The Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) on 21 September 2022 launched the Electromagnetic Monitoring Field (EMF) equipment at its headquarters on Kairaba Avenue.
With the support of the World Bank, PURA procured an electromagnetic field radiation monitoring tool to effectively enhance its regulatory mandate for a robust protection system against the effects of ionizing radiation.
PURA is expected to utilise the equipment to ascertain the intensity of radiation emanating from EMF radiating sources.
Yusupha M. Joof, the director of PURA, said the authority as part of the consumer protection alliance, provided guidelines for electromagnetic monitoring.
The guidelines are published by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and include limits for the safe level of EMF.
DG Jobe added that the authority is mandated to ensure and provide information on electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and their radio base stations to address issues that may raise unnecessary alarm and panic from the public.
He said that exposure to electromagnetic fields is not a new phenomenon. “We are all exposed to a complex array of low-level electric and magnetic fields, both at home and in the workplaces.”
Hi pointed out that there have been occasional reports of a link between alleged exposure to an electromagnetic field and certain health problems such as leukemia, cancer, ocular irritation, and cataracts but according to the scientific community, these cases are not necessarily due to exposure to electromagnetic fields.
He stated that despite extensive research on humans and animal experiments, there is no evidence to show any reproducible effect to support the hypothesis that electromagnetic fields cause or act as a promoter of certain diseases,.
Alieu M. Ngum, PURA’s board chairman, said as a responsible authority per the IC Act 2009, Sections 32 and 33 mandate the provision of a framework aimed at limiting exposure of the public to electromagnetic field radiation generated by electronic communication equipment and its operational conditions to prevent harmful interference and public exposure to electrometric radiation.
The equipment is largely informed by the increasing concerns of the public, Chairman Ngum added.
He noted that the authority’s best appropriate measure to take was to acquire such
measurement equipment that would enable independent verification, evaluation, and validation of the EMF safety compliance with international standards.
Michael Jelenic, Public Sector Governance Specialist at World Bank, said they believe the technology would help PURA independently verify, evaluate and validate EMF safety compliance.
Anta Taal, project manager for The Gambia Fiscal Management at the Ministry of Finance, said the project would support PURA in conducting studies and procurement of both hardware and software effectively.