On 25 January 2020, further protests against the roll of 5G mobile technology took place in 16 towns across Switzerland, according to protest organisers.
The protests follow the publishing of an inconclusive Swiss report by experts on the health risks of the radiation emitted by the technology published on 28 November 2019.
Some hoped the much-awaited report would provide greater clarity on the health risks of the technology, however it contained no new findings. The authors recommended more research on possible health risks and more information for the public. Protestors who argue for a precautionary approach have taken this to mean the rollout should be halted until we know more.
The ball is now back in the government’s court. Some Swiss cantons, such as Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Jura have already stopped issuing permits to erect new 5G masts.
In addition to protesting, anti-5G groups have launched a referendum aimed at placing limits on the radiation from the technology.
There are two kinds of electromagnetic radiation: ionising and non-ionising. Most scientists agree that high frequency ionising radiation, which includes ultraviolet rays, x-rays and gamma rays, can be harmful in high doses and cause cellular damage including cancer. However, the risks posed by non-ionising radiation, which include radio frequency, mobile spectrum and microwave radiation, are less known to the public and more controversial among scientists.
Many scientists say there is no convincing evidence that the non-ionising frequencies used for mobile phone networks cause cellular damage. They argue this radiation lacks sufficient energy to break DNA. However, others argue that non-ionising radiation, like ionising radiation, can also cause cellular damage and other disorders.
A recently published survey shows that around 60% of Switzerland’s population considers mobile phone antenna to be either fairly (42%) or very dangerous (18%) for humans and the environment.
However, as Urs Schaeppi of Swisscom points out “People are railing against the mobile phone masts, but at the same time are using the infrastructure more than ever”.
Anti-5G protests (in English)