One of the towers along the southern end of the Ato Boldon roadway. (Image Shastri Boodan)

Residents of Central Park, Balmain, Couva believe that two cell towers being installed in their community may expose them to harmful radiation. The towers are non-operational at this time and being anchored along the road that leads to the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

Community spokesperson Larry Ousman said the residents have been liaising with an engineer from TSTT who they feel is giving them a run-around. Ousman said “We have not been able to get information from TSTT with respect to signal strength throughout the park presently and the proposed strength afterwards.” Ousman said the engineer has been communicating with the residents using the Whatsapp platform. Ousman said the engineer was only dishing out generic information which Ousman said was not addressing their concerns.

Ousman said the residents had not written to TSTT or communicated with the entity’s corporate communications department.  Ousman said the residents had written to TATT and are considering taking protest action. “If you want to send a signal to the other end of the park then the ones closer to the park would get higher frequency and intensity of radiation.” Osman said he has gotten information from the internet. He said the residents want to see a site map showing frequency patterns “We are looking for specifics” He said there are also some residents who suffer from bad signals and welcome the installation of the towers.”Present the data that is the bottom line we are looking at.”

Guardian Media contacted Janelle David, Manager Media and Stakeholder Relations at TSTT. David provided the following statement on behalf of the telecommunications entity “TSTT holds public health and safety in the highest regard.  As such, we take the concerns expressed by some residents of the Balmain community, regarding the proposed plan to enhance coverage and service in their area, very seriously.  It is important to note that the World Health Organization states: “Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”As the national communications solutions provider, we ensure that our equipment and network infrastructure meet the required safety standards.

We conform to the guidelines established by the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, and we also operate in line with international best practices, following expert scientific guidelines. Specifically, we adhere strictly to the standards set by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an independent, non-profit scientific organization. The ICNIRP is responsible for providing guidance and advice on the health and environmental effects of non-ionizing radiation (NIR) to protect people and the environment from detrimental NIR exposure.

The guidelines set by TATT and the ICNIRP serve as cornerstones for our network policy. Typically, TSTT’s Power Density (0.04) is 112 times below the ICNIRP Limit (4.5/.04 = 112) and is well within the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits recommended by TATT. The wellbeing of the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the communities we serve is of paramount importance to TSTT. As we continue to work in the best interest of our country, we remain guided by scientific research and international best practice. We are committed to working closely with the relevant authorities and community stakeholders so that our customers can enjoy the coverage and service they deserve.”