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"Bloody emitters". How radiophobia and technical illiteracy become a hearse of progress

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Photo: louvainlaneuve9/Pixabay

Photo: louvainlaneuve9/Pixabay

The Ministry of Digital Transformation reports monthly on the progress in covering the country with mobile communications. The Law "On Electronic Communications" (awaiting the President’s signature) has elevated the Internet to the quality of a universal service guaranteed by the state. Mobile operators are building 4G networks and are reporting an increase in mobile gigabyte consumption. Rural and district schools get access to the Internet, new equipment from international donors. Ukrposhta launches mobile branches to deliver orders to the regions from Rozetka or Ikea…

... somewhere in a distant Ukrainian village, residents are collecting signatures to remove the "bloody emitter".


It sounds like a stupid joke, but for Ukraine this is a completely objective reality.

According to Ericsson, 40% of Ukrainians prefer to use state-of-the-art technology, buy new devices and connect to new services immediately after they appear (data from 2014, since then such studies have not been conducted, but the figure is unlikely to be lower.— ed. note).

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Despite this, the level of technical illiteracy in our country is still off scale. Even in cities with a population of one million, you can find people who are not ready to "live under the same roof" with the mobile operators’ base stations. And in the regions there are such stories at every step.

It’s getting to be ridiculous—once "Kyivstar" under pressure from one of the villages’ residents had to dismantle the already built base station. The operator suffered several million hryvnias in losses, the village was left without high-quality communications.

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But just a couple of months later, a foreign investor was going to build a plant in this village. And one of the conditions was the presence of a stable mobile connection and the Internet. And the same residents who earlier with such fury sought to dismantle the base station began to send letters to all authorities demanding to return it.

A microwave is more dangerous than a base station—but it's a household appliance, it's hard to be afraid of it

In one of the villages of the Chernivtsi region, a conflict over the base station installation flared up on the basis of rumors that it allegedly spreads "radiation". Naturally, the statements of the neighbor's grandmother Valia/Katia/Sasha in this case turned out to be a much more weighty argument than the mobile operator’s technical expertise.

QuoteVodafone Ukraine faced the claim that base stations… disorient bees.

As a result, the company refused to launch the equipment, but in winter a flu epidemic broke out in this village and people could not get through to the ambulance.

And quite naturally they began to demand that the base station be installed. Apparently, the real flu turned out to be worse than the fictional "radiation". And there are hundreds of such cases.

The company Vodafone Ukraine in all seriousness faced the statement that the base stations allegedly disorient the bees: they forget where their hives are and are lost. At sessions of local councils, the issue of moving all base stations outside the city was more than once considered absolutely seriously—let them broadcast from afar, but so that communication in the city is good.

A reference case of radiophobia can be called a situation when residents complain of headaches from a nearby base station, write to the Sanitary and Epidemiological Station and the City Council.

However, during the proceedings, it turns out that the base station has not yet been turned on, there is no equipment on the mounted mast, and the antennas installed on the house are either still empty cases without an electronic "heart", or simply are not connected to an electrical network. But people's heads still hurt. And every Ukrainian mobile operator has such stories.

At the same time, people continue to use household appliances such as a microwave (it emits waves with a power of 800 W—like 30 base stations of mobile communications at maximum capacity), a hair dryer, an iron, an electric kettle, a refrigerator, and a washing machine.

But they all also emit electromagnetic waves. Not to mention TVs and laptops.

QuoteAnd how has humanity still not become extinct with all of this, that is the question...

There are only two endless things: the Universe and stupidity

It is bad when radiophobia reigns in the minds of people accustomed to living in the past. But it is worse when it coexists with minds that are supposed to teach us how to live in the future.

In 2017, after the post of Petro Chernyshov who at that time was the President of Kyivstar, a real battle broke out on Facebook.

"If all KPI students decide to search the Internet for the name of the rector, the connection will "collapse".

Petro blamed the leadership of the country's leading technical university—the National Technical University of Ukraine "Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute"—in that it prohibits Ukrainian mobile operators from installing base stations on their territory. The story was discussed loudly and tastefully.

Three years have passed, but, according to information from anonymous sources, nowadays, the situation is almost the same.

There is still no normal high-speed mobile communication in the university in some places, and there is a joke within the auditorium that "if all KPI students decide to search the Internet for the name of the rector at once, the connection will "collapse" in the nearby three districts".

The Ministry of Digital Transformation, in turn, shares a similar case: one of the operators wants to install a base station on the building of the Ivano-Frankivsk City Clinical Hospital to cover an area with poor communication, since there is the highest point on the ground.

But the head of the health department of the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council is against it, since he believes that the radiation will harm the patients’ health.

Despite:

  • an official letter from the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Health, indicating the state sanitary standards of Ukraine that are 45 times lower than the recommendations of the International Commission on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation;
  • the WHO’s position on the absence of harmful effects on humans when subject to the above standards;
  • the operator's position on the compliance of the equipment with state standards—

the Health Department of Ivano-Frankivsk City Council refused to install a base station.

Unfortunately, mobile operators really face local residents' concerns about the base station equipment's negative impact on health, said Stanislav Pribytko, Head of the Mobile Internet Development Department of the Ministry of Digital Transformation, in a comment to The Page.

This is normal, because technologies are developing rapidly, gaining new characteristics, and people do not always know where this can lead. In order to inform people and to understand the level of radiation, the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the Ukrainian State Center of Radio Frequencies carried out measurements of base stations. In this way we made sure that the radiation of the working stations is lower than the established state sanitary standards that, moreover, are 45 times lower than the European ones.


Stanislav Pribytko

Stanislav Pribytko

Head of the Mobile Internet Development Department of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine

The Ministry of Digital Transformation promises to continue to inform people about the radiophobia harm and how modern telecom equipment works. The goal is to provide 95% of the Ukrainian population with high-quality 4G mobile communications over the next three years.

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