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SOCIAL ANALYSIS OF HOMES NEAR POWER LINE/TELECOM MAST; EFFECT ON RESIDENTS

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SOCIAL ANALYSIS OF HOMES NEAR POWER LINE/TELECOM MAST; EFFECT ON RESIDENTS

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

Background To The Study

The increasing need for functional telecommunication networks to service the desires and need of the teeming users for effective communication and the use of mobile phones has increased dramatically over the last decade. The launch of Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications in Nigeria in 2001 heralded a dawn of relieve to teeming Nigerians.

 

Today services like mobile TV, electronic payments, mobile tracking services, cheaper international calls, internet banking, and mobile banking etc. occasioned by mobile telecommunication are commonplace in the country. GSM has become a vital and an indispensable tool of transmitting or exchanging information for a modern man (Bello, 2010).

 

Wireless digital telecommunications, the internet and information communication technology have revolutionized the world and the impact of information technology (IT) has been felt in all economic and social activities in every conceivable manner. The convergence of all forms of communications on the digital playfield is opening up immense new possibilities of achieving speed, versatility, and space-time independence. The use and deployment of cellular phones and other wireless communication facilities around the world is phenomena, it has not only reduced the world into a global village but more importantly into a global household. What was once solely a business tool; wireless phones are now a mass  market consumer device

 

 

contributing positively, to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of various countries and providing job opportunities to millions of youths, professionals and even petty traders (Otubu, 2012).

 

GSM base stations and cellular telephone masts form part of the infrastructure required for an effective communication system. In order to have optimal network coverage, most base stations locate in close proximity to the target users; this is the reason telecom operators also site their masts in residential neighborhoods. The base stations transfer signals between mobile telephones and a network for mobile or normal telephony by means of radio frequency electromagnetic fields. The increasing number of people being exposed to the electromagnetic fields used for the data transfer between mobile telephones and base stations and the possible negative effect on health has been a thing of concern to many people including researchers. Many studies have linked certain health condition to hazard of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

 

Although studying effects of electromagnetic field on health have been discouraged by authoritative bodies like WHO (2006) International EMF Project and COST 281(Kundi and Hutter, 2009), available literature have not totally allayed the fear attributed to the perceived danger associated with living close to the station. The choice of where to reside as tenant is premised on many criteria, which could be internal or external to the rented apartment. The importance attached to the choice eventually made determine what they will be willing to pay as rent.

 

Osun state is one of the state currently experiencing a high pace of urbanisation compared to other emerging cities in Nigeria (Tofowomo, 2008) and there is increasing need to service the

 

 

populace with tele-communication infrastructure. This has led to proliferation of many telecommunication base stations around the city. In spite of many perceived health-related problems claimed to be associated with electromagnetic emissions from telecommunication base stations, the proximity of the stations do not appear to influence decision of many individuals on where to reside.

 

The establishment of more telecommunications infrastructure such as masts and base stations has raised some environmental concerns, especially in the area of Environmental Impact Assessment. It has become a part of the environment to see tall masts in different locations around the country. These masts though helpful, are believed to have negative health effects on people living near where they are erected. It is argued that telecom towers interfere with aircrafts approaching landing and feared that towers could fall on people and property. The erection of masts clustered in built-up areas are thus said to be hazardous.

 

To this effect, this study seeks to explain further and identify some other problems affecting resident living close to telecommunication masts. Also building on earlier research projects and study, this study sets to deepen our understanding and expose us to more facts in terms of health effect of people living close to telecommunication masts.

 

OBJECTIVE

 

 

The main objective of this study is to empirically investigate the perception of resident living close to telecommunication masts.

 

The specific objectives are;

 

 

  1. To determine the health effect of living close to the telecommunication masts

 

 

  1. To determine the effect of the radioactive emission from telecommunication masts.

 

iii.             To determine the perception on the effect of masts on residential property.

