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Government to regulate telecommunication mast
Ghana Created: 18 Oct 2013
The Minister for Communication, Dr Edward-Omane Boamah, has assured the public that government had developed guidelines for regulating the construction of telecommunication masts.

He said the regulatory authorities that include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were enforcing the guidelines.

Dr Omane-Boamah said this in a speech at Tarkwa when the Ministry of Communication with support from the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) organised a day’s workshop on electromagnetic fields exposure and health for stakeholders in the municipality.

He said though there was no evidence that weak electric and magnetic fields could affect their health, the Ministry had a duty to be sure of this so that the public as well as regulators could make informed decisions about the use of mobile phones and the erection of communication masts.

Dr Omane-Boamah said the EPA in 2009 gathered data on public complaints with regard to the construction of telecommunication masts and that the perceived health effects of radio frequency radiation raised by the public could have arisen out of the lack of public understanding of the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

He said in line with this, they had designed a comprehensive public awareness campaign and GIFEC had been holding workshops and public education with relevant stakeholders to ensure that they were well informed on the matter.

A senior research scientist at the radiation protection institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Joseph Amoako, said emission from mobile phone handsets are hundreds of times higher than typical base station antennae.

He appealed to the public to use text messages and hand-free kit when making phone calls and added that mobile phone companies, FM stations and television stations should ensure that they comply with guidelines.

Dr Amoako said the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission should continue regular and routine monitoring of radio frequency base stations to ascertain the level of compliance with limits and results disseminate to allay public fears on the erection of masts.

GN
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, 18 Oct 2013

Mobile Phone Masts Are Dangerous - The Controversy Continues
Ghana Created: 16 May 2010
The controversy about the dangers associated with mobile phone mast is taking very interesting dimensions with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) embarking on a campaign to present mobile phone masts as not being dangerous to human health.

If the story carried in the Thursday May 13, 2010 issue of the “Daily Graphic” written by Kofi Yeboah is the true reflection of what happened at a seminar organised by the GIFEC on Wednesday 12 May 2010, then God save Ghana.

Yeboah reported: “The Acting Director of the Radiation Section Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Mr Joseph K. Amoako; the Head of the Environmental Assessment Unit of the Environmental Protection Unit, Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sampong; an official of the National Communication Authority, Mr Henry Kanor, and an official of the Country Office of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Vincent Ahove, were unanimous that radiation from antennas of telecommunication masts was not harmful to human health.”

It is a pity that very knowledgeable people in the field of electromagnetic radiation in this country have been recruited to embark on this massive scale of misinformation.

To start with, information on non-ionising radiation emitted by mobile phone masts emanating from the United Kingdom must be taken with a pinch of salt. The British have reached a point of no return when it comes to the use of mobile phones. There is nothing they can do about their situation - what Ghanaian Nurses call “Mortuary Case”. Under such dire circumstances the British policy makers have been playing down the danger posed by these masts because they do not want to create panic among their people.

This Writer would wish to challenge these experts to cite credible scientific studies that have come out to conclusively state that mobile phone masts do not pose any health hazards to humans to counter those he has cited below that state that mobile phone masts are dangerous.

This Writer would invite all those interested in safeguarding the health of the people of Ghana to accompany him on an odyssey through the knowledge base of humanity – Internet Surfing - to prove or disprove the dangers associated with mobile phone masts.

Reuters, the world’s leading wire service, reported on 20th December, 2004 – “Mobile Phone Radiation harms DNA, New Study finds”.

Eger H et al, (November 2004) The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer, Umwelt Medizin Gesellschaft 17.4 2004: “Newly diagnosed cancers were significantly higher among those who had lived for 10 years within 400 metres of the mast, in operation since 1993, compared with those living further away, and the patients had fallen ill on average 8 years earlier. People living within 400 metres of the mast in Naila had three times the risk of developing cancer than those living further away. This seems to be an undeniable clustering of cancer cases.”

Augner C et al, (September 2008) GSM base stations: Short-term effects on well-being, Bioelectromagnetics. 2008 Sep 19 [Epub ahead of print]: “Participants in scenarios HM and MH (high and medium exposure) were significantly calmer during those sessions than participants in scenario LL (low exposure throughout) (P = 0.042). However, no significant differences between exposure scenarios in the “good mood” or “alertness” factors were obtained. We conclude that short-term exposure to GSM base station signals may have an impact on well-being by reducing psychological arousal.”

