By: Mr. Pranav Poddar, Director, Syenergy Environics Ltd.
5th GENERATION TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Since the 1980s the evolution of Telecommunications has come a long way. Every generation has its forte. People went berserk when they could communicate with the entire world in the snap of a finger. It all started with 1G with the ability to do voice calls, with 2G we could do voice calls and messages, 3G came with the added advantage of video calling, and then came 4G which skyrocketed the internet speed, gave us the vision for a Digital world and a world where the Internet of things (IoT) and 100 times faster connectivity will be possible with 5G.
DIGITALIZATION AND 5G
Digital transformation across all sectors is enabling an economic revolution. It is well documented that an economic boost for any nation is directly proportional to its rate of digitalization in its business activities. 5G is touted to be the most important enabler to lead this digitalization. 5G will optimize not only internet performance but will also improve productivity, help in cost cutting, and experience real-time feedback. All of these will ensure greater economic output. The primary difference between 4G and 5G is the speed and lesser lag time between the transmission of data between the device and the base station.
With all of the projections, 5G comes with its health impacts which can be quite hazardous for people’s wellbeing. 5G base stations will use lesser power and will be much smaller in size due to which numerous ‘Small cells’ will be installed in residential and commercial areas to be able to connect to many more devices and offer faster speeds. This rise in small cells will increase the health risk as the electromagnetic waves will penetrate almost each and every square inch of our living, working and public spaces.
EFFECTS OF 5G SPECTRUM ON HUMAN HEALTH
The EMR emissions from telecom antennas has proven negative impacts on human health. 5G will lead to a large amount of radiation emission, which would cause higher stress on the human body, lower immunity and result in various short term and long term health issues. 5G will need more tower installations which increases the amount of radiation in the environment. High-speed devices will emit and absorb 100 times more radio frequencies compared to the devices we have now.
World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states that more research is needed to make sure whether these radio frequencies trigger certain types of cancer. Other health impacts include eye damage, ageing of the skin and other skin-related issues, infertility, slow or abnormal brain development in children, lack of attention, heart diseases, sleep disruption, depression, etc. The health hazards of the 5G spectrum are a controversial topic since it has not been tested as yet through any major research or study, however we can’t deny the impacts of EMR emissions, which has been backed up with enough evidence medically in India and Internationally. The Government should make efforts to encourage more research on whether the 5G spectrum causes adverse effects on health parameters before welcoming 5G in India, because India is already suffering from enough social, economic, and political issues. Introducing 5G without proper research might just add up to those issues.
However, we can never unsee the health impacts which initially might feel negligible but can take serious turns. The world has already seen the face of a very massive pandemic and here comes the question of whether we accept 5G in it’s current state as it is for the merits it is bringing with it, or modify it with added layers of safety which exists today with health tech organizations working in this domain and having solutions which enable smart devices and technologies like 5G to be used more safely and responsibly by consumers.