News for Saudi Arabia
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|Protect your children from mobile phone radiation|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 1 Jul 2013|
The proliferation of mobile phone-related technology has led to an explosion of its usage with people all over the world increasingly getting hooked to it. There has been a raging debate regarding the health effects of low-intensity electromagnetic field radiation generated by mobile phones both in social and scientific circles. This technology has dramatically influenced lifestyles, and literature is available both in favor as well as in contradiction.
Prof. Sultan Ayoub Meo, physician, medical educationist and scientist at College of Medicine, King Saud University in Riyadh, shared his academic research with Arab News in an exclusive interview to shed light on mobile phones and its effects on human health.
Q: How do mobile phones affect human health?
A: Mobile phones generate electro-magnetic field radiations (EMFR), through both thermal and non-thermal effects. The heating effect of GSM radiation can have an adverse impact on human beings, in that can cause some alterations in genes and proteins, which can ultimately bring about changes in physiological functions. Mobile phones are low power radio devices that can generate radio frequency radiation at frequencies in the microwave range 900-2200 MHz.
Q: Before going further, can you tell me how many users of mobile phones are there globally?
A: The number of mobile phone users worldwide has surpassed six billion which means that more than two-thirds of the people on the planet are using mobile phones. This figure will further increase to 7.2 billion by 2014. There are about 100 countries in the world where the number of cell phones are more than the country’s population figures. The countries where the number of mobile phone users are higher than their population are: Russia 155.5 percent; Italy 147 percent; Brazil 137 percent; Germany 132 percent and USA at 103 percent.
Q: What is the situation in Saudi Arabia?
A: This figure is surprisingly high, with current reports suggesting that number of mobile phones users as a percentage of the population is 168 percent. This figure is the highest in the world.
Q: Do you think mobile phones are a health hazard?
A: I must say that we cannot deny the significance and services provided by the mobile phone industry but I also strongly believe that health is more important and it cannot be compromised over anything. What I am stating is actually based on scientific literature published in highly respected science journals.
Q: Would you like to tell us about its effects on children and adults?
A: Children are more vulnerable to health hazards than adults when they are exposed to mobile phone radiation. The absorption of GSM radiation is greatest in an object about the size of a child head, because of the “head resonance” effect and the greater ease with which the radiation can penetrate into the relatively thinner skull of an infant and children.
Q: Does use of mobile phones affect brain functioning?
A: Available scientific literature states that mobile phones emit a pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field (PEMF) which can penetrate the skull, alter distinct aspects of the brain’s electrical response, affect a wide variety of brain functioning such as electrical activity, electrochemistry, permeability of the blood/brain barrier. In view of the absorption of RF radiation in the head, the major concern has been the possibility of brain tumors in general and acoustic neurinomas in particular.
Q: What are the general health hazards of mobile phones?
A: We conducted a series of studies both on animals and humans on cell phone radiation and its health hazards. Mobile phone users often complain about burning sensations or a heating around the ear, headache, tension, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disturbance and impaired hearing and vision.
Q: Is there any effect of mobile phones on reproductive system?
A: In one of our studies, we determined the reproductive hormones and morphological changes induced by mobile phone radiation and found that long-term exposure to mobile phone radiation leads to reduction in serum testosterone levels and cause hypospermatogenesis and maturation arrest in the spermatozoa in the testis of albino rats.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Sylvie/Agnes Ingvarsdottir|
|The acute auditory effects of exposure for 60 minutes to mobile's electromagnetic field|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 1 Mar 2013|
Abstract - OBJECTIVE: To assess the immediate consequences of 60 minutes exposure to mobile phones on hearing function by determining changes in distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) and hearing threshold levels (HTLs).
This prospective control clinical trial study was carried out at the Ear, Nose and Throat Department, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from July 2009 to July 2011. The data collected included age, symptoms experienced after exposure, and HTLs and DPOAE were recorded before, and immediately after 60 minutes of exposure to the same model of mobile phone.
Heat/pain was the most commonly reported symptom. In the test-ears, significant shift (p<0.05) was noticed in HTLs at 1000 and 2000 Hz but not at other frequencies, while non test-ears did not reveal significant shift in HTLs. Additionally, test-ears revealed significant differences (p<0.05) in DPOAE at 1000 Hz, 1400 Hz, 2000 Hz, and at the average of all frequencies, while non test-ears did not show significant differences.