Abdel-Rassoul G et al, (March 2007) Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations, Neurotoxicology. 2007 Mar;28(2):434-40:”Inhabitants living nearby mobile phone base stations are at risk for developing neuropsychiatric problems and some changes in the performance of neurobehavioral functions either by facilitation or inhibition. So, revision of standard guidelines for public exposure to RER from mobile phone base station antennas and using of NBTB for regular assessment and early detection of biological effects among inhabitants around the stations are recommended

Bortkiewicz A et al, (2004) Subjective symptoms reported by people living in the vicinity of cellular phone base stations: review, Med Pr. 2004;55 (4):345-51: “A questionnaire was used as a study tool. The results of the questionnaire survey reveal that people living in the vicinity of base stations report various complaints mostly of the circulatory system, but also of sleep disturbances; irritability, depression; blurred vision; concentration difficulties; nausea; lack of appetite; headache and vertigo. The performed studies showed the relationship between the incidence of individual symptoms, the level of exposure, and the distance between a residential area and a base station.

This association was observed in both groups of persons, those who linked their complaints with the presence of the base station and those who did not notice such a relation. Further studies, clinical and those based on questionnaires, are needed to explain the background of reported complaints.”

Santini R et al, (September 2003) Symptoms experienced by people in vicinity of base stations: II/ Incidences of age, duration of exposure, location of subjects in relation to the antennas and other electromagnetic factors,

Pathol Biol (Paris). 2003 Sep;51(7):412-5: “Our results show significant increase (p < 0.05) in relation with age of subjects (elder subjects are more sensitive) and also, that the facing location is the worst position for some symptoms studied, especially for distances till 100 m from base stations."

Santini R et al, (July 2002) Investigation on the health of people living near mobile telephone relay stations: I/Incidence according to distance and sex, Pathol Biol (Paris) 2002 Jul;50(6):369-73: "Comparisons of complaints frequencies (CHI-SQUARE test with Yates correction) in relation with distance from base station and sex, show significant (p < 0.05) increase as compared to people living > 300 m or not exposed to base station, till 300 m for tiredness, 200 m for headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, etc. 100 m for irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease, etc. Women significantly more often than men (p < 0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations.

This first study on symptoms experienced by people living in vicinity of base stations shows that, in view of radioprotection, minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m.”

These studies were published in important medical journals and, therefore, nobody can doubt their authenticity.

This Writer would further like to cite a lecture on: “Why Mobile Phone Mast Are More Dangerous Than the Phones” by Dr Andrew Goldsworthy, BSC; PhD, an Honorary Lecturer in Biology at Imperial College London (March 2008).

Introduction

People living close to mobile phone masts (base stations) frequently report symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity such as dizziness, headaches, skin conditions, allergies and many others, the mechanisms for which are only just beginning to be understood (see The Dangers of Electromagnetic Smog). There is also growing anecdotal evidence for cancer clusters forming around them. However, we are regularly told by the mobile phone industry that these base stations are safe because their microwave radiation falls off rapidly with distance and is far too low to generate significant heat. Sadly, this is not true. It is based on the false assumption that it is only their heating effect that can cause damage and a serious misunderstanding of the ways in which living organisms use negative feedback to respond to changes in their environment, including the metabolic insults from mobile phones.

Extent of knowledge on non-ionising radiation

There are hundreds of scientific papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals showing biological effects from non-ionising radiation that may be hundreds or thousands of times below the levels that cause significant heating (see Bioinitiative). Furthermore, these non-thermal effects include many independent and well-replicated studies showing that the radiation from mobile phone handsets can cause serious damage to the DNA of living cells in less than 24 hours, so we cannot regard these handsets as being safe for anything other than short-term use.

Because of the extreme sensitivity of at least some cells to mobile phone radiation, it is likely that the much weaker radiation reaching people living or working close to base stations will also suffer adverse effects. Claims by the mobile phone industry that the base stations are safe because the radiation falls off rapidly with distance are flawed. Although the radiation level does indeed fall off as they say, the biological response will remain more or less constant over a wide range of signal strengths due to the ways in which living cells routinely use ‘negative feedback’ to compensate for changes in their environment.

Negative feedback

The concept of negative feedback is extremely simple. For example, if your house is too hot you turn the heating down. This not only makes you feel more comfortable, it also saves fuel. You may regulate the heating manually or you might have a thermostat that does it for you by cutting off the heat when the temperature reaches a predetermined value. In either case, the effect is the same; whenever the temperature isn’t right, the thermostat tries to correct it by making the heating system respond in the opposite direction; this is termed negative feedback. Negative feedback is also very familiar to engineers in the electronics industries where it has countless applications. A simple example is the automatic gain control in some radios. This feeds some of the signal going to the loudspeaker back to the amplifier section so that if it is too loud it turns down the gain to keep the sound volume more or less constant over a wide range of signal strengths. As you will soon see, this is very relevant to the way in which the different signal strengths from mobile phones and their base stations can give very similar biological responses.

