Telecom tower construction may be suspended

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – African countries including Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia may soon suspend telecommunication tower construction following allegations that mobile companies are erecting towers in sensitive areas, posing health and environmental risks.

“Mobile telecom companies should not just construct towers anywhere but should first get permission of the local authority,” said Zambian Minister of Local Government and Housing Sylvia Masebo.

Masebo has cautioned mobile companies in Zambia against constructing telecom towers in certain areas without first getting authorization from her ministry and has accused some companies of illegally erecting telecom towers that disturb the country’s ecosystem.

In Tanzania, the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) has called for the suspension of tower construction until in-depth data on the human health risks of towers is ascertained.

The council has received several complaints since last year on the construction of towers in residential areas, said NEMC director general Bonaventure Baya at a press conference in Dar es Salaam last week.

NEMC has already suspended the construction of a tower by Excellent Communication, a Tanzanian mobile company, to pave the way for investigations into the legality of erecting a tower in that location.

Ugandan lawmakers have also expressed concern that telecom companies in the country are not adhering to basic requirements of construction, saying that companies are indiscriminately erecting unregulated telecom towers in residential areas, near schools and hospitals, posing health risks to residents, patients and pupils.

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