Sixty minutes of close exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by a mobile phone had an immediate effect on HTL assessed by pure-tone audiogram and inner ear (assessed by DPOAE) in young human subjects. It also caused a number of other otologic symptoms.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: PUBMED, Alsanosi et al / Department of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery / King Saud University, Feb 2013|
|Saudi doctors link cellphone usage to health problems|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 2 Jan 2013|
In today’s world having a cell phone has become an urgent necessity and not just an added luxury. In Saudi Arabia, everyone has a cell phone, starting from nine year olds. Some people even have two; one for work and one for social purposes. Although the trend has been increasing worldwide, it has been increasing exponentially here in the Kingdom.
A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development shows that there are 4 billion cell phone users across the globe, with Saudi Arabia coming in first as the country with the largest number of cell phone users worldwide.
The report revealed that there are 180 cell phones for every 100 residents in the Kingdom; a number which speaks for itself. Cell phone usage is also on the rise among teenagers and children.
How may excessive cell phone usage affect our health as a nation? What is considered safe or moderate usage of cell phones? How many of us are guilty of chatting away on the cell phone for half an hour, even though we were at home and could have easily used the landline?
The Saudi Medical Journal recently reported a study conducted by the College of Medicine in King Saud University that showed prolonged usage of cell phones by participants was associated with a number of health problems. Those who were frequent users of their cell phones suffered more fatigue, headaches, dizziness, tension, and sleep disturbances than the less frequent users.
Researchers of this study concluded that the use of cell phones is a risk factor for health and they further suggested that long term or excessive use of cell phones should be avoided through health awareness campaigns.
“More studies are needed to determine the negative effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones on the human body.
However, we have already detected some health problems linked to excessive usage of cell phones, which include headaches, earaches, ringing in the ears, and heat, sensitivity, and irritation around the ear.
“Unfortunately, there is a disappointing lack of awareness of the correct and wise usage of cell phones in Saudi society, especially among the youth,” said Dr. Muhammad Zahran, ear, nose, and throat specialist at King Fahd General Hospital in Jeddah.
“A single conversation over the cell phone should be limited to absolutely no more than three to five minutes, and the cell phone should be used only when necessary,” recommended Zahran.
When talking on the cell phone for social and friendly purposes, remember the three-minute doctor’s rule, otherwise you should use the landline.
Studies from the United States have also pointed to other ill effects of excessive use of the cell phone. According to research undertaken by the Electromagnetic Academy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cell phones disrupt sleep patterns, especially the light phases of sleep.
Radiation from cell phones adversely affects the phases of sleep that are most important for repairing the body and mind after the daily routine. Also, headaches were more prevalent in people exposed to cell phones during their sleep.
“There is much controversy and several claims surrounding the issue of excessive cell phone usage and diseases, such as brain cancer. Even if there is no clear cut scientific evidence that implicates cell phones to serious health disorders, there is no harm in taking simple, precautionary steps to reduce our exposure to the electromagnetic radiation given off from these devices,” said endocrinologist, Dr. Abdulrahman Jandali.
Here are some tips to follow to keep your usage of cell phones under control and to prevent health complications resulting from extreme use of this technology.
1. Use speakerphone
To keep the phone away from your head, use speakerphone. Every inch that you can distance the phone away from your body reduces the amount of radiation you are absorbing.
2. Use wired headset or earphones
If your cell phone comes with wired headset, you may use it to keep the phone further away from your body. Although the headset may still transmit radiation through the wire — it is a lower level.
3. Alternate between the sides of the head used on the cell phone
When you have no choice but to place the phone near your head, switch ears regularly while talking on the cell phone. This may limit prolonged exposure on one side, which has been linked to increased risk of brain cancer on the side of the head where the phone is usually held.
4. Avoid using phone in tight spaces
Delay your phone calls to a later time when you are in an elevator, train or car. Moreover, using a cell phone while driving endangers yourself and others on the road.
5. Notice the phone signal
Avoid making calls when the signal is weak and the cell phone has one bar of reception as the electromagnetic radiation increases as it searches for a signal.
6. Do not put the phone near your bed
Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and quit the unhealthy habit of using your cell phone as an alarm to wake you up in the morning. Do not put the phone near your bed, particularly near your head position. Electromagnetic fields can reduce the production of melatonin in the body, which may lead to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases.