Negative feedback in living organisms

Living organisms are full of negative feedback systems, where they are essential to their normal function and ability to respond to an ever-changing environment. For example, if your body finds that it has too much of a particular biochemical, it may turn down or turn off the activity of the enzyme system that makes it. This not only keeps other systems that depend on this chemical running smoothly, it also stops the body wasting resources by making a substance that it doesn’t need.

Biological feedback and non-thermal radiation

So how does this form of biological feedback relate to mobile phones and their masts? Put very simply, because of the extreme sensitivity of at least some living cells to weak non-ionising radiation (see Bioinitiative), the question is not why the weak radiation from a distant mast does so much damage, it is why a handset next to the ear doesn’t do very much more.

The answer lies in our own negative feedback systems. The body is well able to detect the radiation and the resulting damage. It then puts into action a range of negative feedback measures to mitigate the effects. One of the most damaging effects of this form of radiation is the loss of some of the calcium that normally strengthens cell membranes (see Non-thermal bioelectromagnetic effects explained: Why calcium and potassium effects in the research are so important, for a simple explanation). This results in an increased leakage of materials through cell membranes that can affect many aspects of metabolism. These include damage to DNA, from digestive enzymes leaking from lysosomes (tiny membrane-bound structures in living cells that normally recycle waste), apoptosis (cell death), the generation of false nerve impulses from calcium leakage in brain cells (causing hyperactivity, impairing normal mental function and generating many of the known symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity) (see The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields).

Defence mechanisms

Calcium expulsion

The entry of free calcium ions into living cells is normally carefully regulated and small changes in their concentration play a vital role in controlling many aspects of metabolism. These can be disrupted if electromagnetically-induced membrane leakage lets extra and unscheduled amounts of calcium into the cell, either from the outside or from calcium stores inside. To compensate for this, there is a negative feedback mechanism that pumps surplus calcium out again, but this must be limited since, if the pumping were too effective, it would interfere with the small changes in calcium that normally control metabolism.

Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC)

The activation of the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase is triggered by calcium leaking into cells and by nitric oxide produced by damaged mitochondria (membrane-bound particles that provide most of a cell’s energy) The role of Nitric Oxide). This enzyme leads to the production of chemicals called polyamines that help protect DNA, and the other nucleic acids needed for protein synthesis from damage, including that from digestive enzymes leaking from lysosomes.

Heat-shock proteins (HSP)

These are perhaps wrongly named because they can also be produced directly in response to electromagnetic radiation at levels thousands of times lower than that which can generate significant heat. Their job is to combine with vital enzymes, putting them into a sort of cocoon that protects them from damage, but this also stops them working properly.

Limitations of the feedback

Short-term limitations

All of these negative feedback mechanisms are triggered by radiation-damage or directly by the radiation itself, and there may also be others that we still don’t know about. Their collective role is to try to limit the damage, but they cannot completely eliminate it without disrupting the cell’s normal functions. Consequently, they will be programmed not to cut in until the damage approaches intolerable levels. This effect will maintain the damage and observable symptoms close to the levels at which they cut in over a wide range of radiation intensities. Consequently, any adverse effects and observable symptoms, such as headaches and dizziness, from distant masts and local handsets may be approximately the same, at least in the short term.

Long-term limitations

Defence mechanisms against non-ionising radiation almost certainly evolved over countless millions of years to protect living organism from weak natural radiation such as the wide-band radiation from thunderstorms that we now perceive as ‘static’ on our radio sets. However, they are ‘designed’ only for intermittent use because they disrupt normal metabolism and are expensive in bodily resources and energy. These resources have to come from somewhere. Some may be drawn from our physical energy, making us feel tired. Some may come from our immune system, making us less resistant to disease and cancer. There is no hidden reserve.

As it is, our bodies are constantly juggling resources to put them to best use. For example, during the day, they are directed towards physical activity but during the night, they are diverted to repair processes and to the immune system. Day and night irradiation from mobile phone masts (which run continuously) is likely to affect both, with little or no chance to recover. In the long term, this is likely to cause chronic fatigue, serious immune dysfunction leading to an increased risk of cancer, and many of the other symptoms frequently reported by people living close to mobile phone base stations.

