Reduction in EMF Emissions

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Source: The post is based on the articleReduction in EMF Emissionspublished in PIB on 5th August 2022.

What is the News?

The Minister of State for Communications has informed Rajya Sabha about the steps taken by the government to reduce Electromagnetic Field(EMF) Emissions.

What are Electromagnetic Field(EMF) Emissions?

Electromagnetic fields are a combination of invisible electric and magnetic fields of force.

Electromagnetic fields are present everywhere in the environment but are invisible to the human eye.

Natural Sources: Electric fields are produced by the local build-up of electric charges in the atmosphere associated with thunderstorms. The earth’s magnetic field causes a compass needle to orient in a North-South direction and is used by birds and fish for navigation.

Human-made sources: It includes medical equipment using static fields (e.g. MRI), electric appliances using low frequency electric and magnetic fields (50/60 Hz), and various wireless, telecommunications and broadcasting equipment using high radio frequency electromagnetic fields.

Impact: When properly used, electromagnetic fields greatly improve quality of life, health and well-being. However, above certain levels, these fields can be harmful to health and affect the human body in different ways depending on their frequency.

What are the steps taken by the Government to monitor Electromagnetic Field(EMF) Emissions?

EMF emissions from mobile towers: According to the Government, EMF emissions from Mobile towers are non-ionizing Radio frequencies having very minuscule power and are incapable of causing any adverse environmental impact.

Effect of EMF emissions on Animals: The International EMF Project of the WHO published an information sheet in 2005 on the effect of EMF emissions on animals, insects, vegetation, and aquatic life and has concluded that the exposure limits in the Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for the protection of human health are also protective of the environment.

Note: The present norms for Electromagnetic Field (EMF) emissions from mobile towers in India are already ten times more stringent (even lower) than the safe limits prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO.

Monitoring of EMF emissions: Government has put in place a well-structured process and mechanism for monitoring any violation so that Telecom Service Providers(TSPs) adhere to the prescribed norms including the submission of a self-certificate before the commercial start of the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) site.

– The field units of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) regularly carry out the EMF audit of up to 10% of BTS Sites annually on a random basis.DoT also imposes a financial penalty on TSPs whose BTSs are found to exceed the prescribed EMF emission limits.

– In addition, if emission levels of such non-compliant BTSs are not brought within prescribed limits within 30 days, the same is liable to be shut down as per the prescribed procedure.

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