Pupils take to the street in phone antenna protest

By Jacqueline Theodoulou

PUPILS of the Dianellio Gymnasium in Nicosia took to the streets yesterday in a peaceful demonstration against the ever-increasing number of mobile telephone masts situated on buildings surrounding the school. Their gripe was with the government, who they say has not yet guaranteed the antennas are not posing a serious threat to their health.

Holding up banners and chanting “No to the masts, yes to our health!” the children stood outside their school, urging the island’s politicians to do something about the problem.

“They must bring the masts down so that we can have a better life,” a pupil told the Cyprus Mail. “We don’t know if our health is being affected by them and it worries us.”

Currently, there are 13 mobile telephone masts on buildings surrounding the school. On the APOEL football club building, located exactly opposite the school, there are two GSM masts.

Messages on pupils’ placards included “Electromagnetic Radiation: NO it’s killing me”, “Who can assure us that the antennas are not doing us harm? Nobody can guarantee our health”, and “My dear APOEL, why are you putting up your lethal mobile phone masts on your building when you know that they are killing me? If you kill me, how will I come to the football?”

A spokesman for the Pancyprian Committee against Electromagnetic Radiation said there was no national organisation that could guarantee the masts were not causing serious long-term damage.

“You can understand our worries,” he told reporters. “We need to use the principles of protection, precaution and avoidance in order to protect our children.”

The Chairman of the House Education Committee, Nicos Tornaritis of DISY, also attended the demonstration.

“It is unacceptable,” he told the press. “I think it is time for words to become actions. It is unbelievable to have cables surrounding our schoolchildren.”

Green Party Permanent Secretary George Perdikis condemned the Interior Ministry’s decision two years ago to cancel the need for companies to acquire town-planning permission to set up a mast.

“We sounded the alarm bells on time. But it seems the personal interests behind the development of mobile telecommunications – semi-governmental and private – are far more powerful than the need to ensure public health is beyond any possible danger.”

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2006



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