7. Keep phone conversations as short as possible
If you expect that your conversation is going to be long, use a landline.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Saudi Gazette, Amal Al-Sibai, 27 Dec 2012|
|Modern gadgets ‘posing health hazards’|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 20 Nov 2012|
Over exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) and radio frequency in devices such as cellular phones, microwave oven, intercom and other everyday electronic gadgets could have biological effects or cause serious damage to the body, according to a medical physicist.
EMF or EM field is a physical field produced by moving electrically charged objects.
“There are more use of communication devices, which make use of radio frequency waves nowadays and all of them have biological effects in the body; but it has not really raised concerns because the body repair these damages itself but when the body is over exposed to electromagnetic field, the body might not be able to repair the damage, which explains why we are yet to find causes of many cancers,” said Rabih Wafiq Hammoud, chief medical physicist at HMC’s National Centre for Cancer Care and Research Radiation Oncology.
He was speaking to journalists yesterday on the sideline of a one-day ‘First Hamad Medical Corporation’s occupational health and safety symposium’.
“We are exposed to EMF daily in our surroundings, through lights, cabling underground and other devices that emit EMF radiation in the home, at work and other places and it has been stated that there are health effects of EMF, which can be dangerous, for instance if one is exposed to high radiation during an X-ray or even at minimal level such as when exposed to isolated cable,” he said.
Mobile phone radiation and health concerns have been raised, especially following the enormous increase in the use of wireless mobile telephony throughout the world, he said.
He said that mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range, higher than that of the power line and some medical sources believe this may be harmful to human health.
“These concerns have induced a large body of research, both epidemiological and experimental, in animals as well as in humans. Concerns about effects on health have also been raised regarding other digital wireless systems, such as data communication networks,” Hammoud said.
“A recent study conducted on assessment of radio frequency exposure on human health, for instance on the use of cellular phone, shows that heat is produced when you put the phone on your ear for long periods of time, its thermal effect affects the brain and it could also have other health effects on the users,”
“Now, more and more recommendations are done to minimise the use of cellular phones, because it is in the higher frequency level, same as the microwave level. In fact, cellphones have more effect than a high power line, that you see on the streets,” he added.
However, he maintained that the results of studies conducted across the world to establish the harmful effects of EMF on human health are still ‘scattered and not harmonised’.
There have been a number of studies carried out on this issue across the world, but none has been conclusive to establish that fact. “For instance, there were major studies on finding out if EMF are linked to breast cancer and leukemia, especially in children,” he mentioned.
HMC occupational health and safety department director Dr Huda al-Naimi corroborated Hammoud’s statements saying: “There are still no clear recommendations from the international organisations on health hazards of EMF. We are hoping that some will start working on it soon.”
She also mentioned that HMC might be conducting research in co-operation with the Qatar Foundation in that regard.
Other topics discussed at the symposium included ‘occupational health exposure and monitoring’ by a guest lecturer from the University of Brunei Darussallam Prof David Koh.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Gulf Times, Noimot Olayiwola, 15 Nov 2012|
|BlackBerry blackout made roads safer, police say|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 24 Oct 2011|
ABU DHABI // A dramatic fall in traffic accidents this week has been directly linked to the three-day disruption in BlackBerry services.
In Dubai, traffic accidents fell 20 per cent from average rates on the days BlackBerry users were unable to use its messaging service. In Abu Dhabi, the number of accidents this week fell 40 per cent and there were no fatal accidents.
On average there is a traffic accident every three minutes in Dubai, while in Abu Dhabi there is a fatal accident every two days.
Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the chief of Dubai Police, and Brig Gen Hussein Al Harethi, the director of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic department, linked the drop in accidents to the disruption of BlackBerry services between Tuesday and Thursday.
Email, Messenger and internet functions were unavailable to users in the Middle East, Africa and Europe after a crucial link in the BlackBerry network failed.
Gen Tamim said police found "a significant drop in accidents by young drivers and men on those three days". He said young people were the largest user group of the Messenger service.
"The accidents that occur from the use of these devices range between minor and moderate ones, but at times they are deadly," Gen Tamim said.
Brig Gen Al Harethi said: "Accidents were reduced by 40 per cent and the fact that BlackBerry services were down definitely contributed to that."
"Absolutely nothing has happened in the past week in terms of killings on the road and we're really glad about that," Brig Gen Al Harethi said. "People are slowly starting to realise the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working."
The precise statistics for traffic accidents in the two emirates this week were not revealed to The National.
