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Global Fracking Protest

January 25, 2020 @ 10:00 - 12:30

A peaceful 5g protest organized by Stop 5G Waterford in Ireland last year. Image: Jenny Mortell

On Saturday, 25 January a group of responsible South African citizens will gather to raise concern about the proposed roll-out of 5G infrastructure across the country. This is an international event happening in over 112 cities across the world, including Durban.

They are asking for a moratorium on 5G until is it proven safe to human and environmental health. It is a call for the application of the Precautionary Principle, founded on reams of indications of potential health damage caused by such new technology.

In Cape Town the gathering starts at 10:00 at the Green Point Lighthouse and will move along the Sea Point promenade.

Worldwide a Stop 5G Appeal has been circulating, signed by doctors, scientists and environmental organisations. There are 193,143 signatories from 203 nations and territories as of 21 January.

In South Africa this is particularly pertinent in light of the ICASA Notice 597 of 2019:

“Notice of the licensing spectrum, inviting comments in respect of the provisioning of mobile broadband wireless open access services for urban and rural areas using the complimentary bands IMT700, IMT800, IMT2300, IMT2600 and IMT3500”.

These new frequencies to be serving new 5G deployment, together with 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE form part of radio frequency electromagnetic fields that have been linked to possible health concerns. This is open for public comment only until 31 January.

Deploying 5G Communication technology does NOT only entail the new spectrum, but will be a combination of 3G, 4G technologies AND the new millimeter waves technology. Safety limits for mobile telecommunication technologies are outdated – these were set in 1998 by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) based on the premise that if radio frequency radiation limits protected the human tissue from overheating, the public was adequately protected (i.e. based on non-ionizing radiation). Since then, new information has come to light and many scientists and members of the medical fraternity are of the belief that based on scientific evidence, the combination of these technologies could cause negative effects on life forms on earth.

Current limited studies on humans and animals indicate that some effects are possible, such as impacts on the physiology of internal organs, including the brain. More research is required to validate/dispute this scientific uncertainty. Currently there seems to be no evidence that 5G protective measures are adequate to protect our environment and living organisms.

Stop 5G SA requests that the deployment is delayed in South Africa until the industry has provided proof via independent research that use of such technologies is safe – an approach that many governments, scientists, municipalities and communities across the globe suggest to be adopted.

Many cities have already placed this moratorium on the rollout of 5G.

Documented health effects date back to 1971

A wide range of probable causes of biological changes and health effects have been documented in reports dating as far back as 1971 (US Office of Naval Medical Research report) – the first 6 points below. Others that follow have been published in various peer-reviewed scientific literature:

  • Various neurological/neuropsychiatric effects, including changes in brain structure and function, changes in various types of psychological responses and changes in behaviour.
  • At least eight different endocrine (hormonal) effects.
  • Cardiac effects influencing the electrical control of the heart, including changes in ECGs, producing arrhythmias, changes that can be life threatening.
  • Chromosome breaks and other changes in chromosome structure.
  • Histological changes in the testes.
  • Cell death (what is now called apoptosis, a process important in neurodegenerative diseases).
  • Lowered male fertility including lowered sperm quality and function and also lowered female fertility (less studied).
  • Oxidative stress.
  • Changes in calcium fluxes and calcium signalling.
  • Cellular DNA damage including single strand breaks and double strand breaks in cellular DNA and also 8-OHdG in cellular DNA.
  • Cancer which is likely to involve these DNA changes but also increased rates of tumour promotion-like events.
  • Therapeutic effects including stimulation of bone growth.
  • Cataract formation (previously thought to be thermal, now known not to be).
  • Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier.
  • Melatonin depletion and sleep disruption.

Now, across the globe, 5G technology is being rolled-out without prior testing for human health hazards and environmental exposure.

Effects on fauna, flora and climate

EMF exposure studies (among others) have found:

  • in plants reduced growth, increased infection and physiological and morphological changes
  • in birds, aggressive behaviour, impaired reproduction and interference with migration
  • in livestock, especially dairy cows, reduced productivity, impaired reproduction, and sudden death
  • in rodents, increased cancer risk in three long-term studies
  • in amphibians and insects, deformities and population decline
  • in honey bees, aggressive behavior, reduced learning, reduced productivity, swarming and abandoning hives

5G to use 1000 times more energy than today’s networks

Many argue that with the deployment of 5G technologies, the adjunct new tech will place a serious load on an already stressed energy consumption field. 5G requires thousands of new cellular antennas called “small cells”, to allow connectivity for the new intelligent devices termed ad IoT (Internet of Things). Researchers predict that the energy consumption of 5G and IoT is projected to skyrocket.

An article in International Business Time reported: “Telecom industry insiders fear that the full economic and environmental price of 5G will prove far worse than its promise. Purportedly capable of delivering 1000 times as much data as today’s networks, 5G could consume up to 1000 times as much energy.”

Digital system carbon footprint to rise by 9% per year

All electronic devices require natural resources and processing.

“Behind each byte we have mining and metal processing, oil extraction, petrochemicals, manufacturing, transport, excavation (cables & infrastructure) as well as power generation. With millions of new devices (e.g. IoT as facilitated by 5G technologies) it is predicted that the carbon footprint of the global digital system (currently 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions) and its energy consumption will rise by 9% per year”

Jean-Marc Jancovici, President of The Shift Project, member of the French High Climate Council.

Health concerns around 20 000 new 5G space satellites

It is predicted that between 20 000 and 30 000 satellites will be deployed to provide 5G services from space. Eventually thousands. It is literally called the 5G race for space! Examples of some already active with launching or planning satellites are SpaceX, OneWeb, Boeing, Samsung, Telesat, LeoSat MA, Iridium Next, Amazon and Facebook.

Besides health concerns around these satellites there are also warnings around possible collisions causing space debris, weather forecast and space observation impairment, and potential environmental impact affecting nocturnal animals.

Both NASA and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have raised concerns that deployment of 5G technology at certain frequency bands could potentially interfere with the detection of water vapour in the atmosphere, thus affecting reliable weather forecast.

Could our personal data be compromised?

It has been predicted that surveillance technology will be the largest market segment for IoT utilizing the 5G Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Whilst this can be beneficial from a security point of view, there are concerns about what this will do to the privacy of individuals. The densities of surveillance equipment will increase dramatically, for example, the current 4G capacity is around 1 million devices over 500 kilometres; with 5G, this same number of devices will potentially fit and function on the same network in one square kilometre. Will privacy legislation need to be updated to ensure human rights?

Without adequate security in place there is a concern that the information gathered by the plethora of IoT devices will be made available to various industries – personal profiles could be built based on usage information of these IoT devices, undermining individual privacy rights.

“I have no doubt in my mind that, at present time, the greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields,” said Robert Becker, Ph.D Nobel Prize nominee noted for decades of research on the effects of electromagnetic radiation.


January 25, 2020
10:00 - 12:30
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