Mobile phone radiation and the ever-growing challenge of progressing in the digital age By Nic Huntington

Since 2014, there has been a dynamic relationship developed by people using mobile phones in India. While the health impacts which surround mobile phone usage remain a debatable topic, the risk of radiation damage to the human body remains a talking point in India.

92% of the population of India are connected through mobile phones. This equates to almost 1.2 billion people actively using phones in the region. A number which sits slightly behind China as the second highest mobile phone usage in a country.

Mobile phone use in India spreads across all facets of life, including relaxed enforcement of laws surrounding mobile phone use in cars.

Literacy levels are a barrier to most Indians knowing about the risks associated with mobile phone use. However, there is a growing number of people rallying for better laws surrounding mobile phone towers placement.

"In the well-educated group of people, there is a concern about the radiation created. There is a lot of campaigns, a lot of suggestions ‘keep your mobile away from your head while you are sleeping', ‘don’t be on the mobile phone for long periods of time’ all which warn of cancer" said Devendra Sinh Rathore, tour guide, Jaipur City.

India currently has over 400,000 phone towers across the country, with the number expected to surpass 500,000 by 2020.

Protests against the phone towers began in 2014 following the death of 70-year-old resident of Faridabad. The victim was suffering from cancer for over a year, with media reporting the presence of mobile phone towers near his home had caused the cancer. Furthermore, local doctors claimed the presence of towers in the area was the cause of six deaths from cancer in 2014.

Alongside protests, in the past there have been numerous cases of citizens seeking legal action for sickness which they believed was caused by the placement of mobile phone towers. Many of these claims were found to be invalid, due to a lack of scientific support for claims mobile phone towers cause cancer.

The protests of 2014 sparked a push for regulation of mobile phone towers, resulting in government passing laws which prohibit the placement of phone towers near schools or hospitals. Furthermore, signs warning of the radiation from phone towers are now a staple of many roads in India.

While the laws which were passed were a step in the right direction, with no regulation on tower placement in residential areas, the increasing user base for mobile phones has locals worried.

“I don't want to live near a tower, they are building more towers, and with more customers, they are building more towers rather than increasing the radiation on one tower” said Devendra Sinh Rathore, tour guide, Jaipur City.

With the number of phone towers continuing to increase, as well as an expected fivefold increase in the rate of mobile phone users by 2021, only time will tell whether adequate care is being taken with placement of mobile phone towers in India.

Devendra Sinh Rathore, tour guide, Jaipur City further explains the current state of affairs surrounding mobile phone towers in India HERE

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