News | Sunday, 18 January 2009

Lija mayor calls for antenna’s removal

Neighbours can nearly touch antenna from bedroom window – Castaldi Paris

Lija mayor Ian Castaldi Paris tomorrow will be filing a judicial protest against Melita plc and the Malta Communications Authority, calling for the removal of an antenna on the roof of a house in Preziosi Street.
The antenna, which faces neighbours’ bedrooms, is so close that a resident “can nearly touch the antenna from his own bedroom window,” Castaldi Paris claims.
MaltaToday is informed the house on which the antenna was erected is rented out to foreign students.
The Lija council is demanding that the antenna be removed in a week’s time. The council is also holding the owner of the house, the MCA and Melita plc responsible for any harm caused to residents by the antenna.
Castaldi Paris said that while he understands that mobile phone antennas have to be located somewhere, locating them in a narrow road with a relatively dense population and numerous bedrooms within a 15-metre radius, should be avoided.
“In such cases one should apply the precautionary principle. We cannot afford to wake up one morning to discover that antennas do pose a health risk as suggested by certain studies,” Castaldi Paris said.
The mayor is suggested erecting antennas on buildings located in open spaces.
In a letter sent to the council in October 2008, Melita plc rebutted the council’s claim that the antenna posed any health risks, claiming there was no “concrete evidence” that this was true.
Medical opinion remains split on whether mobile phone antennae are harmful to residents. Some studies link exposure to electromagnetic radiation to cancer. Nearly 3,000 medical practitioners from all over the world have signed the Freiburger Appeal to express their concern on the effects of mobile phone technology, including masts, on their patients.
The EU-funded Reflex report had conclusively proved that electromagnetic radiation can affect human cells at energy levels that are generally considered harmless.
But the World Health Organisation says that electromagnetic levels around base stations are not considered a health risk, even if “siting base stations near kindergartens, schools and playgrounds may need special consideration.”
EU Health commissioner Androulla Vassilliou has also declared that “available scientific studies” do not show evidence that antennas pose “adverse health effects”.
Permits for the installation of antennas on rooftops do not even need a full planning permit, and are being issued through a sheer development notification order.
In this way, mobile phone companies can get a permit if they find one resident who is willing to accept the antenna to be erected on his roof in return for a hefty annual payment, without any consideration for other neighbours.


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