Hyderabad: The department of telecommunications on 4 May gave permission to private telcos Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, and Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) as well as state-run telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) to start trials for 5G technology and its applications in various sectors. The trials are set to last six months.
Amidst this, a few messages claiming that 5G radiation is harmful to livestock are going viral on social media. One message doing the rounds claims that 5G testing is killing birds. Attached to the message is a photo of several dead birds. Many Twitter and Facebook users are sharing the image.
Meanwhile, social media users are also claiming that poisonous 5G radiations are mixing in the air and making it difficult for people to breathe the poisonous air.
A few other users seemed to suggest a link between 5G radiation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The claims that 5G radiation is killing birds and that it is also responsible for COVID-19 are FALSE.
Claim 1: NewsMeter performed a Google reverse image search of the viral photo and found that the birds died due to overdose of pesticides in the fields of Bihar. In 2016, the same photo had gone viral with the claim that the birds had died due to Chennai's hot weather. The News Minute had debunked the claim.
Shravan Krishnan of Chennai Wildlife Rescuers had told the website, "The picture that has been circulating on social media is not true. The picture has been made by using the editing software Photoshop. It can be clearly figured out by seeing the people's costumes also. If it happens in Chennai (birds dying en masse), we will be the first ones to be informed about it."
He had added that the photo was taken seven years ago in Bihar when birds died after eating seeds that had a high dosage of pesticides.
We also found a Telugu article published in apnewsonline.com confirming the same.
So, the photo of dead birds is not related to 5G testing in India.
Claim 2: Another claim that is in circulation on social media is that 5G testing releases poisonous radiations that mix in the air, making it difficult for people to breathe.
To ascertain if this claim is true or false, we first need to understand the technology behind 5G network.
According to an explainer in qualcomm.com, 5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together, including machines, objects, and devices.
5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users. Higher performance and improved efficiency empower new user experiences and connect new industries.
Like 4G LTE, 5G is also OFDM-based (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) and will operate based on the same mobile networking principles. However, the new 5G NR (New Radio) air interface will further enhance OFDM to deliver a much higher degree of flexibility and scalability.
5G will not only deliver faster, better mobile broadband services compared to 4G LTE, but it will also expand into new service areas, such as mission-critical communications and connecting the massive IoT. This is enabled by many new 5G NR air interface design techniques, such as a new self-contained TDD subframe design.
According to emfexplained.info, comprehensive international guidelines exist governing exposure to radio waves, including the frequencies proposed for 5G. The limits have been established by independent scientific organizations, such as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and include substantial margins of safety to protect all people against all established hazards.
These guidelines have been widely adopted in standards around the world, and are endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Claim 3: Regarding the claim that 5G is connected to COVID-19, theverge.com reported that the virus is spreading in countries without access to 5G. The frequencies from 5G can't harm your body and COVID-19 is caused by a contagious virus that is in no way related to electromagnetic waves. Even the general correlation between 5G and COVID-19 doesn't stand up to scrutiny: they're both global phenomena happening at roughly the same time, but as soon as you look at specific countries, the correlation falls apart.
These 5G radio waves simply aren't strong enough to heat your body and weaken your immune system. "The idea that 5G lowers your immune system doesn't stand up to scrutiny," explained Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, in a recent interview with the BBC.
Likewise, radio waves and viruses aren't transmitted in the same way. The novel coronavirus spreads from one person to another, typically through tiny droplets of saliva produced when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or breathes. The only types of viruses you can transmit via radio waves are ones that affect computers, not humans.
While researchers have speculated that cell frequencies may affect how migratory birds navigate, it is not to a harmful degree. So far, 5G has not been found to have any directly harmful impacts on birds, states sdxcentral.com.
Therefore, 5G waves are not harmful to humans or birds in any way and are they are not related to the spread of COVID-19. So, the claims are FALSE.