The dangers of using mobile phones while driving was tragically highlighted by the death of the UAE international footballer Theyab Amana. He crashed his car two weeks ago into the rear of a road-painting lorry near Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, reportedly while using a BlackBerry. His mourning father urged motorists not to use phones while driving.
"That accident must have really made people think twice before using their BlackBerry while driving," Brig Gen Al Harethi said.
Ammar Al Alwan, an Iraqi resident in the emirate, said he believed the Abu Dhabi Police figures were accurate.
"I did use my BlackBerry while driving," said Mr Al Alwan, 25. "But after seeing the effects of doing so and the accidents and lives that have been lost I stopped. I have already quit using my BlackBerry while driving. Texting can wait."
Maha Khoubieh, a Syrian resident in Abu Dhabi, said she tended to look at the twinkling red light of her BlackBerry when on the road.
"Sometimes it's just really hard not to," said Ms Khoubieh, 27.
The drop in accidents and fatalities surprised her.
"It's quite scary to see how much a phone can affect our lives," she said. "I definitely think that from now on, my BlackBerry will stick to the inside pocket of my handbag and we should all be able to do our part to improve the safety of our roads."
Two weeks ago, Abu Dhabi Police announced a campaign against motorists who use their phones while at the wheel.
Gen Tamim likewise warned that Dubai Police will soon be using electronic evidence against drivers who cause accidents while using their smart devices.
"We have the capability to know who sent what when, and if an accident occurs while someone was messaging we will prove it and present the electronic evidence to the Public Prosecutor, and charge the driver with the costs of retrieving that evidence," he said.
More than 36,500 fines have been handed out in the emirate so far this year to drivers using their phones. The fine for anyone caught driving and talking on the phone without a headset is Dh200 and four black points on their licence.
Those who drive in a way that poses danger to the public are fined Dh1,000 and issued with 12 black points. Police also confiscate their car for 30 days.
Traffic safety experts echoed the calls for drivers to be more vigilant and not use phones while driving.
"Distracted driving is a cause for concerns on the streets and a cause for accidents," said John Hughes, the regional manager of traffic safety consultancy ARRB Group.
"The use of cellphones while driving is a major distraction and we call on all drivers to either use hands-free sets or avoid them on the roads, to raise the safety standards and avoid death and injury."
Jun 2006, USA: Cellphone talkers as bad as drunk drivers: study
Nov 2007, Canada: Military bans cellphones while driving due to 300% increased crash risk
Feb 2009, United Kingdom: "Hands-free mobile phones are 'more dangerous than drink-driving" (w. comment at top)
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: The National, Awad Mustafa and Caline Malek, 15 Oc 2011|
|Towering trouble: Mast unwanted|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 24 Jun 2010|
Michael Henry, the school's principal, is at his wit's end on how to deal with a mobile phone mast that etisalat has put up inches away from their premises.
From a strongly-worded letter to etisalat, to a petition signed by parents, Henry's doing his best to have his school free of any potential radiation. In a petition to etisalat, Henry wrote, "I must presume that the installation of the mast has been in your planning pipeline for some time. Yet, there was no communication with the school informing us of the pending project. Is this the standard of common courtesy that you extend to the community you claim to serve?" adding that etisalat should be "well aware that the location of mobile phone masts are extremely controversial" and that "given the potential harmfulness to the fast developing brains of young children, they [the masts] are usually located well away from schools".
Too close for comfort
Ironic then that etisalat erected the mast right next to the school's foundation block housing the youngest pupils, ie the three- to five-year-olds. "The telecommunications authority says the amount of radiation is within the legal amounts allowed," says Henry. "However, we're dealing with children here, and we need to take every precaution possible."
Upon repeated requests to etisalat and Dubai Municipality, Henry was informed that the municipality will only support the removal of the mobile phone mast if the school pays for it, or if the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) or the Ministry of Health supplies evidence on the dangers of the mast near a school.
Parents whose children study here, are worried about the health hazards to their children. Around 70 have petitioned etisalat to remove the mast.
Star International School, Umm Sheif, which in its first two yeas of operation has already received a "good" rating from KHDA, is appalled at the way etisalat has kept them in the dark. "Why was there no right of objection to the placement of the mast? Why was it built in our absence (while the school was closed for a two-week winter break)? Why were we never informed or given a choice in the matter?" Henry asks.
No comment was available from etisalat
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Gulf News, Muby Asger, 24 Jun 2010|
|Letter: I'm worried about living next to cell phone mast|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 19 Apr 2010|
I would like to ask someone in authority to provide comments and answer the questions of great concern.
