In These New Times

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Radiation fears make schools uproot cell phone towers

Posted by seumasach on September 29, 2012

After giving sleepless nights to housing societies’ residents, mobile phone towers are now worrying schools. Concerned about exposing students to “hazardous radiation”, city schools are supporting citizen movements against these towers.

While schools are coaxing neighbouring societies to remove the towers, Swami Vivekananda International School in Kandivli and Gorai has already removed the towers from their premises. The decision was taken by the school’s director Yogesh Patel.

“I began suffering from migraines and, gradually, memory loss. If the radiation had such a powerful effect on me, I can’t imagine the damage on children. So we decided to remove the towers from the school building,” he said.

Rohan Bhat, chairperson of the Children’s Academy Group of Institutions, said, “Though we have been approached by service providers, we have not allowed mobile phone towers on our school premises. There are no conclusive studies on the ill effects of such towers, but we don’t want to put the children at risk.”

Last month, Activity High School, Peddar Road, joined the citizen’s movement against installation of towers on South Mumbai buildings. Over 300 students, supported by their teachers, launched a signature campaign asking the state to regulate the number of towers in the area. Principal Perin Bagli even measured the EMF radiation level in the nearby lanes. Almost all the lanes around Peddar Road, Carmichael Road and Malabar Hill showed “dangerously high” levels.

Bagli said, “There are close to 10 mobile communication towers atop buildings around our school. Many of these can even be seen from our classrooms, putting students in direct line of radiation.”

She added that in awareness sessions by IIT experts, parents were told about dangers of such towers. “They can cause short-term problems, such as fatigue and headaches, and long-term ones, such as cancer, tumours and congenital deformities,” she said.

Rekha Vijaykar, director of Guru Harikrishan High School, Santa Cruz, on the other hand, had a different take on this. “Mobile phone tower isn’t the only carcinogen. Even exposure to microwaves, sunlight, coffee is carcinogenic. There are many myths surrounding such towers. A certified one is not a danger to students.”

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