A visiting British microwaves scientist has claimed that the Mascom tower that used to stand on the royal hill in Mochudi was just too dangerous for people's health.
Barrie Trower, was hosted by Bakgatla for a one-day workshop on the dangers of cellphone technology at Rasesa Lodge on Friday.
Unknown people destroyed the Mascom tower early this year after the Bagatla tribe resolved in a kgotla meeting it would be demolished so that their Kgosi Nkolo, Kgafela II, could return to the palace to rule his nation.
Before that the youthful ruler lived in Median village because he feared that his life as well as those of the young children he is raising would be compromised if they lived under the Mascom tower. Gael insists that his father, the late Kiosk Lynched II, who died of brain tumour in 2007, suffered from the effects of the microwaves emitted by the tower.
Police are said to be investigating the destruction of the tower with the aim of prosecuting the perpetrators.
Trower, who says he has been engaged by several European governments in the field of microwaves, and cellphone technology, says he recommends that cellphone towers be located seven kilometres away from a community. "That is for an average one, but for a bigger tower like the one that was on the hill, it should be nine kilometres.
Trower said unlike other waves, microwaves are especially dangerous because they can penetrate any object.
He told the workshop that cellphones are unsafe for use by children under 16 years of age because the microwaves can destroy their still growing immune systems.
Trower said children exposed to cell phone towers, which are usually erected near homes, schools and churches are at a greater risk because the microwaves attack their immune systems before they are fully functional. He said the microwaves easily penetrate children's soft bones, skulls and bone marrow resulting in all sorts of ailments.
Trower said young women are also in danger especially those sleeping near cellphone towers. "Young women have delicate cells that cannot withstand radiation...if you sleep near a microwave field, cancer cells that are usually produced by the body are being destroyed, thereby increasing chances of cancer".
He also said ovaries in young women can be adversely affected as microwave
However, Trower said after his presentation in France, that that country's government is now spending 172 million Euros pulling WIFI systems out of schools. He also said around the world today eight countries have banned the use of cellphones for children less than 16 years of age.
Some of the psychological effects of exposure to cellphone radiation among children, according to Trower include aggressive behaviour, suicidal tendencies among the youth, poor concentration in the classroom, leukaemia, cancer and poor immune system.
However, the scientist offered hope, saying that the cell phone industry can choose to drastically reduce the radiation level although that may affect their revenues. " You can have your cellphones, it just has to be set at a lower level, and eight countries have now adopted the safer level".
However, the scientist said naturally the industry would want to pump up more microwaves power to make profits by offering features like video and movie downloads. With the World Cup coming to South Africa in a few weeks' time, Trower said the cellphone industry would want to enable subscribers to download World Cup matches highlights.
The scientist also lashed at the cellphone industry for taking advantage of the communities' ignorance when they introduce cellphones.
He said the telecommunications industry should ideally follow the International Certificate for Non-Ionizing in their operations but they do not follow the guidelines to the letter. "They are naughty...it says children, and the elderly need different microwave level. So before they put it up (the cellphone tower), they should find out first about the children, and the elderly in the locality and also ask the community to report any cases of ailment that might arise as a result of the tower", Trower told the workshop.