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Study on Radiation Emitted from Mobile Towers yet to begin

Preparations were made by the telecom regulator to find out the risks to public health caused by radiation emitted by mobile phone towers by September, but the work did not begin.

It is believed that radiation emitted by mobile phone towers cause health risks or environmental damage.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) could not specify when the job would be done.

The acting chairman of the BTRC, Md Zahirul Haque, only said that it would be done soon. In July, BTRC senior assistant director (media and communication wing) Md Zakir Hossain Khan had said that if everything went all right, the radiation measurement would begin in September.

The work to set up radiation measurement tools had already begun, he had told The Independent on July 8.

The BTRC awarded the tender to an Indian company to purchase tools to assess risks of the radiation emitted by mobile towers in May this year. Fastech Telecommunication (India) Pvt Ltd supplied the equipment—including two monitoring vehicles—worth around Tk. 2.90 crore.

The initiative had been taken in response to a petition over such radiation filed by a rights body in 2012.

The High Court, in March last year, told the BTRC to take preventive measures, if necessary.

Following another High Court order, the health ministry later formed an experts committee that studied some Dhaka towers and found the radiation to be harmful to public health.

In December last year, the BTRC called an international tender to purchase radiation measurement equipment to assess public health risks.

According to the minutes of the 204th meeting of the commission, tools used in the telecommunications sector, especially in mobile phone towers and instruments used in high-frequency work, can generate electromagnetic fields. It is imperative to investigate whether these frequencies adversely affect humans and the environment.

The Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed a petition before the High Court in 2012 over the radiation level of towers.

On March 28, 2017, the HC directed the government to obtain expert opinion from three international organisations—the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)—regarding the public health risk caused by radiation from mobile phone towers.

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