Published: Monday 15 August 2005

Are mobiles harming us?

No one has researched thoroughly the implications of cellphone use and its transmission technology, yet one of the largest experiments ever is being carried out on the human biological system ('Radiation Talk', Down To Earth, May 15, 2005). As the cellphone industry is a powerful lobby, it can fund research to claim whatever it wants.

Also, most of the research is being conducted in the West, since awareness of the disadvantages of the "comforts" of modern technologies has already taken root there. Whereas in India, with some exceptions like the Mumbai case, general awareness on this issue is virtually non-existent.

Perhaps Down To Earth could start up a public debate on electromagnetic fields (emfs) or Gobar Times could explain in simple terms the effects of electricity, to create awareness among the younger generation on the long-term effects of today's electronic age.

It's high time Indians and Indian laws woke up to the fact that emfs are invading almost every area of our lives. These risks need to be minimised both at the collective (planning) level and in individual spheres.

Auroville, Tamilnadu

With the large-scale growth of cellular services in India, there has been a massive surge in electromagnetic and electrical energy in the environment. Such a spurt in radiation, in addition to the usual effects of power transmission, can cause several health hazards.

As the mobile phone industry is under constant expansion, with plans to intrude further into rural areas, this will definitely affect the underprivileged, already under constant survival threat. For the sake of huge business gains to a few, this menace of cell multiplication is threatening the lives of a large majority.

B Gautam


In the last three years, residents here -- in Jamaalpur Maan in Bijnore district, Uttar Pradesh -- have seen several textile industries being set up. Effluent from these industries is now dumped directly into secret borewells.

Will water quality in our area deteriorate because of this? How much time it will take? What measures can we suggest to these industries to prevent all this from happening?

Bijnore, Uttar Pradesh

Renewable solutions

It's incorrect to interpolate carbon dioxide release to coal use ('Crude Shock', Down To Earth, July 15, 2005). Better technologies have raised the efficiency of coal in power production from 29 per cent in the 1970's to 65 per cent in the 1990's. In India, around 78 per cent of energy produced is from coal.

By 2025, renewable energy will be more than nuclear energy. Yet, the Indian government is patronising the powerful nuclear lobby with huge subsidies. Worldwide as well, the highly hazardous, potentially polluting nuclear energy is promoted, while the producers of hazard-free, pollution-free renewables are burdened with exorbitant wheeling and networking charges, that make the sector unviable.

Agricultural meteorologist

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