There are also a growing number of anecdotal reports that the continuous radiation from DECT phone base stations and Wifi routers can have similar effects, so that these too should be considered as being potentially unsafe. We should perhaps add to these the growing use of DECT cordless baby alarms.

Although to date there is no firm evidence of adverse effects, these devices irradiate the baby continuously from nearby, but the child is probably too young to report the symptoms. In this case, a delay in the onset of sleep due to brain hyperactivity could be an early warning of potential longer-term damage that may not become apparent until later life. Even a mobile phone left switched on nearby has been shown to disrupt normal sleep rhythms in adults.

Why we are not all affected

This is due to natural biological variability and is quite normal. For example, not everyone who smokes dies of cancer; it just increases the risk. Similarly, not everyone will be equally affected by non-ionising radiation. There could be many reasons for this; some people may have higher levels of calcium in their blood, which will help stabilise their cell membranes. Others may have more effective natural defence mechanisms or mechanisms that cut in at different levels. Other people may have had their defence systems impaired, by either illness or prolonged electromagnetic exposure. Many more may be affected but have just put it down to the general stress of modern living and have not yet made the link between their symptoms and their now almost universal electromagnetic exposure.

However, even if you are one of the lucky ones who suffer no obvious short-term adverse effects from electromagnetic radiation, there is no cause for complacency. There is no guarantee that you will not suffer long-term effects or that the apparent lack of effect will continue as the general levels of electromagnetic exposure rise and our steadily aging bodies become less and less able to cope.

What can we do about it?

Very few people would want to give up their mobile phones, but if you have one, for your own personal safety, it is best to keep your calls on it short and relatively infrequent so that your body has a chance to recover in between times. Use text (which takes seconds to transmit) rather than voice calls and avoid making unnecessary downloads from the Internet. The choice is yours, but spare a thought for the people living near the base stations. Some of them may be more badly affected by their continuous irradiation but they have no choice. Your mobile calls will contribute to their problems, so your restraint may help them too.

Postscript

“At present, legislation by many governments (presumably at the request of the mobile phone operators) prevents anyone objecting to the location of base stations on health grounds, and they have been advised not to recognise the problem. I hope that this article may go some way to achieving this much-needed recognition. The problem is far more serious than anyone has previously imagined.

“I have little doubt that the mobile phone industry will seek to dismiss this article as being mere theory. Yes, it is theoretical, but I have based it on known and well-established facts, and it fits these facts far more closely than their own assertions that the only possible biological effects of this sort of radiation are due to heating and that the radiation from base stations is therefore safe. In the light of these observations, I believe that the time may now have come for an urgent and independent reassessment of the situation based on new and thorough epidemiological, biochemical and medical research on the effects on humans of chronic irradiation. In the meantime, it would be advisable to call for a moratorium on the further expansion of these wireless ‘services’ until the outcomes of this research become available, and safer means of mobile wireless communication devised.”

The Pathetic case of Britain

There are over 60 million phones in use in the UK. Phones are being used more and more as the phone companies offer lots of free time deals. The existing mobile phone masts cannot cope with the demand, so more are being erected all over UK.

People living near masts are experiencing increasing health problems; especially sleep disruption; headaches; tiredness; behaviour changes in children; epilepsy; nosebleeds and skin complaints according to studies carried out in the UK.

Conclusion

One often comes across expressions like “there is no need to reinvent the wheel” and “developing countries should leapfrog”. In these expressions is the hidden wisdom that a country like Ghana should learn from the mistakes of countries like UK and not repeat them.

The truth about these masts is that those living near them are killing themselves softly, no matter how much companies providing mobile telephone services tried to downplay the negative effects of these electromagnetic killing machines. These masts emit non-ionizing radiation that is dangerous to human beings.

This Writer is of the view that Ghana should err on the side of caution rather than being reckless and going the way of Britain and other technologically advanced countries. The path chosen by the Ministry of Communications to regulate the location of mobile phone masts is the most sensible thing to do under the circumstances.

This Writer is also very much aware that where big money is involved anything can happen - the sky can be described as being green instead of blue.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Ghana News Agency, Boakye-Dankwa Boadi, 13 May 2010

Ghana makes new guidelines for erection of telecoms masts
Ghana Created: 6 May 2010
Even though the full details of the guidelines are not yet available, the guidelines include regulations for collocation and prohibition from erecting masts closer to schools.

The Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrissu has told a Joy News bulletin monitored by ghanabusinessnews.com that a major requirement of the new guidelines is the improvement in quality of services.

He also said, the guidelines prohibit telecoms companies from erecting masts near schools. He said even though, there are no scientific proof to the possible health hazards posed by the emission of electromagnetic radiation from the masts, the decision is a precaution to protect Ghanaian children from any possible health dangers in the future.

In February this year, the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST) placed a ban on the mounting of telecommunications masts in the country until further notice. The issue was later resolved between the ministry and the telephony providers.

The telecoms companies, especially the mobile telephony companies have come under criticisms for mounting masts near to residential facilities and exposing residents to possible health dangers, they have also been accused of offering poor quality services and exploiting subscribers through raffles and customer reward promotions that take from rather than give subscribers any rewards at all.

Ghana currently has six mobile phone companies licensed to operate in the country, five are in operation – these are MTN, Tigo, Vodafone, Kasapa and Zain. The sixth, Globacom is yet to start operations.

And the country’s mobile telephony penetration is said to be over 60% of the country’s population of about 22 million.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Ghana Business News, Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, 06 May 2010

Bill to regulate erection of telecom masts in the offing
Ghana Created: 17 Mar 2010
A bill to regulate the erection of mobile phone masts is to be laid before Parliament soon.

The document, put together by a technical committee comprising officials drawn from the Ministry for Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Local Government Ministry and other interest groups, introduces specific procedures telecommunication companies need to follow before erecting masts.

Conflicts between residents on one hand over concerns about the health implications of living close to masts and a desire by the mobile companies to expand their coverage forced a suspension of the issuance of new permits.

Officials of the Environment Ministry have declined to provide details of the draft bill but say when passed into law it will streamline the current haphazard manner in which the masts are erected to bring it to acceptable international standards.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: MyJoyOnline, 17 Mar 2010

Mobile Phone Masts Are Dangerous - The Plain Truth
Ghana Created: 21 Aug 2009
The skyline of Accra and other major cities in Ghana is dominated by telecommunication masts of various sizes and colours. Some have red warning lights while a few others flash daylight beams at night.

The truth about these masts is that those living near them are killing themselves softly, no matter how much companies providing mobile telephone services tried to downplay the negative effects of these electromagnetic killing machines. These masts emit non-ionizing radiation that is dangerous to human beings. The Good Book in Hosea 4: 6 states: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ." But thank God, now knowledge is awash and anyone who seeks knowledge can have access to it by the courtesy of the Internet. One does not have to travel to China to seek knowledge as the Holy Prophet Mohammed, (may the peace of Allah be upon him) enjoined his followers to do.

This Writer sees it as a national responsibility to bring to the attention of all Ghanaians that there is now sufficient scientific knowledge to prove that mobile telephone masts are dangerous to human beings.

However, if Ghanaians decided that irrespective of the dangers these masts posed, they would still allow mobile phone masts to be mounted at their backyards, then that would be their decision - it would be a choice made with the right knowledge and not the lack of it. Surfing the Internet, this Writer came across the following: Eger H et al, (November 2004) The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer, Umwelt Medizin Gesellschaft 17.4 2004: "Newly diagnosed cancers were significantly higher among those who had lived for 10 years within 400 metres of the mast, in operation since 1993, compared with those living further away, and the patients had fallen ill on average 8 years earlier. People living within 400 metres of the mast in Naila had three times the risk of developing cancer than those living further away. This seems to be an undeniable clustering of cancer cases." Augner C et al, (September 2008) GSM base stations: Short-term effects on well-being, Bioelectromagnetics. 2008 Sep 19 [Epub ahead of print]: "Participants in scenarios HM and MH (high and medium exposure) were significantly calmer during those sessions than participants in scenario LL (low exposure throughout) (P 3D 0.042). However, no significant differences between exposure scenarios in the "good mood" or "alertness" factors were obtained. We conclude that short-term exposure to GSM base station signals may have an impact on well-being by reducing psychological arousal."

