Panel to study tower effect on birds & bees
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, Sept. 1: The environment and forests ministry has set up a panel of experts to assess the possible impact of mobile phone towers on birds and bees amid indications from studies that electromagnetic radiation from towers may be affecting their populations.
The 10-member panel of wildlife biologists and environment experts will be chaired by ornithologist and Bombay Natural History Society director Asad Rahmani, the ministry announced today.
The panel will be expected to review all studies from India and other countries on the adverse effects of mobile phone towers on animals, birds, and insects, and assess the likely impact of the rise in the number of such towers, the ministry said.
A study in Spain three years ago appeared to link a decline in the population of sparrows with electromagnetic radiation from phone towers. Scientists who had counted sparrows found that the density of birds was relatively low in areas with high electromagnetic field strengths.
“Anecdotal accounts indicate that fewer sparrows are visible in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai now than about a decade ago,” said Mohammed Dilawar, a zoologist and founder of Nature Forever, a non-government organisation in Nashik, studying sparrows.
“But it’s still not clear how much different factors may be contributing to this population decline,” Dilawar said. “New construction and urban landscapes may be leading to a loss of traditional nesting sites and food scarcity,” he said.
Earlier this year, a study by zoologists at Panjab University had indicated that honeybees exposed to electromagnetic radiation from cellphones lose the ability to return to their hives and queen bees produce a lower number of eggs.
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