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27 April 2019

Bangladesh: High Court Issues Directive to Cut Cell Phone Tower Radiation

The 11-point directive is posted at the end of this article.

HC issues directive to cut cell phone tower radiation
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka, theindependentbd.com, 26 April 2019

The High Court (HC) yesterday (Thursday) issued an 11-point directive to protect public health and environment from mobile phone tower radiation. An HC bench also directed the Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to submit a feasibility study report before it within four months, on the impact of radiation from mobile-phone towers on people and environment. In a final verdict on a seven-year-old writ petition, the HC bench, comprising Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir, came up with the directive.

The bench directed the authorities concerned not to install any mobile phone tower on rooftops of residences, schools, colleges, playing fields, populated areas and heritage areas. Those installed earlier in such areas should be removed.

The HC bench also directed the authorities concerned to take steps to reduce the radiation of mobile phone towers by 1 per cent out of 10 per cent.

It also directed the authorities concerned to take steps so that mobile operators do not cross the specific radiation limit.

It asked the authorities concerned to inform the HC whether there is any restriction on acquisition of land for installing mobile phone towers.

The bench directed the BTRC to form a monitoring cell on public health risk caused by radiation from mobile phone towers. It also asked the authorities concerned to replace all mobile phone towers with high radiation.

The HC bench also directed the BTRC to make the verification mandatory for installing mobile phone towers.

It also directed the authorities concerned to take steps for writing the SAR on the mobile phone.

The HC bench said that it would give further directives in this regard after the report is submitted by the authorities concerned in line with its orders.

Advocate Manzill Murshid, president of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), a human rights body, filed the writ petition seven years ago. It sought court directive to the government to stop radiation from mobile phone towers.

The HRPB filed the petition as a public-interest litigation before the HC on October 29, 2012, following a report broadcast by Ekushey Television on October 18 that year. The report said equipment in mobile-phone towers emit radiation that is harmful for the human body.

In response to the petition, the HC on October 30, 2012, ordered the government to examine the level of emission from mobile-phone towers, assess its effect on health and environment and submit two separate reports to it. It also issued a rule upon government officials concerned to explain why they should not be directed to stop radiation emission from mobile-phone towers set up across the country.

During a hearing on the petition, the health ministry submitted an experts committee report to the HC on March 22, 2017, saying radiation from a carrier’s cell tower was found to be above the limit set by a World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline.

According to WHO, excessive radiation from cell towers harms public health and damages the environment.

The experts’ committee recommended that the BTRC should take steps to reduce the excessive radiation from the base transceiver stations [mobile towers] set up by the six mobile phone operators across the country.

There are reportedly 35,000 telecom towers in Bangladesh and all of them are run by mobile phone operators.



1. The radiation level of the mobile phone tower must be reduced to 1 percent from the permissible level of 10 percent;
2. Remove the mobile phone towers installed on the rooftop of homes, schools, colleges, hospitals, clinics, jails , playgrounds, populated areas, heritage and archaeological sites and no more installations on those places;
3. Take security measures to control higher level of radiations;
4. Check whether there is any obstacle in acquiring land or take alternate measures in order to installation of towers;
5. Follow the radiation levels in line with the BTRC, International Telecommunication Union or ITU and International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC standards;
6. Replace over-radiated towers with new ones;
7. Hold the BTRC accountable for tower verification and monitoring tests;
8. Form a BTRC monitoring cell to control health risks;
9. The BTRC will form an alternative dispute resolution committee and will ask the licence holders to submit progress report every 6 months;
10. Specific absorption rate or SAR value should be showed on mobile set so that it can be visible;
11. Monitor every report and record submitted by the licence holders concerned up to five years.

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