In a time when we are constantly connected with a least one mobile device, the thought of navigating at a speed of 20 gigabits per second (in download) could be seen as an achievement.
The new technologies sector is obviously always growing and expanding, enhancing our daily lives with new learning methods and social opportunities, both at work and in our free time. A superfast connection would imply innovation, dynamism and togetherness, but we can’t ignore its negative aspects.
On 7th September, the aerospace agency SpaceX launched a few satellites into space as part of a project designed to soon give us a very high speed global network coverage (5G), offering broadband communication services. The Elon Musk Plan entails the use of rockets able to launch as many as a hundred satellites at a time for a total of 120 launches.
What are the consequences of so many objects in space? First of all the propellers used to launch these satellites produce highly polluting exhaust gases, which could modify the already depleted ozone layer protecting the Earth. If that (for us vital) part of the atmosphere dissolved, damages would be unprecedented; some scientists even define the climate changes triggered by 5G frequencies as a future ecological environmental catastrophe.
And that would put at risk not only our planet, but also ourselves. We are in fact all aware that these types of wireless devices spread millions of microwaves. It is an electromagnetic pollution which would endanger public health: in order to guarantee a 5G connection, the number of transmission aerials would double, placed on roofs and on old converted electricity poles.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published guidelines stressing the fact that applying this new technology would require having to build infrastructures able to provide coverage for a million simultaneously connected devices; which means that frequency transmitters would be very close to one another, and we would therefore be exposed to continuous and strong electromagnetic radiations. Doctors and scientists from all over the world have started analysing the issue in order to produce a detailed research on the direct and indirect consequences of this type of exposure. Last March, the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna already published on its magazine “Ramazzini News” a first phase of the study they had carried out about the increase of cancer-related pathologies caused by continuous emissions.
Besides the rise in the risk of tumours, microwaves could damage the human organism also from a neurological and physiological point of view (i.e. affecting behaviour, development, fertility).
Warnings issued by scientists don’t seem to have stopped mobile communication companies; just last week, in Huston, Verizon Wireless, America’s biggest telecommunication provider, opened the first house with superfast connection. The company has claimed to be able to guarantee 5G connection with a service which will cost 50 dollars a month for its customers and 70 for other providers’ customers.
In Italy, where we are still at an experimental stage, the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE Italia) is fighting to be listened to.
“In the initial running of the tests – declared in a press release Agostino Di Ciaula, president of ISDE Italia’s scientific committee – 4 million Italians will be exposed to high frequency electromagnetic fields, with density of exposure and frequencies at levels never investigated before. From September the operation will extend to the whole country. Underestimating or ignoring the value of scientific evidences made available doesn’t seem to be ethically acceptable”.
In this regard, as many as 170 scientists, doctors and environmental organizations are supporting a campaign to get the UN, the WHO and other UE agencies to temporarily stop the experimentation with 5G technology and the installation of aerials for the transmission of its signal. Until we have clear and verified proof that this technological innovation is actually harmless, the population shouldn’t be exposed to potential risks.
Technological and social evolution is a constant in the history of humanity and can’t be stopped, but how far will it go?
Once we have 5G, virtual reality and autonomous driving, scientists will keep thinking of new ways to bring innovation to the field of infrastructures and communication, in order to make people’s lives easier and faster, but we can’t help wondering: at what cost?