Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Spotlight on the 8th NCEH: 1. Electrosmog Pollution


The word “smog” is coined from smoke and fog, referring to the most visible and most conspicuous form of pollution – one that literally blocks your view!  Electrosmog is a new coinage referring to the even much more intense pollution associated with invisible microwave radiation associated largely with modern telecommunication.  A report by the Planetary Health Alliance affirmed that there has been about 10¹⁸ times fold change in the level of electromagnetic (EM) radiation in the ambient environment since the 1950s.  There is no other area of human existence where such a humongous relative change of magnitude is known to have occurred. Unfortunately there is no sign of things slowing down.

Only last week, LSF was approached to arbitrate in an ongoing intense battle between residents of a high-brow area in Ile-Ife and a telecommunication service provider trying to erect a base transceiver station (BTS – a.k.a GSM Mast) in the community. It is not the first of such invitation to us, and apparently, it won’t be the last!  What exactly are the fears, and how justified are they? In my review article published in the Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, I detailed the adverse health effects that come with this modern environmental hazard.  These range from general non-specific symptoms known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity and increased susceptibility to infections; to specific adverse effects on the reproductive system, on growth and development, and ultimately various cancers.

More importantly, what is the way out?  Not only is GSM telecommunication a vital need in modern society (recall they were the target of insurgents in Northern Nigeria a few years back), it is ironic that poor network coverage in an area will only result in the cellphones operating at much higher radiating power, significantly increasing the amount of radiation imparted to the user. [Both GSM masts and cellphones emit the same electrosmog pollution]. In other words, if care is not taken, rejecting GSM masts in a community might just simply transfer the health risks from the masts to the cell phones used by the individual!

It is for complex situations such as these that we convene the National Conference on Environment and Health.  No individual is rich or smart enough to escape the hazard by solo efforts. Our only hope of successfully addressing the daunting issues is to have all relevant stakeholders come together, and collectively seek a creative solution – which of course certainly does exist.

By the grace of God, I will be doing my best to review recommendations by top experts on the subject and the various solutions being attempted in diverse communities around the world.  I hope you, dear Reader, will find time to join in this critical conversation and we can begin to address an all-pervasive national problem which currently is receiving ZERO attention.  See you at the Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan 17th and 18th October, God willing!


To register for the Conference or Submit an Abstract, please go to: http://conferences.lsfnigeria.org

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