Abdel-Rassoul G et al, (March 2007) Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations, Neurotoxicology. 2007 Mar;28(2):434-40:"Inhabitants living nearby mobile phone base stations are at risk for developing neuropsychiatric problems and some changes in the performance of neurobehavioral functions either by facilitation or inhibition. So, revision of standard guidelines for public exposure to RER from mobile phone base station antennas and using of NBTB for regular assessment and early detection of biological effects among inhabitants around the stations are recommended

Bortkiewicz A et al, (2004) Subjective symptoms reported by people living in the vicinity of cellular phone base stations: review, Med Pr. 2004;55 (4):345-51: "A questionnaire was used as a study tool. The results of the questionnaire survey reveal that people living in the vicinity of base stations report various complaints mostly of the circulatory system, but also of sleep disturbances; irritability, depression; blurred vision; concentration difficulties; nausea; lack of appetite; headache and vertigo. The performed studies showed the relationship between the incidence of individual symptoms, the level of exposure, and the distance between a residential area and a base station. This association was observed in both groups of persons, those who linked their complaints with the presence of the base station and those who did not notice such a relation. Further studies, clinical and those based on questionnaires, are needed to explain the background of reported complaints."

Santini R et al, (September 2003) Symptoms experienced by people in vicinity of base stations: II/ Incidences of age, duration of exposure, location of subjects in relation to the antennas and other electromagnetic factors, Pathol Biol (Paris). 2003 Sep;51(7):412-5: "Our results show significant increase (p < 0.05) in relation with age of subjects (elder subjects are more sensitive) and also, that the facing location is the worst position for some symptoms studied, especially for distances till 100 m from base stations." Santini R et al, (July 2002) Investigation on the health of people living near mobile telephone relay stations: I/Incidence according to distance and sex, Pathol Biol (Paris) 2002 Jul;50(6):369-73: "Comparisons of complaints frequencies (CHI-SQUARE test with Yates correction) in relation with distance from base station and sex, show significant (p < 0.05) increase as compared to people living > 300 m or not exposed to base station, till 300 m for tiredness, 200 m for headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, etc. 100 m for irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease, etc. Women significantly more often than men (p < 0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations. This first study on symptoms experienced by people living in vicinity of base stations shows that, in view of radioprotection, minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m."

These studies were published in important medical journals and, therefore, nobody can doubt their authenticity. There are over 60 million phones in use in the UK. Phones are being used more and more as the phone companies offer lots of free time deals. The existing mobile phone masts cannot cope with the demand, so more are being erected all over UK.

People living near masts are experiencing increasing health problems; especially sleep disruption; headaches; tiredness; behaviour changes in children; epilepsy; nosebleeds and skin complaints according to studies carried out in the UK.

One often comes across expressions like "there is no need to reinvent the wheel" and "developing countries should leapfrog". In these expressions is the hidden wisdom that a country like Ghana should learn from the mistakes of countries like UK and not repeat them. It, therefore, stands to reason that those entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring environmental integrity at the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency; National Communications Authority; Minerals Commission; Department of Town and Country Planning and the Building Inspectorate Units of various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies must perform their duties with a large dose of patriotism.

Again one sometimes hears a piece of advice like "pe biribi ma wo mo" to wit; "find something for them" and they would give you the permit. By "peeing biribi ma wo mo" to wit "by finding something for them" we have people building in waterways; liquefied petroleum gas sales outlets among clusters of residential houses; mining companies mining in forest reserves; criminal cases not being prosecuted at the courts; electricity and water supply being extended to some houses in less than two weeks after applications are submitted with others having to wait for six months before getting their supply.

Taking a cue from the Shakespearian principle of "curing unusual maladies with unusual remedies", one would like to suggest to the National Security to put people holding such sensitive positions under its searchlight to see whether or not they are being influenced to grant permits. By so doing those with the tendency of collecting bribes or gifts would be stopped in their tracks.

This is not to suggest, however, that all those charged with such responsibilities are all wayward. Many of them are dye in the wool patriots who perform their duties with due diligence, but being humans and not angels, there are a few bad nuts among them. One can readily recall the case of the recent busting by the Police of a syndicate in one of the district assemblies that gave permit for illegal structures to be erected.

In the same way as two soccer commentators of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in the days gone by used to say, this Writer would like to conclude by saying: "Over to you."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: GNA, Boakye-Dankwa Boadi, 20 Aug 2009

Government warns over illegal masts
Ghana Created: 14 Jun 2009
Government has served notice it would prosecute telecoms industries which put up masts without authorization.

Environment, Science and Technology Minister, Sherry Aryittey, said government would step up its monitoring activities to ensure that telecoms companies comply with this directive.

Her comments follow a Joy FM report about some residents of East Legon in Accra who had petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop a telecoms company from constructing a mast in the residential area.

The minister told Joy FM’s Kobby Graham, the state would not spare any company which flouts the law.

“We would be forced to apply sanctions,” she emphasized.

The concern by the residents has been fueled largely by fears that telecoms masts emit dangerous rays that are believed to cause cancers and brain tumors.

