The cabinet Secretary for Environment Prof Judi Wakhungu, has urged mobile telephone companies to step up stakeholders education before installing radio frequency equipment that were a source of public health concern.
She said that by involving the stakeholders in decision making, the mobile telephony companies would enhance public confidence and acceptability.
The CS called on the companies to adhere to the recommended Electro Magnetic Frequency (EMF) radiation limits by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Board, in order to assure Kenyans of safe usage of mobile phones.
Prof. Wakhungu made the remarks in speech read on her behalf by the Secretary of Administration in her Ministry, Mr. William Kiprono, during the launch of a safety booklet by Safaricom mobile telephone Company on electromagnetic frequency at a Nairobi hotel.
She said “the use of telephones was rising dramatically in Kenya with the active mobile phone users estimated at 37.8 million, while a whopping 4.77 billion people across the world use mobile phones leaving no doubt as to how central the mobile phone has become in today’s life”.
Prof Wakhungu noted that as the number of users grows, telecommunication companies are increasing their base stations in a bid to provide the best customer experience. The World Health Organization estimates that over 1.4 million base stations exist worldwide and the number is increasing significantly with the introduction of third generation technology.
Further according to a Green Power for Mobile market analysis report for East Africa, as of 2012, Kenya had the highest number of base stations at 5,565 sites the CS added.
Owing to the companies’ dependency on radio frequency fields to send, receive calls and data via the nearest base station, there has been growing uncertainties globally on possible health risks as a result of electromagnetic radiation from using mobile phones and living near base stations the CS added.
She noted that with the current development of the telephony in the world, companies would best discharge their corporate responsibility by minding their customer’s health through various innovative ways.
The Electronic magnetic Frequency safety booklet has been developed by Safaricom, National Environment Management Authority and the Communications Authority.