Monday, October 24, 2011

Cell towers killing sparrows, bees, says MoEF study

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN | Oct 25, 2011, 03.51AM IST

AHMEDABAD: An environment and forests' ministry study has blamed 
electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from communication towers for the 
declining numbers of sparrows and bees. The study titled 'A possible 
impact of communication tower on wildlife birds and bees' said the 
radiation decreases egg production in the bees.

A 10-member expert panel headed by Bombay Natural History Society 
director Dr Asad Rahmani was asked to study the radiation impact after 
the issue was raised in the Lok Sabha in August last year. "We have 
suggested that EMR should be recognized as a pollutant given its effect 
on wildlife and should be audited regularly," said Wildlife Institute of 
India's Dr B C Choudhary, who was part of the panel.

The experts noted a Punjab University's study that said embryos of 50 
ggs of house sparrows were damaged after being exposed to mobile 
tower radiation for five to 30 minutes. Sparrows exposed to the 
radiation suffered from reproductive and co-ordination problems. 
They also became aggressive.

In the case of honey bees, the group observed that high radiation 
resulted in an unusual phenomenon known as 'colony collapse 
disorder' which is characterized by sudden disappearance of a hive's 
inhabitants, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers 
behind. The vanished bees were never found. Also, the navigational 
skills of the bees were affected by high-tension lines.

The panel also took note of a recent study that showed that the worker 
bees stopped coming to the hives after 10 days and egg production in 
queen bees dropped drastically to 100 eggs per day compared to 350 
eggs when a mobile phone with frequency of 900 MHz was kept for 
10 minutes in the beehives. 

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