Exposed to Radiation

Posted on 2008-10-10
USE of mobile phones has escalated during the past decade and to many they are now an essential part of business, commerce and society. This extensive use of mobile has also brought along with it a lingering perception about possible adverse effects on human health. It basically revolves around the element of emission of radio frequency (RF) radiation from the phones and from the mobile towers that receive and transmit the signals. In Goa too at many places the people have vehementally opposed the erection of towers on the plea that it would endanger their health. In some cases the mobile companies have to retreat. This is the primary reason that the expansion of the base for mobile business in Goa is getting delayed.
If the mobile companies are to be believed, by 2010 India will have around 500 million people completely dependent on mobiles for their survival, a two-fold increase from the present 250 million subscribers. With this the number of mobile towers will also go up to 350,000. Obviously the fear of the people, with so many towers around them, of getting infected with cancer and other deadly diseases is not unfounded. It is really surprising that the mobile companies have not bothered to inform the people about any possible ill effect of putting up such a tower. Each and every person has the right to life and hence he ought to know what is right and what is wrong for him.
If modern technology helps people usher in a new era of development, it also has some in-built deficiencies, which affect the lives of the people. It is the prime responsibility of the state as well as the development agencies to dispel such notions. At a time when the opposition to mobile towers is becoming acute due to its vulnerability to public health, the director of Tata Memorial Centre and Advance Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Dr K A Dinshaw has some nice words. According to her the people’s perception that mobile towers were a cause of cancer was still very speculative and that it has not been established yet.
Though the scientists were still looking into the matter of radiation effect from the mobile towers, she however identified population increase, increase in life expectancy, life style, consumption of tobacco, infection from newer viruses, alcoholism, poor diet and malnutrition as the major causes for spread of cancer. This is enough to clear the wrong notion people nurse about mobile towers.
It is a dichotomy that while people oppose mobile towers, at the same time they expect better services and network coverage. In the background of wide public protest the Central government has constituted a panel to study the problem and suggest the remedial measures, as to how to ensure that the health of the people is safe and secure. But one thing is certain that people have to do away with the negative approach to the development projects. Ironically in most of the cases the edifice of the protest has been built on the foundation of suspicion and wrong notions. Certainly this would not augur well either for Goa or for the people of the state.