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Residents rally against antenna
Cyprus Created: 7 Jun 2008
RESIDENTS in the Apostolos Andreas area of Limassol are staging a demonstration tomorrow, against the EAC’s refusal to remove an unwanted antenna from the roof of a building.

Residents in Ayias Sofias Street claim that radiation from the antenna is linked to the increasing cancer cases in the area, and that it is located too close to a school.

After hearing the two sides at a parliamentary health committee discussion, MP Eleni Theocharous suggested that a solution to the specific area’s problem was found. “The EAC has committed to removing the antenna and possibly the issue of the specific area has been solved,” Theocharous said on Thursday.

The area’s residents, however, received no such promise and confirmed that Sunday’s demonstration will take place as planned. “The EAC did not say they will remove it. They said they will consult with the flat owners of the building, where the antenna stands, and if the owners don’t want it then the EAC will take it down.

“However, the owners were present at the parliamentary discussion and said they do not want it; we have also gathered signatures from all owners on a statement that asks its removal. Still, the EAC wants another consultation,” Neophytos Neroupos, representative of Apostolos Andreas area residents, told the Cyprus Mail.

Neroupos confirmed the demonstration will take place at Ayias Sofias Street, at approximately 9.30am on Sunday and that MPs, city councilors and the press have been invited. He also indicated that the antenna may be brought down by force, if no progress is made.

“People in our area, parents and particularly cancer-sufferers are frustrated. We don’t know how things will develop at the demonstration and we cannot control them. The residents are threatening to tear it down,” he said.

The antenna was installed on the roof of the building in 2002, with the approval of the flat-owners, who signed a five-year contract with the EAC for the installation and operation of the antenna. In the following five year, residents claim that many cancer and leukemia cases occurred within a range of 50-100m from the antenna. When the contract expired last September, the owners refused to renew it, asking the EAC to remove the antenna.

The EAC has refused to remove it, claiming that it is not a threat to health. “The measurements conducted in the area in question, regarding the radiation transmitted from the specific antenna indicate that the radiation is well below the limits set by law,” said President of EAC Council, Stavros Kremmos at Thursday’s parliamentary discussion.

“The mobile phone is more harmful than the antenna. If the issue is about receiving radiation then we should be closer to the antenna, because the further away we are from it, the worse it is,” Kremmos added.

Commenting on the views presented by the EAC, Theocharous pointed out that serious questions remain unanswered. “The disagreement concerned the view of the mobile telephony company which said that if the source is near the population, and that population is using mobile phones, the harmful effect is decreased. If a weak signal reaches an area where a mobile phone is used, then the harm is greater.

“However, the question of what happens if someone is not using a mobile phone and is in an area where electromagnetic radiation is emitted was not answered,” she explained.

Another factor that aggravates residents is the antenna’s proximity to area schools, where 1500 students go every day. “It is well-known that young children, infants and embryos are very sensitive to the harmful energy of electromagnetic radiation and for this reason people are particularly sensitised. We have heard the area’s residents, who ask for the removal of the mobile telephony antenna from the area, which is near a large school with 1500 students,” Theocharous said.

“The final conclusion is that we are trying to apply the EU Directive regarding the placement of emission antennae. The EAC has announced that very soon the dispersion of antennae will stop, with the installation of a small transmitter at each house,” she added.

The issue of the placement of antennae near sensitive spots such as schools and hospitals is particularly relevant, considering a state decision to hide antennae if these are placed near such establishments. In 2006 the Ministry of Interiors had issued an Order (No3 2006) to minimise visual pollution, by hiding antennae, but only when these are placed near schools, hospitals and other sensitive areas.

Chralambos Theopemtou, the Environment Commissioner has requested that this provision is removed, as it merely avoids public reaction to the sight of antennae in sensitive spots. The provision, however, still stands.

“Decision by Ministry of Interiors, according to which when antennae are installed near schools, kindergartens, hospitals and other establishments frequented by children then the antenna should be hidden, so that parents and anyone else cannot see it to avoid reactions,” Theopemptou said at Thursday’s discussion.

“This provision must definitely be removed. A special application of the law should be allowed for such sensitive places, as is the case in other EU countries, for example Greece and the UK,” he added.
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Source: Cyprus Mail, Jun 2008

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