The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has decided to procure radiation measurement equipment to measure impact of electromagnetic field created by the base transceiver stations widely known as mobile phone towers on public health and environment.
A recent commission meeting presided over by BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood took the decision to get the tools in line with a recent High Court directive that asked the telecom regulator to take preventive measures if any harmful radiation from the mobile towers is found.
As on June 30, 2016, there were 69,009 BTSs in operation in the country.
A senior BTRC official told New Age that as per the decision, the commission would purchase two radiation measurement tools to measure the radiation emitted through the BTSs of the country’s mobile phone operators.
The tools will allow the BTRC to know whether the radiation the BTSs of the operators are emitting is creating any sort of health risk for people, he said.
These will also let the commission know whether the radiation is putting any adverse impact on environment, the BTRC official said.
The tools’ findings would also allow the commission to take regulatory measures in future, he added.
Purchasing of two radiation measurement tools along with two cars for their transportation across the country would cost around Tk 3.40 crore.
As per a BTRC estimation, two tools would cost Tk 1.50 crore, vehicles for their transportation across the county Tk 1 crore and the rest Tk 0.90 crore would be required for paying customs tax.
The High Court in its order also asked the BTRC to formulate guidelines on the use of towers by mobile phone companies.
Following the court order the telecom regulator initiated a move to formulate guidelines in this regard.
According to BTRC officials, a number of international organisations including World Health Organisation, International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection and International Telecommunication Union have already taken a number of initiatives keeping in mind the negative impacts of radiation emitted through mobile phone towers.
In 2012, the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed a petition with the High Court over the radiation level of mobile phone towers.
It also sought a directive to determine through the WHO associated health risks.
The High Court later asked the authorities concerned to look into the radiation level, health risks and environmental impacts caused by the radiation.
Following the court order, an expert committee formed by the health ministry prepared a report after examining radiation from some mobile towers in the Dhaka city.
According to the report, the radiation emitted by a tower of a mobile operator in Bangladesh was found harmful to public health.
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