Destroying our Environment

No Environmental Assessment

The implementation of 5G technology has not been subject to prior environmental assessment.

The Member States have the competence and duty to environmentally asses every project. Therefore it is important that all installations come under the heading of the term “project”.

The EU has drastically changed the technical conditions for the deployment of 5G in such a way that local environmental laws are overruled and the industry can set up any kind of device no matter how harmful to the environment.

This strategy has made it possible to roll out 5G networks in Europe without prior health and environmental impact assessments, and because it was made mandatory to implement it, the Member States had no more say in this area. While the various activities of the environment are usually subject to local impact assessments, the exposure of the environment to radiation, including the dangerous RF EMF radiation, and impacts of digitalization is exempt. Therefore Member States cannot fulfill their obligation to protect the environment against such exposure even though it is required of them by national law to ensure a healthy and safe environment for the people living there.


Massive Electricity Consumption

5G would increase global CO2 emissions by 250 megatons.

Source: Green 5G or red alert?

5G is a fire-accelerator for increasing electricity demand. Far from being a solution to climate change, the ecological footprint of the digital economy would reach its peak with 5G.

According to The Shift Project: “The energy consumption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is increasing by 9% every year. It is possible to limit this growth to 1.5% per year by moving to sober digital practices. The digital transition as it is currently implemented participates to global warming more than it helps preventing it. The need for action is therefore urgent.”

The introduction of 5G with its many new energy-intensive application possibilities will lead to a further increase of electicity consumption. There has been a sharp increase in streaming of movies in high resolution. An elaborate study was able to determine that streaming in Ultra HD (comparable to 4K) requires ten times the amount of data as with HD resolution. (ref. Fraunhofer Institute IZM for the Federal Environment Agency)

The environmental footprint of digitalization is remarkable. As an example: A YouTube video uses 24-60 images per second plus sound. A 30-second video typically requires more data and uses more energy than a 3MG photo.


Enormous Waste of Raw Materials

Every smartphone includes 1000+ substances, each with its own energy-intensive, toxic waste-emitting supply chain

Source: Electronic waste–an emerging threat to the environment of urban India

In addition to the current 5G technology rollout with huge amounts of cables and antennas the introduction of billions of 5G-connected wireless devices (household appliances, watches, clothes, nappies, blinds) into our daily lives will expand consumerism, technological obsolescence and electronic waste that is difficult to recycle. European citizens have not been involved in the decisions taken to push this resource intensive new technology, or asked if this is the way we want our society to go forward.

The environmental costs of “upgrading” to a new device or a new program which often requires a new computer and new peripherals, each with embodied energy and toxins, is too high.


Resource and Energy Waste not Considered

Devices encorporated in the 5G network are not fit for a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economy.

The launch of 5G is expected to bring a many new interconnected devices to the market, most of which will replace their predecessors. Thus, the cycle of buying new and disposing of old is being significantly boosted. Instead of reducing environmental impact and saving energy there would be a whole new industry building thousands of satellites, new generations of an exploding amount of antennas, electronic devices like hundreds of millions of mobile phones, tablets and so on.

The Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC is a directive under European law that sets requirements for the environment-related design of “energy-related products” (ErP) in the common internal market of the European Union. The 2009 revision of the Directive extended its scope to energy-related products such as windows, insulation materials and certain water-using products.

The ultimate aim of the Ecodesign Directive is that manufacturers of energy-using products (EuP) will, at the design stage, be obliged to reduce the energy consumption and other negative environmental impacts of products. While the Directive’s primary aim is to reduce energy use, it is also aimed at taking other environmental factors into consideration: materials use, water use, polluting emissions, waste issues and recyclability. To date, more than 40 products fall under this directive, but no electronic devices which are used for digitalisation.


Wireless - Dangerous Pollutant

RF EMF is not classified as a pollutant in EU law.

European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) represents an annual reporting stream. E-PRTR is implemented by Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 and Commission Implementing Decision 2019/1741.

91 pollutants are included in E-PRTR. They fall under the following seven groups:

  • Greenhouse gases
  • Other gases
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Chlorinated organic substances
  • Other organic substances
  • Inorganic substances

For a list of pollutants with their description, characteristics and reporting thresholds visit EU’s Pollutants page.

RF EMF is not included in the list of these pollutants even though this radiation has many biological effects, but ICNIRP acknowledges only thermal effects.


Impact of 5G Technology on Ecosystems

The deployment of 5G is not monitored, neither is the impact of 5G technology on living ecosystems.

Hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies independent from industry strongly indicate that different RF EMF parameters cause biological effects at radiation levels far below current limit values. The radiation level will rise with the 5G deployment (ref. Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact).

5G deployment will contravene current environmental laws (Habitat- and Bird- directive) in the EU regulations and the Bern- and Bonn- conventions protecting natural habitat and migrating species (ref. The Legal Opinion on 5G by the lawyer Christian F. Jensen)

Biodiversity is declining. More than 75% decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas can only be caused by pollutants other than those which already have been examined.

Insects live in natural electromagnetic fields, and if these are superimposed by the artificial cell phone fields, this has consequences. Study results show that the size of the colonies, the performance of the worker bees, the pollen input, the honey production, the ability to orientate bees suffer and their immune defense is weakened under the influence of mobile phones.


Dangerous Satellites

No assessment on the environmental impact of the Satellite Mega-Constellations.

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted blanket license to a few privately owned companies to deploy over 80,000 low-orbit satellites.

The members of the SATCON1 Scientific Organizing Committee in their SATCON1 Report are worried about the 100,000 or more LEOsats proposed by many companies and many governments to be deployed.

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is considered to be the orbit of our planet at an altitude of about 160 to 1,000 kilometres above sea level. This area belongs to the atmosphere (as a part of the ionosphere) and due to the interaction with the surrounding, the satellites have a short lifespan (about 5 years) and must be deorbitized.

Many scientists are watching this development with concern because they see several side effects. In the EU blog article three of them are mentioned.

  • Space debris
  • Light and radio pollution
  • Radio radiation

The EU citizens have not been asked whether they accept the pervasive environmental consequences from the 5G satellites (i.e. satellites integrated in 5G network) in the name of technological progress and digitalization.


Orbital Space Considered as a Resource

Space is viewed at as a natural resource to be exploited to the limit as humanity has done with other resources, with disastrous consequences for nature which we are a part of.

By law the orbital space is not considered as part of the environment, for that reason there are no limitations. Given the great threats (ref. EU blog article) to our environment from the unrestricted deployment of radio-wave emitting 5G satellites this type of satellite deployment is incompatible with a sustainability strategy like the one the European Union has committed itself to follow.

European space activities are not assessed for their environmental impacts although the human activities in outer space have a huge impact on the environment on Earth.

As it currently reads, the European Space Policy gives little consideration to the environmental impacts of space activities. Space is viewed as just another natural resource to exploit in a “race” against other geostrategical and economic interests. Now that the cost of manufacturing and launching satellites has been significantly reduced and massive digitalization is under way the race for space is one for profit and control of data, “the new gold”, and many private actors have come into play.


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