Thursday, April 1, 2010
Radiation Testing and Dialogue at Taman Rapat Indah
Time to Discard our Remote Controls, Maybe...
25th March 2010 - It was a very sunny morning when Encik Ismail Haji Othman, Operational Director (Northern Territory) from Suruhanjaya Telekomunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM or MCMC) and his team mates arrived from Penang. He was shortly joined by Dr Md Zaini Jamaludin, an Associated Professor with UNITEN and his protege, who came all the way from Kuala Lumpur.
Their mission was to determine whether the radiation level in the area of Taman Rapat Indah comply with the guidelines of international body (59 v/m).
According to Encik Ismail, he has done hundreds of test but has yet to find 1 area which exceeded the limit.
These 2 teams came with different types of measuring device but the tests were conducted simultaneously at the same location.
SKMM reading came to 0.23 v/m (volt meter). Dr Zaini readings were a bit complicated as it broke down into details of the sources which radiates.
3 main networks found - Digi, Celcom and Maxis.
The difference between the results from 2 different devices were minimal. When asked of the differences, Encik Ismail explained that it was to be expected because different device gives out different signals, much like the various type of hand phones. What matters is the accuracy.
In the evening, the residents participated in a dialogue session with SKMM and Dr Zaini. Dr Zaini explained at great length about radiation from telco towers and telco structures.
Radiation is categorized into 2 :
i) ionizing radiation
ii) non-ionizing radiation
Ionizing radiation comes from sources like x-ray and is harmful.
Non-ionizing radiation from the telco towers will not affect the temperature or cause climate change and has no accumulative affect. Thus far, no evidence has been found to link non-ionizing radiation to the various health issues (ie. cancer).
Contrary to popular belief, there is not much difference on the level of radiation between wireless system and fixed line, nor there is a vast difference of radiation at different time of the day.
Telecommunications work on higher frequency technology.
Higher frequency technology could not penetrate our body. It only touches the skin layer.
Higher frequency could only travel a short distance of 1 - 2 km, which is why there is a need for more telco towers.
The higher the frequency, the shorter the distance it travels.
Whereby, according to WHO (World Health Organization), low frequency is more likely to contribute to the activation of cancer cells.
Our body reacts to lower frequency because we are human.
Lower frequency could penetrate our body.
Examples of low frequency technology - radio, tv, microwave and even our remote controls.
Yes, probably it is time to discard our remote controls to begin with.
The 2 types of device. On the left belongs to Dr Zaini of Uniten and the other belongs to SKMM
Radiation men in action
Briefed by Encik Ismail of SKMM
Discussion with the experts
The public were not wary of these before because they could not see the radio tower as it is usually located miles and miles away from their home.
Dr Zaini shared his experience when journeying throughout Australia. He could see very few telco structures and yet the reception was excellent. His Australian counterpart then started to point out the 'hidden' location which they erected these structures - behind the cross of churches, billboards, traffic lights etc. In Australia, towers are being camouflaged.
According to the Australian - what the public could not see, the public would not worry. -
The residents of Taman Rapat Indah received the information given by the 2 experts well. Yet their concern remains as the structures are built on top of their water tank. They wanted to know about the government guidelines on the set ups of telco structures.
Explained Encik Ismail on the Garis Panduan Pembinaan Menara dan Stuktur Telekomunikasi Kerajaan Tempatan
2 types of telecommunication set up :
1) Structure - No minimum distance from structures to residential area
- No restriction or regulation on the places where antennas could be constructed or the number of antennas or networks
- The height of the structure must not be more than half the height of the building
2) Tower - Description- steel tower which stands on the ground
- Minimum distance of 20 metres from residential area
From the left Dr Zaini, Encik Ismail.
The residents of Taman Rapat Indah voiced out their dissatisfaction with Lembaga Air Perak (LAP) which turned their water tank into a telco tower. Even though technically, only structures were set up but because of the height of the tank, they seemed similar to towers.
Residents also worry about the lack of security of the area surrounding the tank. While it was being fenced, it seemed anyone could just walk into the vicinity. They worry should their water supply be tempered with.
Residents feel that water tanks should serve as water tanks only. Telco networks should build their own towers.
LAP officers could not make it to this dialogue session but I will see to it that representatives of Taman Rapat Indah will be given the space to voice out their concerns to LAP.
Overall, the session went well. I applaud the residence for keeping their emotion in checked when I know how worried they must be with so many telco structures on their water tank.
And I thank Encik Ismail and Dr Zaini and their team mates heartily for their time and dedication.
A word of logic from Dr Zaini - If there is phone signal, there must be radiation.
* Encik Ismail of SKMM can be contacted at 04 - 323 8228 or e mail - firstname.lastname@example.org for further inquiries.