Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Warm reception

Life without Handphones got many people quite stirred up. Since then I have read up a little and talked to a few people, including an expert on environmental health/safety.

This is, in a gist, is what I can conclude:
  • the evidence so far does not show any links between handphone radiation and cancer
  • but the epistemological studies will take maybe another 10 years to show any conclusive evidence (either way)
  • handphone radiation is what is called non-ionizing; in plain language it won't cook your brains, or other parts of your body (i.e. it won't modify your DNA);
  • but the radiation may actually make your flesh feel hot (it's not just the battery but also the radiation) especially if you keep you handphone in you trouser pocket
  • the ionizing radiation are x-ray and gamma-rays (I heard from someone that radiographers working in cancer hospitals are sterile because of their work; a myth probably?)
  • we should, however, walk on the side of caution; reduce our exposure to handphone radiations (don't talk for hours on the handphone; just say "hello ... Ok, yes, ... bye")
  • you can reduce radiation to your body by using a cordless earpiece or earphone with cord; keeping the antenna further away from your body reduces radiation; but carrying your handphone in a porch around your waist when talking on the handphone does not help
  • you should not only be concerned about the handset but also the transmitting or base station; in fact, if you are using a handphone behind an obstacle such as abuilding, the station may try to send out a stronger signal; that means the people who are near the transmitting station (residents, office workers) will be the ones getting more radiation
  • and our transmitting towers are at Chancellory and the Computer Science School full of people underneath; also at the water tower near the tadika

We had a meeting of "powerful enough people" (which includes me, I guess) just about half an hour ago and this was our consensus:

  • we agreed that shutting down the towers, without any feasible alternative, is not a good solution (tak sejahtera lah)
  • we need to engage the Multimedia Commission; talk to their experts to get their points of view
  • we need to walk on the side of caution; we need to create greater awareness amongst handphone users of the potential hazards (don't talk on the handphone for more than 5 minutes at a time for instance); we need to call in some experts for seminars and workshops (not just for the campus community but for everybody)
  • we need to engage the telcos (all of the them) and discuss a better solution for the campus; one proposal is to shift all the transmitting stations across to the unpopulated hillside of the campus; make sure the hostels are not in the "direct line of fire"; all the telcos to share the cost of one common tower.
  • we should also engage the telcos on responsible marketing; they try to encourage you to talk more on the handphones (the more you talk the cheaper the rate! yah right)

When we got all the facts together, we will put up a plan and alternative proposal to the University Authorities for a decision.

So, what you think? Any other ideas?


Abe said...

Aye Aye!!! way to go...
be more people-centred and sustainable..not being backwards or flintstones

benson said...

i believe everyone is more than happy to hear that, at the moment, this idea is no longer progressing.

some points i would like to bring out here is that, the school should take alert on, the following:
1) a thing is created, because it is needed.
eg: phone.
2) when u wan to take it away from our life (seemingly not so possible), please prepare
a proper, very proper,
suitable, very suitable,
good, very good,
acceptable, must be acceptable,
make sense, sense in our point of view,
of replacement.
3) otherwise, u r not wise.

and as a comp science student, if i may represent the class of year 1, i would say "NO, I DON'T MIND. I AM MORE THAN HAPPY THAT THE TELCO TOWER IS MAINTAINED"

same from abe. right?

Abe said...

to some point i agree..
to maintain the tower where it is now.. is a big no no!

shift them somewhere else that is less harmful

lee said...

hmmm.....regarding about moving those transmitting stations to the hillside....what if after 10 years we found out that handphone radiation is not harmful at all? we would've wasted the land at the hillside and materials needed to build those stations.why not think of a plan to install a panel or some sort to filter out these might-be-harmful stuff? or doing so would cut off the signal as well?hmmm...not so sure about that idea

omid said...

Therfore I will not speack with my supervisors for a long time via cellphone. Omid UPM