Harmful Effects Of EMI On Environment

5 mins read

Thanks to our technological advancements, our planet is dying.

In this classic tale of the modern Frankestein, we are polluting the environment, either knowingly or unknowingly. A case in point are the many gadgets we use. How would you feel if we told you that those seemingly harmless devices are negatively affecting the environment?  The main culprit here is electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Unlike the other common air, water or noise pollutants, we cannot touch, feel or smell EMI, yet it exists and in fact, can be more damaging if left unchecked.  Apart from its destructive effects on human health, EMI radiations can wreak havoc with the entire society, and its effects on the environment can be plain disastrous. A European study conducted at the Wageningen University is revealing. The study showed how wireless radiation from local area networks and mobile phones adversely affected the health of the flora of a vast region of Western Europe. It also highlighted the need for completely enclosing the radiation sources with electromagnetic interference shielding solutions.

Harmful Effects Of EMI On Environment

Here is an excerpt from the study:

The city of Alphen aan den Rijn, a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, assigned Wageningen University to find out the possible reasons behind inexplicable abnormalities noticed in trees. These unnatural conditions were those that couldn’t be blamed on virus or bacterial infection. These abnormalities included significant variations in growth, and bleeding and fissures in the bark. In the Netherlands, however, nearly 70 percent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, while trees in densely forested areas hardly show any such symptom, the study mentioned.

As part of the project, the research team placed some ash trees close to various radiation sources.  The trees remained there for three months.  It was observed that the trees closest to the Wi-Fi radio were the most affected. The upper and lower epidermis of their leaves died, leaving a lead-like tinge on their leaves. Eventually, parts of the leaves died too. The university also conducted experiments on some corn plants and showed that Wi-Fi radiation could inhibit the growth of corn cobs.

In another study, researchers have held radio frequency background responsible for the steady death and decline of Aspen seedlings in North America over the last 50 years.  Colorado has been recording a very rapid death of Aspen clones since 2004. All these prompted researchers to dig deep and find out a possible cause.  As part of the experiment, they put some of the seedlings inside a Faraday Cage, a kind of EMI shielding solution, to protect them from EMI/ RFI. Others were left in the open. The protected seedlings soon started to regain their heath. Healthy, well-formed leaves started to grow. Numbers of leaves per branch also began improving. On the other side of the spectrum, the seedlings that were kept outside the shielding were damaged further.

Our growing dependence on electronic devices makes banning them impossible. However, looking at the increasing complexity of the electromagnetic and radio frequency background, we cannot leave them untamed. The best alternative is to use devices with proper electromagnetic interference shielding fitted inside them.  The governments across the world should also come forward and ensure that manufacturers comply with anti-EMI regulations in every nation. In addition, non-governmental organizations should raise their voice for building greater consumer awareness.  Unlike the other environmental pollutants, the awareness level about EMI and its adverse effect is still at a very nascent stage. But this has to be changed. A global consensus on the issue is the first step toward saving the world from EMI’s disastrous impact.