Ever wondered where the house sparrows have vanished? Blame it on electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from mobile communication towers. A ministry of environment and forests expert committee says that the EMR is largely responsible for the bird's declining numbers.
The panel suggested recognizing EMR as a pollutant because of their possible effect on animals and birds.
The radiation has also hit honey bee numbers, the study 'A possible impact of communication tower on wildlife birds and bees', reveals. The waves decreased egg production in the bees.
Studies have shown a drop in the numbers of common house sparrows in Nagpur, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Ujjain and other cities due to an increase in use of mobile phones.
The committee recommended regular auditing of EMR levels and creating awareness regarding such a pollution. "The number of mobile users in India is expected to rise to one billion by 2013. Such a rise will multiply mobile towers which dot the country in a haphazard way," the committee headed by Asad Rahmani, director, Bombay Natural History Society, has said.
Environmentalists have been long maintaining a stand against such towers. The MoEF set up an expert committee, comprising Rahmani, Sainuddin Pattazhy, Prakriti Srivastava and others, to study possible impact of communication towers on wildlife including birds and bees.
The panel found that EMR being a newly recognized pollutant, not much research is available on the subject, making it difficult to do comparative studies. Most studies are on EMR affects on humans. Some studies have shown long-term impacts on health and environment reporting negative consequences on immunity, health, reproductive success, behaviour, communication and coordination in animals and birds.
The report corresponds with ornithologist Maruti Chitampalli's assertion about EMR affecting birds. Chitampalli, who is one of the first to voice concern on radiation, said, "We've been saying this for a long time. Radiations affect all kinds of birds. They affect sparrows in the cities and obstruct migratory birds in their flight."
Source: The Times of India - Read more