Cell phone towers are popping up all over the world. This may have been a moot issue in the past when the towers were sparse and limited to obscure cornfields and hilltops. But the number of these cell sites, as they are called, has increased tenfold since 1994. Among the more than 175,000 cell sites in the US are antennas on schools, churches, firehouses, cemeteries and national parks. There is even a cell tower near "Old Faithful" in Yellowstone.
Having said that, on Saturday, April 10, a cell phone tower in Tubli, Block 711, Road 1122, has been erected on top of an apartment building, that is nearly 50m away from the building where I live. The tower has no antenna yet, but it is only a matter of time when the new cell site is activated.
Cell phone companies pay "rent" for their placement that can range anywhere from $800 to $ 2,000 (BD302 to BD754) a month.
I do not need to say more.
Where a base station is installed on top of a building where people live or work, those occupants may be quite unaware that they are in very close proximity to equipment which produces substantial electromagnetic radiation.
Cell towers are the base stations which control cell phone communication.
Increased cell phone traffic also contributes to cell tower density. When a cell becomes too busy, a frequent solution is to divide it into smaller cells, which then require more cell sites.
For example, in 2009, there were over 200,000 cell sites in the US alone, and 50,000 in UK.
The cellular phone industry spokespersons continue to assert that cell phone towers pose no health risk, but almost all scientists in this field would disagree, at the very least claiming that no such assurance can be given.
These standards are based on safety standards developed by national and international organisations.
The current US standard for cell site radiation in the US is 580-1000 microwatts per square centimetre.
Many other countries have set levels hundreds of times lower.
Current limits have been influenced more by economic and political imperatives than the research into health and safety.
The safety of cell phone towers is the subject of extensive scientific debate. There is a growing scientific evidence that the electromagnetic radiation they emit, even at low levels, is dangerous to human (and animal) health.
For instance, a study into the effects of a cell tower on a herd of dairy cattle was conducted by the Bavarian state government in Germany and published in 1998. The erection of the tower caused adverse health effects resulting in a measurable drop in milk yield. Relocating the cattle restored the milk yield. Moving them back to the original pasture recreated the problem.
A human study (Kempten, Germany) in 2007 measured blood levels of serotonin and melatonin (important hormones involved in brain messaging, mood, sleep regulation, and immune system function) both before, and five months after, the activation of a new cell site.
Twenty-five participants lived within 300 metres of the site. Substantial unfavourable changes occurred with respect to both hormones, in almost all participants.
More than 100 scientists and physicians at Boston and Harvard Universities' Schools of Public Health have called cell phone towers a radiation hazard.
A study by Dr Bruce Hocking in Australia found that children living near three TV and FM broadcast towers (similar to cell towers) in Sydney had more than twice the rate of leukaemia than children living more than seven miles away.
Dr Neil Cherry, a biophysicist at Lincoln University in New Zealand, says that public health surveys of people living in the vicinity of cell site base stations should be carried out now, and continue progressively over the next two decades. He said the standards are based on the thermal effects, but important non-thermal effects also take place, such as cell death and DNA breakdown.
Dr Gerard Hyland, a physicist and two-time nominee for Nobel Prize in Medicine says: "Existing safety guidelines for cell phone towers are completely inadequate since they focus on the thermal effects ....."
According to the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Centre, Northern California: "Studies have shown that even at low levels of this radiation, there is evidence of damage to cell tissue and DNA, and it has been linked to brain tumours, cancer, suppressed immune function, miscarriages and other illnesses."
According to Dr W Loescher of the Institute of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy of the Veterinary School of Hannover in Germany, dairy cows that were kept in close proximity to a TV and cell phone tower for two years had a reduction in milk production along with increased health problems and behavioural abnormalities.
In an experiment, one cow with abnormal behaviour was taken away from the antenna and the abnormality subsided within five days. When the cow was brought back near the antenna, the symptoms returned.
A study performed by doctors from the German city of Naila monitored 1,000 residents who had lived in an area around two cell phone towers for 10 years. During the last five years of the study, they found that those living within 400m of either tower had a newly diagnosed cancer rate three times higher than those who lived further away. Breast cancer topped the list, but cancers of the prostate, pancreas, bowel, skin melanoma, lung and blood cancer were all increased.
