Kara has partnered with Safaricom to host a series of Webinars to provide a platform for public discourse on current and topical issues.

The 3rd informative and interactive webinar was heldon17th November 2020. The theme of discussion was“Base Transceiver Stations & Electromagnetic Frequency: Separating Facts from Myths.”Speakers who addressed the Webinar wereMr. Zephania Ouma, Ag.Director of Compliance & Enforcement, National Environment Management Authority(NEMA), Mr. Michael Koech, Manager, Environment and Climate Change, Safaricom PLC, Mr. Fredrick Kabusia, Principal Officer, Safaricom PLC and Mr. Nelson Wasilwa, Ag. Manager, Frequency Spectrum Management, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

Mr. Wasilwa stated that the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is responsible formanaging the country’s numbering and frequency spectrum resources, and safeguarding theinterests of users of ICT services. The Authority is specifically responsible for licensing ofoperators to deploy Base Transceiver Stations & managing of Electromagnetic Frequencies. Hesaid that the Authority has been receiving complaints and concerns from people living close tobase stations and transmitter sites over potential harmful effects that EMF may have on theirhealth. He noted that the Communication Authority of Kenya works closely withtwo other government agencies in protecting the public against exposure to harmful radiation from ICT equipment in Kenya; these are The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and The Radiation Protection Board.

Mr. Zephania Ouma said that NEMA approves licenses for installation of telecommunication/radio communicationequipment’ssubject tocompliance with the Environmental Impact Assessments done by the mobile network serviceproviders.He explained the requirements from NEMAfor Environmental Impact Assessments by mobile service providers on installation of ICT infrastructures. This includes:adequate PAP Consultation with emphasis on risk communication and full disclosure of emission impacts; site specific baseline information on surrounding land use; structural stability of the tower/mast;visual impact in relation to the background;analysis of alternatives; Electricity source and Occupational Safety.

Mr. Koech gave highlights on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process done by Safaricom when installing communication infrastructures such as the base stations. The process includes: Site identification through radio planning, phone calls and social media; Commissioning of an agency to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment at the site; Type approval of communication equipment by the Communications Authority and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority; Licensing by NEMA and Conducting of Environmental Audits.He statedthat the EMF levels from Safaricom base stations are within the national standards and the ICNIRP guidelines.

Mr. Kabusia stated that Safaricom operates its mobile network services within the nationalframeworks and regulations on EMF.He noted that the emissions from base stations are usually lower than the emissions from microwaves and radio tuners, and thatthe number of base stations required for a given area normally depends on the terrain and number of people using mobile phones