While medical experts and telecoms operators hold different views on the health implications of mobile phone system and its masts, some analysts believe the possibility of both having long-term adverse effects cannot be ruled out.

Meanwhile in a press statement signed by the Ms Aryittey telecoms investors must complete an environmental assessment registration form and submit it to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The companies are also required to produce a site plan duly signed by a licensed surveyor, block plan, evidence of neighbourhood consultation and a lease agreement.

It said the directive had become necessary because investigations conducted indicated that most mask installations around the country had been done without the necessary permit from the EPA.

Ms Aryittey advised telecoms companies to avoid locating their masts in densely populated areas.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Myjoyonline.com, Fiifi Koomson, 13 Jun 2009

Main Nokia distributor admits cellphone tumor link
Ghana Created: 13 Apr 2009
There has been an on-going debate about the safety of cell phones for many years. Not surprisingly, the cell phone industry and various health authorities have countered to assure users that the technology is safe. However, recent research now suggests otherwise.

According to Dr. Vini Khurana, an award-winning cancer expert, mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking.

He said people should avoid using them if possible and urged government and the mobile phone industry to take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation.

Cell phones are more like radios than traditional telephones in your home. They emit low levels of radiofrequency energy (RF) in the microwave range while being used. They also emit very low levels of RF when in the stand-by mode.

Using a cell phone can place the radiation antenna close to the user’s brain and this can lead to the absorption of comparatively large amounts of electromagnetic energy.

In an interview on Peace FM, the customer Relations Executive of "I 2" Limited, main distributors of Nokia phones in Ghana, Ms. Faith, admitted that, mobile phones can save lives in emergencies, but added that "there is a significant and increasing body of evidence which links mobile phone usage to certain brain tumours. This, she said, will "definitively be proven" in the next decade.

Ms. Faith added that it is advisable for people to stop using several phones or a phone which uses two chips at the same time - because scientists have proven that radiation from two phones made an egg cook during an experiment, giving reason why Nokia has not produced phones that uses two chips.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: GhanaDot, Audrey Micah, 11 Apr 2009

Court Restrains Zain From Erecting Mast
Ghana Created: 13 Feb 2009
The High Court in Tema has restrained Zain Ghana Limited, a mobile telecommunications company, from constructing a phone mast at a house at Adjiringano, a suburb of Accra.

The order, which took effect from Friday, October 17, 2008 is valid for 10 days.

The court gave the order following an application for an order of interim injunction to restrain the company from constructing the phone mast at No.14 Manor Valley Road which was filed on behalf of some residents of Adjiringano by Mr Kojo Graham, the Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Civil Liberties (CHUCIL), an NGO.

According to the residents, checks from regulatory bodies had proved that the company was putting up the mast without the requisite approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), among other regulatory bodies.

They further argued that phone masts and towers were internationally known and reported, through scientific research and case studies, to be sources of harmful radioactive and electromagnetic emissions against individuals and communities living near and within the environs of erected phone masts and towers.

In the substantive suit, the plaintiffs, Alex Dodoo, Leslie Dodoo, Caroline Ama Ennin, John Nii Sackey Odametey, Ellis K. Ashiagbor and George Ofori, are seeking a declaration that the erection and construction of a phone mast and tower by Zain is unlawful and illegal.

They are also praying the court to permanently restrain the company and its agents from constructing a phone mast at the said area, as well as an order restraining it from constructing a mast within the Tema metropolitan area without the requisite regulatory approvals and clearance.

They are further praying the court to award general damages and costs in their favour.

An affidavit accompanying the writ stated that some time during the first week of October 2008, the plaintiffs spotted workmen excavating a deep and wide foundation trench within the precincts of House No. 14 Manor Valley Road, Adjiringano in the Greater Accra Region.

According to the affidavit, a few days after the excavation, residents observed the construction and erection of a huge phone mast and tower where the excavation had taken place.

It said the plaintiffs subsequently met an officer of the company on the premises, who confirmed that the defendant company was erecting the phone mast and tower and further claimed that the company had already received and paid for all the necessary permits and approvals.

However, according to the affidavit, on October 13, 2008 the plaintiffs followed up their search at the Tema offices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and were informed that the defendant company had not been given a permit to construct the mast.

The affidavit stated that although one WO I Agbagba had given the land to the defendant company to construct the mast, the law did not permit such agreements, especially when the land was not being used for its original purpose.

It consequently described the transaction between WO I Agbagba and the defendant company as “void and bereft of legal effect”.