In a case known as "Towers of Doom", two cell masts were installed (in 1994) on a five-storey apartment building in London. Residents complained of many health problems in the following years. Seven of them were diagnosed with cancer. The cancer rate of the top floor residents (closest to the tower) was 10 times the national average.
More research is needed, but it may be slow in coming.
Different cell sites emit different amounts of radiation.
Radiation levels from a single cell site vary, depending on usage. Even maintenance issues can affect how much radiation a cell site is currently producing. Radiation around a single cell tower may not be uniform - there can be hot and cold spots. Measurement with a suitable meter is the only way to know how much radiation you are receiving at a particular spot. But it seems that 400m is a safe distance for most people, and smaller distances may also be safe in some cases.
A concerned Tubli resident
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Gulf Daily News, 18 Apr 2010|
|MP defiant over telephone mast|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 15 Nov 2009|
AN MP under fire over a mobile telephone mast erected in his own backyard has vowed to have it removed - but only if it is proven to be illegal or harmful to his neighbours.
Jawad Fairooz argued he was one of eight people in the area to agree to a phone mast being erected on his property, including his next door neighbour.
However, he claims he is being targeted as part of a political smear campaign designed to erode his credibility - especially with parliament elections expected to take place in less than a year.
He also questioned whether the government agreed with claims by municipal councillors that such masts were illegal, since it had not objected to them going up.
"I am committed to abide by the law and will yield to any decision laid down by the law."
Protesters have set up camp outside Mr Fairooz's house, in Hamad Town, for several days - erecting banners and even a tent right outside his property calling for the mast to be pulled down.
It is the latest twist in an ongoing campaign against telecom firms putting up such masts in residential neighbourhoods.
Mr Fairooz is also the chairman of parliament's public utilities and environment committee, which has distanced itself from looking into telecommunication masts because they are "not part of its specialities".
However, Mr Fairooz claimed that since the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) appeared to have no problem with the masts, then he had done nothing wrong.
"The telecom company is responsible for the mast, the TRA is responsible for licensing the company and the government is responsible for giving this power to the TRA to put up these masts," he said, suggesting that anyone upset with the phone mast should contact the government.
"Do not blame me for the law because I will abide by the law completely."
He also vowed to meet any member of his constituency who wanted to discuss the issue with him directly.
However, the head of the Northern Municipal Council - area in which Mr Fairooz lives - told the GDN that he thought the phone mast was illegal.
Council chairman Yousif Al Boori claimed that all phone masts erected without council's permission were against the law.
"All 45 masts in my governorate are illegal because they have been set up without any permits," he said.
He added that even if health concerns were not taken into account, the appearance of mobile phone masts was spoiling neighbourhoods.
"Environment specialists who have said so far there are no negative impacts on health say that masts being put up without licences are unacceptable because they are very random and their appearance destroys the surroundings," he said.
"In countries abroad, these phone masts are cleverly hidden and are given a beautifying touch."
Mr Al Boori also accused phone companies behind new masts of ignoring notices to take them down. "The companies are not paying any attention to the Northern Municipality's notices and I believe that they have strong support," he said.
"This is the first time we face such a problem with another party and that is why we need to strengthen municipality laws."
The GDN reported at the end of September that municipal councils were planning to dismantle all mobile phone masts that had been put up without their permission.
However, they agreed to back down after the TRA agreed to come up with new procedures for erecting masts and aerials on rooftops in three months. The TRA and municipal bodies will then review existing sites without permits before informing operators to remove structures that do not comply with the new rules.
Councillors have claimed telecom companies are paying up to BD1,000 a month to erect mobile phone masts on people's roofs without permission.
Bahrain's 2002 Telecommunications Law states telecom companies can construct installations on private property if an agreement is reached with building owners.
However, the Building Regulation Law of 1977 states that landowners require municipality consent to modify any building.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Gulf Daily News, RASHA AL QAHTAN, 14 Nov 2009|
|Phone firms face legal action|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 30 Sep 2009|
TELECOM firms are facing legal action after allegedly erecting "hundreds" of mobile phone masts over the weekend, despite municipal councils ordering a freeze on any new mast installations on top of homes.
Councillors accused operators of throwing down a clear challenge to their authority after they ordered the suspension of masts on homes until new rules were drawn up.
The five councils last week gave telecom firms until the end of the year to remove existing masts from residential property or face legal action.
However, councillors now say that deal is off the table and are now seeking the dismantling of such masts immediately.
"The telecom companies have clearly told people over the weekend when installing hundreds of masts not to bother with councils," claimed Northern Municipal Council chairman and joint councils committee head Yousif Al Boori.
