Mobile phone: The lean mean killer machine
The report further said that number of mobile phone subscriptions amounts to over 6 billion, while 5 billion out of total count come from developing markets showing that people of developing countries are using mobile phone devices for other purposes than basic calling, texting and for communication too.
Developing world, which includes Pakistan, has more mobile phone users than the developed world.
The number of subscriptions, World Bank noted, had increased by 5 billion over the last 12 years since 2000 when we had fewer than 1 billion mobile subscriptions. It also said that in 2011 alone, around 30 billion applications were downloaded worldwide.
World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte said, “Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human and economic development - from providing basic access to health information to making cash payments, spurring job creation, and stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes. The challenge now is to enable people, businesses, and governments in developing countries to develop their own locally-relevant mobile applications so they can take full advantage of these opportunities.”
Even he did not care to point to the health hazards. In Pakistan, mobile phone subscribers are counted as over 120 million showing that people are getting more and more involved in the `mobile revolution’.
However, according to a report by the Mail Online, mobile phones could be a ‘health time bomb’, say experts who have been urging governments to warn the public. More than 200 academic studies link use of the devices with serious health conditions such as brain tumours, according to a group of leading scientists. The experts also said that the governments underplay the potentially ‘enormous’ health risks – especially for children, whose smaller, thinner skulls are more susceptible to radiation. Their report stated that “Both the government and phone companies could very easily do far more to alert the public, particularly children, to the emerging risks and safety measures.’
It accuses officials of ‘downplaying uncertainty’ over safety, adding “This was the kind of wishful thinking that cost lives with tobacco and asbestos.”
A 2008 Swedish study suggested children who use mobile phones are five times more likely to develop brain cancer. Other peer-reviewed studies have found inconclusive links to low sperm counts, behavioural problems in children whose mothers used them during pregnancy, and damage to brain cells.
Last year a landmark IARC study, known as Interphone, disclosed that making calls for more than half an hour a day over 10 years could increase users’ risk of developing gliomas - a type of tumor that starts in the brain or spine - by 40 per cent.
Over the past eight days, a working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries reviewed the Interphone data and other studies, including a Swedish report that also found evidence of increased brain tumour risk among mobile users.