A Macrobiologist, Dr Elijah Adebayo, has recommended that environment and human health must be given high priority in siting base station telecommunication masts by carrying out holistic environmental impact assessments.
Adebayo, who is a Lecturer in the Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, gave the recommendation while speaking with the Newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.
He spoke to clarify and educate the government and public based on different views or opinions available at different quarters about the Global System of Mobile (GSM) communication, Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) and Fifth-Generation (5G) broadband.
According to him, it is imperative to provide some empirical information based on scientific research on the possible effects and necessary precautions.
“The importance of these GSM and UMTS in effective communication cannot be underestimated in our different socioeconomic areas.
“The roles that are being played, especially during the current challenge of COVID-19 pandemic attest to its universal acceptance as a means of communication and education, and Nigeria as country should not be left out.
“However, there must be caution in their usage,” Adebayo said.
According to him, since the introduction of wireless telecommunication in the 1990’s, the rollout of phone networks has caused a massive increase in electromagnetic pollution in cities and the countryside.
He added that multiple sources of mobile communication result in chronic exposure of a significant part of man’s life to microwaves at non-thermal levels.
He said: “life has been chronically exposed to microwaves and Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) signals from various sources.
“Including GSM and UMTS/3G/4G wireless phones and base stations, Wireless Local AreaNetworks (WLAN), Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN) such as Bluetooth, that are erected indiscriminately without studies of environmental impact assessments.”
Adebayo, therefore, recommended that environmental impact assessments should be thoroughly conducted, published and implemented before erection/siting of base station masts of any telecommunication company.
He also recommended that indiscriminate erection of base station telecommunication masts such as in residential places – where people spend most their good lives, schools where children and youth that are prone to risk of developing head tumours are found.
Others are hospitals where immune compromised people are mostly located and other sensitive places should be stopped.
“The existing ‘G’ networks -2G, 3G and 4G exerted many exposure effects, including elevated risk of cancer, genetic damage and alteration in gene expression, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders.
“Alteration in central nervous system nerve cells, changes in the function of the nerve myelin and ion channels and stress source in living creatures, hazardous effect on ecological and environmental conditions, to mention a few.
“If existing ‘G’ networks exerted the above mentioned effects, one will expect more of the effects from 5G networks, since it employs millimetre waves and higher frequencies than previous technologies.
“The usage of millimetre waves in addition to the microwaves that have been used to date in 2G, 3G and 4G technology for 5G will require close installation of the cell antennas to one another, which result to constant exposure of the population to millimetre wave radiation,” Adebayo said.
The macrobiologist, therefore, advised that Nigeria as a country should put on hold the implementation of 5G networks until the coast becomes clear.
He added that a group of experts such as scientists, engineers, medical practitioners and other technocrats should be employed and given a good time to unravel the likely negative impacts of 5G networks on human being and environment and suggested the possible ways of mitigating the effects.