"This is a clear challenge to our authority and those behind it don't know that because of this we are not willing to give anyone a chance and that legal action is on its way to have the masts removed from rooftops.
"The Building Regulations Law issued in 1977 clearly states that any building comes under the municipality's authority and any change to its exterior or interior, increase in its height or the installation of additional facilities requires a permit.
"However, municipal regulations are neglected here as the telecom companies make the deal with homeowners, without the municipality's consent or paying any fees."
It is understood a decision to suspend the installation of phone masts was taken at a meeting not attended by telecom companies, while no official orders were said to have been issued.
However, the councils are now seeking meetings with Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) officials to also discuss what action to take if homeowners continue to allow phone masts to remain on their rooftops.
Mr Al Boori claimed the country's five councils, which have formed a joint committee to follow up the issue, were not against the setting up of masts.
However, he said action was needed to organise the installation of such masts.
"When the law obliges people to get permits from the municipality, that's for an obvious reason and that's ensuring organisation, which is not the case here," he said.
"The telecom companies don't have a proper plan to set up masts and things are being done randomly with their employees knocking on doors and those who respond and agree are awarded a contract.
"I dare any telecom company to tell me why masts are set up on rooftops rather than open ground. It is simple, open ground requires a number of permits and involves fees."
Mr Al Boori claimed last week that telecom companies were tempting needy families with monthly amounts of up to BD1,000 to use their rooftops for mobile masts.
An agreement was reached two weeks ago with Municipalities and Agriculture Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi to hire an international company to assess the situation in Bahrain and come up with a plan for setting up masts in future.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Gulf Daily News, MOHAMMED AL A\'ALI, 28 Sep 2009|
|Ultimatum on phone masts|
|Saudi Arabia||Created: 24 Sep 2009|
TELECOM companies could be given by the end of the year to remove illegal phone masts on rooftops across the country or face legal action.
Bahrain's five municipal councils are also planning to cut off electricity to homes with illegal masts to force companies get the proper licence.
Councillors claim that telecom companies are visiting neighbourhoods and tempting needy families with a monthly amount of up to BD1,000 to use their rooftops for mobile masts.
An agreement has now been reached with Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi to hire an international company to assess the situation in Bahrain and suggest plans for the installation of masts in the future.
"We have no problem with the setting up of masts, if that's necessary for the development of the telecom sector, but we don't accept it being done in the present manner," said Northern Municipal Council chairman and joint councils anti-masts campaign head Yousif Al Boori.
"What is the logic behind setting up masts on rooftops rather than in open grounds, or on top of poles?
"Is it because tempting poor people is easier than getting permission from the government bodies concerned?
"It is easy for a multi-million dinar company to pay to BD1,000 monthly per home where the masts are set up, rather than pay the government 10 times that amount.
"It is also difficult for us to remove the masts without a court order to enter homes with illegal masts, but that doesn't mean our hands are tied.
"We plan to cut off electricity to homes that don't have the proper licence."
Mr Al Boori said that wars between neighbouring families had also erupted as each was now an agent of a different telecom company.
"Each company bought itself a rooftop, and each household is trying to promote the company that is paying it, something that has led to arguments between residents," he said.
"On the other hand, families who do not have a mast on their rooftops, are also complaining that they were the victims of a possible health hazard and insist that their neighbours should be made to remove the masts, either peacefully or by force.
"Studies on the Internet show that these masts do not pose any danger at the moment, but there are fears that emissions may be dangerous in the future."
Mr Al Boori said that a lack of planning on the part of authorities concerned with the setting up of masts, was the main reason behind the problem.
"There should be a plan on how many masts are required in each area, where they would be installed and how, but the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) doesn't have that planned at the moment," he said.
"We have no problem with the masts, but they have to be installed properly, and when we require people to get approval for every step they take to build a home, such as connecting electricity, the same has to be done with masts."
Mr Al Boori said that Dr Al Ka'abi had to hire a specialised company to assess the situation.
"Hopefully the company will get things in order in the coming months, but that doesn't mean that telecom companies will not have to remove the masts before the end of the year or face legal action," he said.
The Muharraq Municipal Council had already agreed to seek court orders to have the masts removed from homes before working with other councils to come up with joint measures.
TRA officials were not available for comment.
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|Source: Gulf Daily News, MOHAMMED AL A\'ALI, 24 Sep 2009|
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