In an advisory, the Ministry has said that there is an “urgent need” to refine the Indian standard on safe limits of exposure to electro-magnetic radiations (EMR).
Till it is reformed, “a precautionary approach shall be preferred to minimise the exposure levels and adopt stricter norms possible, without compromising on optimum performance of the networks,” it said.
It noted that the radiations could be be having varying negative impact on wildlife, particularly birds and bees.
Accordingly, it asked the DoT to ensure that new mobile towers are not constructed within one-km radius of the existing ones “so as not to obstruct flight path of birds, and also not to increase the combined radiations from all towers” in the area.
“To prevent overlapping of high radiation fields, new towers should not be permitted within a radius of one kilometre of the existing towers. Sharing of passive infrastructure if made mandatory for Telecom Service Providers can minimise need of having additional towers,” it said.
The Ministry asked the DoT that location and frequencies of cellphone towers and other towers emitting EMR, should be made available in public domain.
“This can be at city/district/village level. Location- wise GIS mapping of all cellphone towers should be maintained which would, inter alia, help in monitoring the population of birds and bees in and around the mobile towers and also in and/or around wildlife protection areas,” the advisory said.
The advisory has been issued on the basis of an expert committee study on the possible impacts of communication towers on wildlife and bees. The panel was constituted by the Environment Ministry in 2010.