World Sparrow Day: the fall of the Sparrow

by March 20, 2018 0 comments

Authored By: Manas Ganguly, Founder, Brightsandz Clean Tech

When was the last time you saw those little sparrows? Ever wondered, one day we would wake up and there will be no chirping of birds outside our home? The only sound we hear of these sparrows is in the ringtone of our mobile phones(not unless you are willing to travel into the hills or the farms outside the city, do you hear the chirps again)

House Sparrows are disappearing at an alarming rate.Once cohabiting our premises, house sparrows have fallen. By some estimates, their populations in most of the habitats have reduced by as high as 80%.There are many reasons identified behind the decline of these birds like the use of unleaded petrol, changing the climate, depleting greenery and radiation from wireless technologies and cell phone towers crossing the skyline. Several studies have shown that the rise in the number of cell phone towers is resulting in the decline of the bird population, especially the sparrows. Other species also impacted include butterflies, bees and wasps.

Electromagnetic radiation from wireless technology and telecommunication is not only blamed for affecting human health but it is also attributed to the disappearance of the sparrow population in our country. As per the recent researches, domestic sparrow population in cities are estimated to have fallen by 75 % in the last 23 years (from 1994- 2017). The sparrows are now spotted only in those areas which are located at a distance from the radiation circle of mobile towers.

Birds have a natural sense of navigation which is correlated with the earth’s magnetic system. The natural electromagnetic radiation is known to be directly proportional to the earth’s magnetic vibration.

Whereas, the electromagnetic radiation from technology is inversely proportional which leaves an adverse impact on the bird population. Radiation from cell phone towers interferes with the navigational skills of sparrows, causing them to lose their sense of direction and leads them astray from their homes, making them more vulnerable.

Cell phone towers emit microwave radiation, a form of electromagnetic radiation which is also known as radio frequency radiation (RFR). Long-term exposure to low-level RFR has damaging effects on the nervous system and immune system of sparrows. Moreover, sparrows are known to have thin Exo- skeletons penetrated easily by microwave radiation, making them sick, lethargic and incapable of foraging.

Nesting grounds built in close proximity to roof towers results in delayed egg hatching or increased unhatching. Studies indicate that short-term exposure to radiation from cell phone tower reduces the reproductive capacity of birds by 60%.According to a study carried by Centre for Environment and Vocational Studies (Punjab), 50 eggs of house sparrows were kept in the exposure of Electromagnetic radiation for 5-10 minutes. The result was quite depressing when it was found that all the 50 embryos were microwaved and damaged.

Prolonged exposure to microwave radiation also reduces the activity level in sparrows. This makes them less alert and more vulnerable to attack by predators.

The increasing concern over preserving the sparrows is rising with the efforts of scientists. Sparrows have been declared as endangered and placed in the Red Data list of endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Sparrows like Butterflies are special bio-indicators of the degree of risk in the urban environment including pollution index, environmental toxicity, high exposure to unhealthy radiation, decreasing green cover and litter index. The fall in the numbers of sparrows serves a notice to the current human generation on the degree of damage that we bring forth to the same places where we live – perhaps best anecdotes by increase in pollution gas masks and air-purifiers that are sold, or increase of Asthma neo-natal, or the general listlessness and ennui that we live with.

With several attempts made by environmentalists and experts, the government has now started taking strict measures to save sparrows across the country. From an EMF/ Cell tower radiation perspective, while it is difficult to curb the use of mobile phones and installation of cell phone towers, there are some recommendations and restrictions that can be made in order to protect bird population.

To control the unscientific proliferation of cell phone towers, timely audit and regulation of these towers are carried out. Several other important rules while installing a cell phone tower including the permission of installing one tower at least 1 kilometre away from the radius of another has been planned.

There’s often a long hop between plan and implementation, and therefore, citizen awareness, alertness and mindfulness play a key role to conserve the local fauna as well as the precaution against high radiation exposures thereof. A stitch in time saves nine, but it is time we wondered, is the stitch too late?

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