DURBAN North residents have voiced overwhelming objections to a 25-metre cell phone tower proposed for Chelsea Drive by cell phone giant, MTN.
With several schools in close proximity to the proposed tower, the residents said it was not something they could accept. As a result, residents have even started a Facebook group to rally more support and awareness, called ‘Say NO to Cell Phone Towers in Durban North’.
The tower, planned to be erected on a resident’s property, has raised primarily health concerns among the community. Some of the residents who met with the Northglen News last week said they also feared that the structure would cause their property values to decline.
Monique and Kevin Peterson were just some of the residents who listed cancer as a concern.
“We have already lost one child to cancer, and we do not plan on putting ourselves or our other children at risk due to radiation or other harmful structures on our road. We have been warned about the dangers of microwaves and cell phones and yet there is no proof. Why should a cell tower be any different?” she said.
Fellow resident, Robin Thompson, echoed her sentiments, saying, “There have been many contradicting studies. The 2011 study conducted by the World Health Organisation was done five years ago.”They need to review the latest data and information. In the meanwhile, I refuse to be a guinea pig and to wait while conclusive studies are conducted.”
Kyla de Vlieg, one of the residents actively campaigning against the erection of the tower, said if approved, the tower would be built 30 metres from her bedroom and 35 metres from her children’s (aged seven and nine) bedrooms.
“The stats around the dangers of living in close proximity to cell towers are terrifying. Studies from reliable sources have suggested that the risk of cancer quadrupled among people living within 350 metres of a tower. The first question asked by the neurosurgeon of two close friends with brain tumours was, ‘Do you live in close proximity to a cell phone tower?’ And then it has been estimated that property values can drop by 30 per cent in areas where cell towers have been erected,” she said.
De Vlieg said, if the tower was approved, they would be forced to move.
Brian and Sandy de Goede also raised concerns as avid birders. “Has anyone thought about the implications this tower would have on the plants and animals? We have loads of birds species gracing our property, and it has been proven that these towers affect the environment,” he said.
Notices had been placed on several points in the area alerting people to the proposed project and providing them with 30 days to voice their opinions.
According to De Vlieg, they are aware of over 100 objections that have been submitted thus far.
“It is evident by the response from the community that it is not wanted in the area,” she said.
In MTN’s response, they referenced ICNIRP: “MTN is committed to establishing a safe and reliable mobile phone network that complies with international safety guidelines (ICNIRP). MTN has an on-going program to monitor exposure levels at their base station sites, and to ensure that no member of the public gets exposed to radio frequency fields that exceed the internationally accepted health and safety guidelines,” the statement read.