Peshawar High Court (PHC) has ordered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take down 20 cellular towers because of their hazardous radiation.
The court ordered to remove the transmission system towers and microwave antennas of mobile phone companies from residential areas, as the radiation can cause serious health issues.
The directions came from a two-member bench of Justice Abdul Shakoor and Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan. The bench directed EPA director general to issue notices to cellular companies for the removal of 20 towers while giving them a month’s ultimatum.
Notably, DG EPA Dr. Bashir Khan had submitted the report on the court’s orders. The report stated that 366 mobile towers are currently installed in the city.
Out of these, 20 towers are put up less than 25 feet from residential areas. The said distance is in violation of international standards.
Dr. Khan also said that those 20 mobile towers are very risky due to their radiation and can cause health problems.
Towers Installed Before 2009
He further added that 46 towers were installed near schools, 55 towers near mosques, and 195 near the residential areas. The EPA had told the court that a majority of the mobile towers had been in the city before 2009.
At that time, the mobile companies were not required to obtain No-Objection Certificates (NOC) before the towers’ installation. However, after 2009, KP had imposed a strict law for handing out NOCs after which the towers are being installed after meeting legal and preventive measures regarding harmful radiation as per international standards.
The counsels of mobile companies had submitted that little to no residential areas existed when the companies were setting up the towers. They asked the court that the towers should be given protection instead of getting them removed.
However, Justice Qaiser observed that there will be no compromise on human lives. The towers have to be removed from the residential areas, he stressed.