placed the report to the HC through Zinat as per an earlier order.
The six members of the expert committee were: Foyez Ahmed, joint secretary to the ministry of forest and environment, Prof Quazi Deen Mohammad, former principal of Dhaka Medical College, Prof Pran Kanai Saha, head of electric engineering department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Prof Md Adnan Kibar, head of applied physics department of Dhaka University, Col Md Zakir Hossain, director general (engineering and operation) of the BTRC, and Md Mahbubur Rahman, professor of radiology of Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
After going through the report yesterday, the HC bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Salim fixed March 28 for passing an order on the issue.
Following a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, the HC on October, 2012, ordered the government to examine, by forming an expert committee, the radiation emitted from mobile-phone towers, its impact on health and environment and submit a report.
The court also issued a rule upon the officials concerned of the government to explain why they should not be directed to stop radiation from cell towers.
During the hearing on the rule yesterday, petitioner's counsel Manzill Murshid prayed to the HC to direct the government to get a report from the WHO on the radiation emitted by mobile towers in Bangladesh and to submit it to the HC.
The HC will pass an order on his prayer on March 28, Manzill told The Daily Star.
“A couple of years ago we started a process with the international telecommunication union to measure the radiation emitted by a tower of a mobile phone operator, but we are yet to get any findings,” said BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.
According to telecom operators, there are around 34,000 cell towers across the country, of which market leader Grameenphone has 12,000.
Merged entity Robi and Airtel has another 12,000 towers, while Banglalink has about 7,000 and state-owned Teletalk 3,800.