Innovations are the ultimate way of advancement. Yet, some technological improvements make us think about their good or bad consequences. One such advancement will be the evolution of 5G, and we have been debating on it for quite a long time, whether or not it will affect our environment and birds. So, what can we expect to get with the new 5G wireless network? Well, our internet speed must be ten times faster than that of the current structure and we can download large files in seconds and will be able to fulfill our data cravings. Or whatever you want to substitute from the ongoing 4G LTE.
This advanced network will use five technologies such as millimeter waves, small cells, MIMO, beam forming, and full duplex, providing superhero powers to the 5G signal that can accomplish much intricate work in seconds. This provides a way for uninterrupted and more efficient data streams and can handle multiple stations simultaneously. Besides all, do you understand what precisely 5G means?
Now, you might be thinking, “yes, we can get lots of facilities out of such wireless connectivity. But what about other primary concerns:
What about the effects on the environment?
What about the effects on humans?
What about the effects on trees?
What about the effects on birds and insects?
The emission of 5G is of high frequency, which lies in a range of 30 to 300 GHz. And this is the real cause of all issues. According to 180 scientists and doctors from 36 countries (EU 5G Appeal), there are undoubtedly viable concerns regarding the 5G technology.
The telecom industry has produced safety guidelines for human beings exposed to wireless radiation. However, there are no equivalent safety guidelines for living organisms. The higher frequencies used in 5G technology are known to be particularly damaging to insect and bird populations.
There is already convincing evidence that 3G and 4G cause harm to wildlife, in particular our birds and pollinating insects such as bees who use electromagnetic fields for navigation and migration and may be an important factor in colony collapse disorder.
Effects on the environment!
Biodiversity is a key goal in the Local Plan. Can we allow our desire for ever-greater connectivity to triumph over sustainability? We are told that smart cities and interconnected gadgets will mean we are more energy efficient and can monitor air pollution and traffic flows. Yet ‘smart’ technology is carbon intensive, requiring mining of raw materials, manufacture, and transportation, as well as waste from disposal of old gadgets and appliances. In 2018-19, data centers for the Internet and the servers that power them produced more carbon emissions than aviation.
The rise of 5G technology will increase the number of devices and the scraping of many smartphones incapable of supporting the new technology. It will also create a massive amount of e-waste. The manufacturing of new devices will put stress on the environment. It requires non-renewable resources, which is another case when 5G affects the environment. Manufacturing these devices will emit carbon dioxide, one of the typical greenhouse gases. It will warm the atmosphere and generate climate change.
Effects on humans!
Yet, more than 200 researchers at the United Nations claimed that there is a lot of damage caused by high-frequency electromagnetic radiation from wireless network stations. The most targeted places of the human body for the absorption of millimeter waves are 1 to 2 millimeters deep in human skin and the cornea’s upper surface. As our skin contains several capillaries and nerve cells, it is believed that millimeter radiation’s bio-effect may be transferred via our circulatory and nervous systems. The effect of 5G technology on animal health is still not completely understood, but some scientists believe it is a significant threat. While there has not been any direct evidence to suggest that the 5G technology causes harm to animals, there have been several studies showing the effects of high-frequency electromagnetic waves.
Effects on trees!
The felling of mature trees is at odds with climate change mitigation, which requires planting more trees and preserving existing ones. There has already been felling of thousands of healthy mature trees in areas earmarked for 5G, including along railway lines as Network Rail has plans for 5G across the entire rail network. Research by the University of Surrey refers to trees as an obstruction as their wet foliage can block the shorter wavelengths used in 5G. In a time of climate emergency, when scientists have declared an insect apocalypse and when forests are under threat, is it not reckless in the extreme to roll out street-level Wi-Fi, 4G and 5G on our lamp posts and other street furniture, to install towers in our fields and antennas along our railway lines?
Effects on birds!
When it comes to the effect of 5G like a wireless network on birds, the first thing that comes to mind is movies where it’s described as such. However, according to scientists researching the consequences of such high-frequency waves, these radiations have damaging effects on the eggs of birds. Researchers are worried that the radiation from mobile phones will alter their nervous systems and body temperatures. While it’s unclear whether these waves will harm animals, researchers are not ruling out a potential impact on ecosystems. Microwave radiations also affect nesting, breeding, and roosting. With the increase in the number of conductors, there will be harmful effects on species living around humans. Due to such connectivity further, birds have increased health problems such as issues in locomotion, and plumage deterioration.
A study by the Punjab University found that sparrows exposed to cell tower radiation for five to thirty minutes produced disfigured eggs. Another study in Spain showed that electromagnetic radiation from cell towers interfered with birds’ breeding and nesting habits.
Insects like bees, which are a critical part of our ecosystem, also have an impact on cellular devices. Without bees, the majority of the food will be unavailable to eat.
A 2018 study showed how the shorter wavelengths in higher frequencies are absorbed more easily by insects’ bodies, creating a heating effect. There were increases in absorbed power by up to 370% when the insects, including honeybees, were exposed to these frequencies, with detrimental effects on their behavior and health.
A 2013 review of 113 peer-reviewed studies showed that in 70% of the studies, wireless radiation significantly affected birds, insects, other vertebrates, other organisms, and plants. The greatest impact was on the development and reproduction of birds and insects.
So, it can be summed up, in this digital era, every evolving technology has some pros and cons. If we ignore such an argument’s negative consequences, then no doubt accessing 5G connectivity will help us grow economically. But it will also severely impact our sustainability goals. There is a need for 5G developers to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments in a transparent way will find the impact of 5G on the environment as many rumors are coming about 5G’s harmful effects on the environment.
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