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Eros residents angered by MTC BTS tower.

Eros residents took to the streets yesterday (Thursday, 4 November) in protest against MTC's decision to continue with the construction of a Base Transmitter Station (BTS) in the residential area's Olof Palme street.

The City of Windhoek ordered the stoppage of construction activities after the community objected to the presence of such a tower in the vicinity. MTC however ignored this directive and commenced with building activities earlier in the week.

"We have a say as to what happens in our neighbourhood. Not only are we tax payers, I have a feeling that the majority of us are MTC subscribers. MTC, Urban Green nd the City of Wind hoek you do not respect our concerns, you are the service providers and we your clientele. Personally I believe we do not need a tower. The cell-coverage, albeit not perfect, is sufficient. Did you conduct a thorough neighbourhood survey prior to this decision (as to whether your clients in this area require additional coverage) or did you merely assume we do?," Raymond Spall, a concerned resident, said in a statement.

The BTS Olof Palme Task Force was established to raise concern about MTC's plans to erect a BTS tower in the street. The residents say this will have a long term effect on their health as they are being exposed to radiation.

The residents say they have not been consulted by MTC or Urban Green who conducted the environmental impact assessment (EIA).

However, MTC made light of these concerns, stating that the levels of radiation emanating from the company's radio equipment is100,000 times less than the minimum security levels considered by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (IC NIRP).

ICNIRP is the only institution recognised by the United Nations to give guidance on radiation matters. This body has also been recognised by the Namibian government through the adoption and enactment of the Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Act of 2005.

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MTC conducted a study at the beginning of the year to ensure that radiation from mobile base stations or towers in Windhoek comply with the most demanding telecommunication legislation worldwide, the company maintained.

"As a socially responsible corporate citizen, and one that abides by local and international regulatory standards, we have always maintained the safety of our equipment with consideration of the residents who happen to be our customers. We have invested efforts and money to ensure that the maximum radiation frequency exposure is in line with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) limit guidelines which is at 4.5W/[m.sup.2]."

"We will continue to ensure that we remain way below that limit and I am proud to say that currently the emission rate is 0.1W/m2," said Tim Ekandjo, chief hu man capital and corporate affairs officer of MTC.

Ekandjo reassured the Namibian citizens that the company strictly follows and adheres to the recognised standards of production and installation of the radio network.

Furthermore, MTC is collecting data in all localities where new facilities are being developed and comparisons will continue to be made after the sites are commissioned, he said.

MTC also engaged a South African, professor Linda de Jager who is also recognised by ICNIRP, to verify the methodology and equipment used to acquire the levels of radiation emanating from MTC's radio equipment.

Professor de Jager is expected to acquire certified equipment to recheck initial measurements and to supply a second set of values for radiation protection to clearly assure that these values conform to the security levels recommended by ICNIRP, MTC said.
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Publication:Namibia Economist (Windhoek, Namibia)
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Nov 5, 2010
Words:593
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