KOCHI: A recent study has pointed out that electromagnetic radiation, which includes radiation from mobile phone towers, is alarmingly high in certain areas of Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
In Kochi, Kaloor, Vyttila, Kakkanad, Palarivattom and Edappally have the highest levels of radiation pollution. In Thiruvananthapuram, Perurkkada, Statue Junction and Babuji Nagar tops the pollution list.
The study was conducted under the aegis of the Swadeshi Science Movement, led by Cusat professor V P N Nampoori. It recommended that no more rooftop cell phone towers be installed in both the cities.
“A cell phone has a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). SAR-1 means that one watt of radiation from the hand set is absorbed by 1.5 kg of brain in six minutes. The safety limit stipulated by the International Commission for Non-ionising Radiation Protection (ICNRP) is less than 92 lakh micro-watts, and India has stipulated the limit as 45 lakh micro-watts,” he said.
The team further categorised the radiation levels in each area into three groups - less than 30 dBm (Decibel-milliwatts); 15-30 dBm; and more than 15 dBm. The first category has been given the colour code of green, and is considered safe. The second group has been coded with yellow to suggest caution, while the third category has been given the colour code of red, meaning danger.
“Almost 90 per cent of Kochi is showing yellow, suggesting that the residents have to be cautious. Certain important areas are even showing red, indicating danger level,” said the professor. The study team, which included G Bindu, Vijesh and Hrudya Kurup, also conducted public meetings in Kochi and Thiruvananthapurm, where residents reported discomforts due to the effects of radiation.
In view of the dangers posed by electromagnetic radiation on the human body, the study also suggested some remedial measures, including use of proper shielding materials and antennas with reduced SAR; restricting availability of handsets to those with SAR values less than 1.6; not allowing mobile towers within 400 metres of schools, residential areas and hospitals.