The plaintiffs stated that the defendant company was erecting the phone mast tower at a furiously fast pace, in complete disregard of the objections of the plaintiffs.

They further argued that the unlawful erection of phone masts and towers by mobile telephone operators in residential and educational environs had become such a menace and blamed such practices on the lack of enforcement on the part of the authorities.
Story by Mabel Ĺku Baneseh
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Source: Catherine Gamba

Community 8 Residents Want Erection Of Masts Stopped
Ghana Created: 16 Dec 2008
Residents of Tema Community 8 near the P road residential area have called on the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrain a mobile telecommunications company from nstalling a communications mast over their houses because of the health hazards and dangers the masts will pose to them.

In a petition copied to the TMA and the EPA the residents entreated the regulatory bodies to come to their aid to save them from any future health problems.

According to them, reports obtained from scientific research indicate that such erected phone masts and towers are sources of harmful radioactive and electromagnetic emissions, which are harmful to individuals and communities who live near them.

Speaking on their behalf, Mr Joseph K. Okaikoi, also a resident, said they got up one morning only to find that trenches had been dug out. They returned from work another day to find a concrete platform mounted ready for the mast to be installed on it.

He said it was unfortunate that the communications company, which they did not know, could ignore their feelings and go ahead to do the concrete works.

Mr Okaikoi expressed the view that owners of the project could have moved the site some distance away from their residential areas as there was sufficient space for them to do that.

Now he claimed that owners of the houses could not enter their houses with their cars as they had been left with a small lane to use.

Mr Okaikoi appealed to the assembly to have the mast relocated before it becomes too late and to save them from future health hazards as a result of the radioactive and electromagnetic emissions from the mast.

He, however, said residents would advise themselves if their plea to the assembly and the EPA was not considered.

Efforts by the Daily Graphic to contact the metropolitan engineer on the issue were not successful but the Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr David Quaye Annang, said he would call for the file and find out what actually happened.

An official of the Tema office of the EPA, Mr John Tettey, said he could not comment on the issue because some of the approvals did not come through the Tema office.

He said the problem started with the allocation of the plot and that often officials from the EPA only chanced on the masts and thereby got to know about them.

When the Daily Graphic went round, it came to light that masts were increasing in number in the metropolis with their red lights flashing at the top to signify their presence at night.
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Source: Graphic Ghana, Rose Hayford Darko, 16 Dec 2008

Telecom desecrates royal cemetary to install mast
Ghana Created: 10 Nov 2008
The chiefs and people of Osu have described as highly provocative and sacrilegious the desecration of the burial place of Osu Royals at the Ringway Estates with the erection of a mast by Zain Ghana Limited, a mobile telecommunications company.

Briefing newsmen at the Royal Mausoleum where all prominent Osu chiefs and other leaders have been buried for over 200 years, Asafoatse Nii Akapeh II of the Osu Mankralo Stool said the Asafo companies, the youth and elders would "take appropriate action for the trespassers to feel the consequences of this insult to our history and tradition".

Bulldozers have flattened some of the royal tombs and in their place a giant tower erected to facilitate the work of the telecommunications company.

When contacted, Mr Geir Austin, a consultant to Zain, said the cemetery was given to the company as a lease hold by Nii Ako Nortei, one of the chiefs of Osu.

The Royal Mausoleum, known traditionally as "Amanprobi", has remained a sacred place for the people of Osu and is rarely entered except for the burial of a royal or during Homowo, when Nii Akapeh, as the War Leader, leads the Asafo companies in a militant visit to the ancestral resting place.

Nii Akapeh lamented that at a time when the government said it was doing everything possible to give back some lands to the Ga people, a son of the Ga tradition could dare sell their ancestral heritage for money.

He noted, however, that the action be fiercely resisted.

Zain is embroiled in another tussle with residents of Adabraka over the erection of another mast at a place near the Glenns Night Club.

The company has also been restrained by an Accra High Court from constructing a phone mast at a house at Adjiringano, a suburb of Accra.

The order took effect from Friday, October 17, 2008.

The court gave the order following an application for an order of interim injunction to restrain the company from constructing the phone mast at No.14 Manor Valley Road which was filed on behalf of some residents of Adjiringano by Mr Kojo Graham, the Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Civil Liberties (CHUCIL), an NGO.

According to the residents, checks from regulatory bodies had proved that the company was putting up the mast without the requisite approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA), the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), among other regulatory bodies.
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Source: Joy Online, 10 Nov 2008

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