3 Oct 2008, 0507 hrs IST,TNN
CHENNAI: Set a bird song as your mobile ringtone. For that may soon be the only way you get to hear from our winged friends —studies show that the increasing number of cell phone towers in cities is bringing down bird population.
While studies in Spain and Belgium have established the ill-effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by cell phone masts on birds, a study to be published next month by a team in Panjab University has found that EMR can damage bird eggs and embryos. The study, conducted in Chandigarh, is applicable to all Indian cities where cell phone masts are proliferating. Chennai has 4,000 cell phone towers, compared to about 200 in Chandigarh.
Researchers at the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, say there are enough reasons to attribute bird mortality to such radiation. “Cell phones and towers emit a very low frequency of 900 or 1,800 MHz, called microwaves. Studies have found that they can cause thin skulls of chicks and thin egg shells,” says Dhanya R, a researcher at SACON.