Survey conducted in Sundarbans, Khulna and Jessore Sadar
Electromagnetic radiation from cell phone towers is under the danger level in Khulna, Jessore Sadar and the coastal areas of the Sundarbans, says a recent report by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
According to the BTRC's report, radiation levels in the aforementioned areas during the July-August period were below the 2.10w/m2 (watts per square metre) mark, specified as a safety threshold by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
In the survey, radiation safety standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) were also shown to have been maintained, said BTRC officials.
“We conducted the survey while keeping in mind safety and wellbeing of the environment and mobile phone users. As per our findings, the radiation level in the proposed areas was way below the danger level,” BTRC Senior Assistant Director Zakir Hossain Khan told Dhaka Tribune.
"Especially the much talked-about radiation exposure in the Sundarbans was only 0.0015w/m2 or, in other words, 0.07% of the set standard value of 2.10w/m2, which is the accepted level of radiation, the level below which there is no risk of harm to humans or the environment.
"So, according to our findings, the tower radiation exposure is not dangerous for the environment or for the ecosystem,” he added.
Radiation from cell phone towers was measured at 0.0038w/m2 (0.18% of 2.10w/m2) in the Jaymoni, Mangla and Bagherhat areas, according to the same BTRC report.
In Khulna Sadar, the BTRC conducted radiation tests in three places and found that the radiation level in the district's deputy commissioner's office was 19.56%, whereas in Khulan Medical College it was 2.12% and in Khulna University it was 1.15% of the 2.10w/m2 figure.
Earlier this year, in May, the telecom regulator conducted tests on 10 cell phone towers in the Mymensingh region and found radiation levels within the 0.5–0.7w/m2 margin.
The BTRC move to conduct tests to measure radiation from cell phone towers came following a directive from the High Court on April 25 this year.
The court told the state telecom regulator to submit a report on the impact of radiation from cell phone towers on humans and the environment within four months. The court also issued 11 directives to protect people, trees, and animals from harmful radiation effects.
Meanwhile, a stand-off between cell phone operators and tower companies over tower sharing agreements is holding back the construction of around 3,000 new cell phone towers across the country for over 10 months.
According to BTRC data, the four cell phone companies currently operating in Bangladesh are serving 16.26 crore active mobile subscribers with 28,000 towers and, of those active subscribers, a total of 9.24 crore people use mobile data.