Wi-fi networks blanket urban areas around the world, keeping us constantly connected to the internet wherever we may be — however a new European study finds that these networks may have harmful side-effects on the environment. According to a report by Wageningen University, the constant humming of internet data centers and wi-fi networks could have an adverse effect on nearby trees. The article states that the background radiation produced by these beacons of tech could be making trees sick.
Photo © Paul Walker
According to the report, trees in urban areas of the Netherlands have shown an increasing number of damage such as cracks, bumps, discoloration and various forms of tissue damage. There have also been significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark.
The Wageningen University report was ordered by the city of Alphen aan den Rijn five years ago after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees that couldn’t be ascribed to a virus or bacterial infection. According to the study, 70 percent of all trees in urban areas in the Netherlands have shown the same symptoms, compared with only 10 percent five years ago. Meanwhile, trees in densely forested areas have hardly been affected. Further studyhas also showed that the disease has similarities affecting trees throughout the Western hemisphere.
Lead Photo © Felix Francis
Photo © ashleigh290
The report states that the electromagnetic fields created by mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs as well as ultra-fine particles emitted by cars and trucks may also be to blame. It states that these particles are so small they are able to enter organisms and cause damage.
To test the theory, researchers exposed 20 ash trees to various radiation sources for a period of three months. The report stated that “trees placed closest to the Wi-Fi radio demonstrated a “lead-like shine” on their leaves that was caused by the dying of the upper and lower epidermis of the leaves. This would eventually result in the death of parts of the leaves. The study also found that Wi-Fi radiation could inhibit the growth of corn cobs.”
The researchers urged that further studies were needed to confirm the current results and determine long-term effects of wireless radiation on trees. However, if this is the case it could mean significant changes to the world’s internet systems.
Via PC World