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Helpless against mobile phone masts in Bahrain Bahrain
Contamination level: Seriously concerned, but little or no symptoms.
Author: Nada Fakhro Created: 4 Apr 2010 Updated: 4 Apr 2010 Viewed: 5339 time(s)
TRA (Telecommunication Regulatory Authority) not responding to September 2009 petition of 100 Janabiyah residents regarding phone masts. I was appointed to the TRA's Consumer Advisory Group on March 1st, 2010 and have already been removed from the Group after attending just one meeting I suspect because I spoke out about the health dangers of phone masts.
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Helpless against mobile phone masts in Bahrain Created: 4 Apr 2010
A group of 100 Janabiyah residents signed a petition against the erection of a huge mobile phone mast in the midst of a residential area. We already have two other masts in the area, one about 500 - 700 meters away facing a private school, also in this residential neighborhood, and another about 200 meters away, on top of a residential apartment building facing a girls' school. We submitted the petition to the Northern Municipal Council who promised that something would be done to take it down. We also submitted it to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and addressed it to the then General Director Mr. Alan Horne who was removed from his post a month later. We got no response from the Director, nor from Mr. Basil Al Arrayedh whom I emailed repeatedly, although he is Manager of Consumer Affairs - his view is the more masts the better. Nothing has been done to date and the Council now has no power over this matter as it has been taken out of their hands by the government which has appointed an outside expert to assess the health impact and report back. We are not optimistic that this outside expert will go against the government's view that the more masts the better, the government pays no regard to the health of the people, and would rather the economy keep growing and growing no matter what the cost to the people or the environment.
On March 1st, 2010 I was appointed to be a member of the Consumer Advisory Group by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Of course I was surprised as I did not think that the TRA would appoint someone like me who voiced her opinions openly and did not accept answers or reassurance not based on evidence. On the first meeting I spoke out about the health concerns of mobile phone masts and challenged Mr. Basil Al Arrayedh as to why there have been no responses to my emails. The TRA claimed to have never seen the petition so I resent it again on March 8th and again received no response. On April 4th, 2010 the TRA relieved me of my position. I believe it was because of my openly voiced position regarding the health effects of mobile phone masts.
This is not surprising but only strengthens my earlier conviction that the TRA do not want to serve consumers, on the contrary, they are here to serve industry interests - big telecom companies. The TRA has repeatedly stated in the local press that there are no adverse health effects from mobile phone masts. The TRA only came into existence a few years ago and already in their time they have encouraged the entry of several telecom operators when we only had one before, Batelco. They are intent on covering up the health issue and have not answered even one of the studies we have presented them with showing that yes, there are adverse health effects from exposure to such masts. I attach the petition we sent to the TRA with attached scientific studies and articles on the topic. Now that I have been relieved of my position, there is an even slimmer chance of the TRA ever answering our petition or even doing anything about it.
I am seriously thinking of moving away from this area, however there is nowhere to move to. Bahrain is now full of mobile phone masts, sometimes you see 10 mobile phone masts lined up along one street, some of top of apartment buildings, others right in between houses, sometimes 2 or 3 on one apartment building alone. Most of the time these masts are situated next to schools, in the hearth of residential areas, on rooftops, on health centers/hospitals or right next to them. The situation is dire, we are a very small island, one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Something must be done.
I am a lawyer and hence feel that the next step may be to pursue this matter through legal routes.
It is an entirely frustrating situation.
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