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Birds leaving high-radiation areas: Study

Birds are abandoning areas having high radiation levels in Solan district and the
disappearance of birds is indicative of the presence of high radiation in urban areas.
A study conducted by the Department of Electronic and Communications (DEC) of
Waknaghat-based Bahra University in Solan district has revealed these startling facts
wherein the radiation level has been found to be as high as 100 times more than the
prescribed safe limits.
The cell tower transmits in the frequency range of 869 - 894 MHz (CDMA), 935 - 960 MHz
(GSM900) and 1805 1880 MHz (GSM1800). Also, 3G has been deployed in a few
cities,whose tower transmits in the frequency range of 2110 2170 MHz.
Ratish Dhiman, Asst. Professor and Head, Department of Electronics and Communication,
Bahra University, sharing his findings, said a research team of his department noticed that
the bird population had decreased considerably in areas where Global System for Mobile
(GSM) base station antennas were installed in the district. This prompted them to enquire
into this phenomenon.
Ever wondered where the house sparrows have vanished? Blame it on electromagnetic
radiation (EMR) from mobile communication towers.
During the study, it was found at several points and streets that had high electromagnetic
contamination, that the birds had disappeared. It was also found that at certain points, the
birds left areas contaminated by electromagnetic radiations gradually. The population of
birds, like house sparrows, showed an increase in low-contamination areas as they migrated
from the areas having high electromagnetic contamination, confided Ratish Kumar.
Researchers explained that the electromagnetic radiations from mobile towers consisted of
particles. The more energy the particles of radiations transmitted to living cells, the more
they could affect them. Birds are known to be sensitive to magnetic radiation as microwaves
can interfere with their sensors and misguide them while navigating and finding food.
Their behaviour can provide us a clear indication to the amount of harmful electromagnetic
radiations in human habitations, he said.
Terming it as a significant observation, Vice-Chancellor of the Bahra University, SK Bansal
said they had applied for the project to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to
evolve technologies to protect the lives of birds in the wake of increased use of technology.
The infrastructure for the project would be provided by the university and it would involve
two research fellows and three faculty members.

The researchers would work on suggesting modifications in designs of antennas and mobile
towers so that their impact on lives of bird populations could be mitigated. As against the
daily two-hour radiation exposure which was considerably less damaging, these antennas
transmitted radiation for 24 hours.