 

  1. To determine the distance of the properties from telecommunication masts.

 

  1. To determine health hazards associated with telecommunication masts.

 

 

STUDY AREA

 

 

Osogbo is the capital of Osun state, south western Nigeria. It is some 88 kilometers by road Northeast of Ibadan. It is also some 100 kilometers by road South of Ilorin and 115 kilometers Northwest of Akure. It is situated between the latitude 9.70 N and on Longitude 4.50E. It is on the railway link from Lagos to Kano. Osogbo is the capital of Osun State. Osun State is bounded by Ogun state to the South, Kwara State to the North, Ondo State to the East and Oyo State to the West. Osun State is rich in Natural and Human resources which has led to tremendous growth of Osogbo. Osogbo is south-west of Lagos Nigeria center of commerce. It is known to be geographically located in a strategic position in Nigeria as it is only about two and half hours from Lagos and about six hours from Nigeria Federal Capital Abuja.

 

Osogbo is located in the heart of the south west Nigeria, It is in the centre of Yoruba Land. The physical location of Osogbo has led to rampant in development of Infrastructure and human resources. Osogbo geographical location must have helped in it being the power house of Nigeria as Osogbo enjoys the National Grid. Osun-Osogbo being in the upland has vast land and Hills and Mountains.

 

PHYSIOGRAPHIC AND GEOLOGY

 

 

The relief of the area is mostly lowland. The elevation of the area is between 20m to 30m above the sea level. There are no highland or high mountains but of low topography with several

 

 

inland drainages. The area is drained by rivers and streams, which bring about the name “the state of the living spring”.

 

CLIMATE AND VEGETATION

 

 

The climate is tropical with high temperature, high relative humidity, and high rainfall all through the year. The rainfall is marked by double maximum between June/July and September/October rainy period. The rainfall seasons last between 6 and 8 months. The area is lowland with undulated terrain. The dry period is between November/February every year but the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) determines it. That is, the influence of the two dominant winds that blow across the region can determine whether there will be long rainy season or not. Tropical maritime known as south-west Trade Wind is stronger, it trend to push the ITCZ northward and the areas within the zone will experience constant rainfall at this time. However, where continental tropical known as North Trade Wind is stronger, the areas will experience dry, dusty, and Harmattan wind. Climate controls time and seasons throughout the year.

 

Considerably, (Adejuwon and Jeje, 1976) explained that climate factors appear to be the most influential factors of vegetation distribution and physiognomic characteristics. They further explain that various element of climate affecting plant growth, solar radiation or sunlight, temperature, water and wind. The most important effect of sunlight is in photosynthesis, that is, in the basis organic matter accumulation process (Adejuwon and Jeje, 1999).

 

Generally, the vegetation belt is lowland rainforest. This consists of a great variety or species, of which such as the Mahogany (KhayaEntradrophragma), Obeche (Triplochiton), African walnut (Lovoa).

 

 

JUSTIFICATION FOR THE STUDY

 

Life has evolved under the influence of two omnipresent forces: gravity and electromagnetism. It should be expected that both play important roles in the functional activities of organisms. Before the 1990’s radiofrequencies were mainly from a few radio and television transmitters, located in remote areas and/or very high places. Since the introduction of wireless telecommunication in the 1990’s the rollout of phone networks has caused a massive increase in electromagnetic pollution in cities and the countryside (Firstenberg 1997). Multiple sources of mobile communication result in chronic exposure of a significant part of the wildlife (and man) to microwaves at non-thermal levels (Belyaev 2005).

In recent years, individual household  has been chronically exposed to microwaves and RFR (Radiofrequency radiation) signals from various sources, including GSM and UMTS/3G wireless phones and base stations, WLAN (Wireless Local Area Networks), WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Networks such as Bluetooth), and DECT (Digital Enhanced (former European) Cordless   Telecommunications)              that                        are   erected       indiscriminately          without          studies              of environmental impact measuring long-term effects. These exposures are characterized by low intensities, varieties of signals, and long-term durations. The greater portion of this exposure is from mobile telecommunications (geometric mean in Vienna: 73% (Hutter, H. Moshammer 2006).

In Nigeria the telecommunication tower radiation is the dominating high frequency source in residential areas (Haumann 2002). Also GSM is the dominating high frequency source in the wilderness of osun state (personal observation). Numerous experimental data have provided strong evidence of thermal microwave effects and have also indicated several regularities in these effects: dependence of frequency within specific frequency windows of “resonance-type”; dependence on modulation and polarization; dependence on intensity within specific intensity windows, including super low power density comparable with intensities from base stations/masts (Haumann 2002)..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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