The High Court today directed Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to submit a report in four months on the impact of radiation from mobile-phone towers on people and environment.
The bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir came up with the directive following a seven-year-old writ petition that sought its directive on the government to stop radiation from mobile-phone towers.
The bench also said further directives will be given in this regard after the report is submitted, said petitioners’ counsel Advocate Manzill Murshid.
Rights organisation Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) filed the petition as public-interest-litigation with the HC on October 29, 2012 following a report broadcast by Ekushey Television on October 18 that year which said equipment in mobile-phone towers emit radiation that is harmful to the human body.
In response to the petition, the HC on October 30, 2012 ordered the government to examine the level of emission from mobile-phone towers, assess its effect on health and environment, and submit two separate reports to it.
It also issued a rule upon the government officials concerned to explain why they should not be directed to stop radiation emission from mobile-phone towers set up across the country.
During a hearing on the petition, the health ministry submitted an expert committee’s report to the HC on March 22, 2017 saying that radiation from a carrier’s cell tower was found over the limit set by a World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline.
According to the WHO, excessive radiation from cell towers harms public health and damages the environment.
The expert committee recommended that the BTRC 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.
There are reportedly 35,000 telecom towers in Bangladesh and all of them are run by mobile phone operators.
On April 5, the HC bench fixed today to deliver its order after concluding hearing arguments on the petition on March 10.