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Pressure groups unite to oppose introduction of 5G mobile phone technology

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Eugene Dean, of Greenrock (Photograph supplied).
Environmentalist David Wingate (File photograph)

Environmental campaigners and health groups have joined forces to fight the introduction of controversial 5G communications technology.

Greenrock, Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, Ocean Rock Wellness, Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology and David Wingate, a naturalist and conservationist, united to ask for an extension to a 30 day public consultation organised by the Regulatory Authority.

The coalition said that any push for the introduction of 5G – the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks – would put “profit over people” and potentially expose the community to “a substantial increase in wireless radiation”.

They highlighted that the consultation, due to end on November 23, started when the public’s focus was on Covid-19.

The group said: “Given the vast and potentially negative impact 5G could have on the health of Bermudians and our natural environment, it is important that adequate time be allocated for the general public to understand the potential risks and provide their input.

“This is about the health and safety of the people of Bermuda, especially our most vulnerable, and as a result, we are deeply concerned that this push for 5G is placing profit over people.”

The group warned: “I​t promises an increase in data transmission rates by using high-frequency, short millimetre waves, which require a large number of antennas to be erected in proximity to homes, schools and places of work​.

“The technology requires massive increases in energy consumption and there are genuine concerns that 5G also poses risks to birds, bees and tree canopy.”

They added a petition launched by Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology, along with Mr Wingate, had attracted almost 3,500 signatures.

The group said: “Before the deployment of 5G technology is even contemplated for Bermuda, it is critical that policy is created to protect the populace.

“Doctors and scientists have repeatedly advised that the Federal Communications Commission guidelines, we currently follow in Bermuda, for exposure to cellular radiation are outdated and no longer suitable for protecting our health.

“This is very concerning, and needs to be addressed with haste. Regulations on where cell towers and antennas can be installed must be created, inclusive of quantities and minimum distances from residential areas, rest homes and schools.

“A long overdue registry of existing cell towers and antennas needs to be established and the public should be informed of proposed installations as well.”

The RA blocked the deployment of 5G until a radio frequency study was completed.

The radio frequency study included the public consultation.

A spokesman for the Government declined to comment.

He said: “The public consultation process is a matter for the Regulatory Authority.”

The RA yesterday rejected the plea.

A spokeswoman for the RA added: “Due to the local and global controversy surrounding 5G technology, the RA has empanelled an independent advisory panel to review existing information, studies and research, as well as feedback from the public.

“The panel will also offer advice on policy direction prior to the RA making a decision on whether the implementation of 5G is suitable for Bermuda.

“Therefore, we will reserve comment until the consultation process is concluded.”

Information on the RA’s consultation can be found here.

The Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology petition can be seen here.

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Published November 02, 2020 at 7:00 pm (Updated November 03, 2020 at 7:52 pm)

Pressure groups unite to oppose introduction of 5G mobile phone technology

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