|While migratory birds use the geomagnetic field as a compass to track their route from Europe to the Indian sub-continent every year, radiation emitted from these mobile phone towers (6,000 of which came up in just two years) is damaging their brain cells and sense of direction, several environmentalist groups said.
Thousands of birds from 800 different species visit the lush environs of Osmansagar and Safilguda lakes every year. But bird-watchers say hundreds of birds they tracked about a year ago have not found their way back home. Instead, they are found to be circling the city and heading back to the city lakes.
While scientific studies have established that radiation from mobile towers hampers the birds' ability to track the Earth's geomagnetic field, experts say species like the Bar-Headed Goose, Greater Flamingo and Pelicans could be worse off as they don't mate or lay eggs outside their homes.
"We have noticed that certain species of birds are increasing in numbers and are not flying away. We believe there is a disturbance caused by the radiation emanating from the towers - which is hampering their natural movement," said expert Dinesh Bhatt, dean, Faculty of Life Sciences, G K University, Haridwar.
Not just departure, arrival of migratory birds has also been affected by radiation from cellphone towers. A recent report published in Migrant Watch, a bird-watchers magazine, says many birds including the Garganey Teal (duck species) are no longer being seen in Hyderabad, Pune and Nagpur lately.
"There has been no scientific study to resolve this matter. Even the gradual disappearance of the commonplace sparrow can be attributed to spurt of mobile phone towers. There needs to be a detailed study on this issue," said Farida Tampal, state director, WWF-India.
Times View: The forest and environment department, in coordination with environmentalists, should immediately map the number of new cellphone towers that fall along the flight path of migratory birds. Fauna should not fall prey to the explosion of mobile telephony.