25th December 2008
Merry Christmas and A Very Happy New Year!
Dr. Hans Wijesuriya
Dear Dr. Wijesuriya,
We are concerned that your company has started constructing a mobile phone transmission antenna at 94/3 Elie House Road, Mutuwal, Modera, Colombo 15 in the midst of our houses in this dense residential area.
All of us who sign below have many concerns with regard to the possible impact of this intrusion on our lives and those of our loved ones – our children , the elderly and the sick, our neighbours and the environment, which we believe cannot be simply allayed by the standard statement that there is no conclusive evidence to prove that the antenna would cause any significant hazard to our health or environment.
The Report of the Bio-initiative Working Group, August 2007, pithily sums up the situation when it states that “often the industry view of allowable risk and proof of harm is most influential, rather than what public health experts would determine is acceptable” (ibid:5) . (For the full report, pl. see http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/docs/section_1.pdf )
We wish to request you to exercise your good sense as a citizen willing to act responsibly, towards the concerns of the community and, for the corporate responsibility, by stopping the construction in the midst of our neighbourhood.
Thank you very much.
Elie house Road Residents.
(For now, this appeal has been signed by members of the families in the immediate vicinity of the site where the construction of Dialog Antenna has started.)
27 May 2008, 0545 hrs IST,Somdatta Basu,TNN
“KOLKATA: Cellphone towers could soon have to steer clear of schools and hospitals in Kolkata as the state environment department perceives them as a potential health and safety hazard.”
“A list of guidelines issued by the department has decreed that installation of base station antennas on the premises of schools and hospitals “may be avoided because children and patients are more susceptible to electromagnetic fields.”The order”…..”mentions that antennas be avoided in narrow lanes to reduce the risks caused by an earthquake or wind-related disaster.”…..”the antennas should be at least 3 metre from the nearest building and should not directly face it, and that the lower end of the towers should be at least 3 metres above the ground or roof. Barbed-wire fences should keep antenna sites barred to the public, it has said. And access to towers, the government has suggested, be kept to the minimum, even for maintenance personnel.”
“Cellphone firms have asked to put up warning signs and ensure that these are “clearly visible and identifiable”. A warning sign has been prescribed at the entrance of such zone. Such signs should carry cautionary notes discouraging people — even maintenance personnel — from staying too long in the zone. The environment department has suggested that the sign boards may contain the following text: Danger! RF radiation, Do not enter!“
“Operators and maintenance personnel…should be protected from electromagnetic radiation, the state says. It has advised cellphone firms to educate personnel on the possible hazards from these devices.”
“Cellphone service providers were guarded in their response”….”researchers felt it was still too early to reach a conclusion ….You need to study an entire generation to come to a definite conclusion. But precautions are always welcome”…”There were complaints from several districts. Many schools said mobile towers were being erected on their roofs and in nearby areas….”
Dialog Telekom mobile phone company is in the process of setting up a transmission antenna tower on top of a three storied apartment building at no. 94/ 3 amidst houses in the dense residential area of Elie House road, in Mutuwal, Modera. Are such constructions permitted in residential areas at all? Once, permitted the companies can expand the size of their towers increasing the risk of health hazard overtime. This will affect the children, the elderly and the sick most. In my view this type of commercial constructions should not be permitted in residential areas.
Dialog Telekom mobile phone company is in the process of setting up a transmission antenna tower on top of a three storied apartment building at no. 94/ 3 amidst houses in the dense residential area of Elie House road, in Mutuwal, Modera. The neighbours have not been consulted or informed about this construction by either the owner of the apartments who have rented his premises for this purpose or the Dialog Telekom. We are not sure whether the Dialog Telekom is following the standards applicable to such constructions in residential areas as we understand that depending on the distance and the level of emissions from the tower, the level of exposure to the radiation would vary and that there could possibly be health hazards to those living in the vicinity of the tower.
We would be thankful to either the Environmental Authority or any other organization or individuals to help us understand the implications this type of construction would have on our environment and health.
In the case of this type of construction, should not it be made mandatory to announce in advance to the public in the area the nature of the construction and the measures taken to assure that there is no health hazard? Should not this be made part of the so-called ‘corporate responsibility’ which we talk much about these days?
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