African governments should consider mobile emissions checks

Posted on November 5, 2013 05:24 am

An independent report on
state of mobile emissions in Africa has sent shockwaves in the industry across the continent. Details have emerged that more than 20 countries
are considering a proposal by researchers whether to change the “risk-based” approach of
auditing mobile base stations for electromagnetic emissions after their report urged
for urgent action on the issue. There has since been calls to strengthen compliance checks on mobile sites that have significantly increased after the revelations following auditing of close to 1,000 licenses for mobile
sites from telecom companies in the last three years in six selected countries from East, Central, West and Southern African countries. Some experts have described the latest report as faulty
for relying heavily on predictive reports provided by telcos as part of
the licensing process undertaken for each new site. After scrutinizing the report, the methodology behind the
reports proved to be highly conservative in estimates of the perceived
emissions of those sites and my thinking is that there is need for increased
audits of mobile base station sites in member states.

Whilst I recognize resource limitations, the relevant bodies should be able to conduct
regular audits of telecommunication installations to ensure, and give
confidence to communities, that these installations are compliant with respective emission standards if not harmonized standards if they at all exist. The
low number of audit checks has demonstrated that relevant authorities are not
listening to the concerns of the communities living near base stations. Countries lagging behind should establish organizations that have sufficient 
powers to mandate and audit industry compliance and I think they should be able to take a risk-based approach to ensure compliance
and enforcement with the regulatory regimes that it administers, including but
not limited to electromagnetic emission levels. There should be greater
 community consultation by telcos for new and upgraded mobile stations otherwise
recent studies showing a rising number of people residing next to bases
stations who have contracted cancer will continue.

Contador Harrison