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    ESG Press Release   “Free Hospital Wi-Fi”
    February 2016


    The ESG would like to state its concerns based on the article, entitled “Coming Soon: Free Hospital Wi-Fi” which was published by Gibraltar Chronicle, on Thursday 11th February.

    The ESG has worked closely with HM GoG and private entities on the siting of mobile phone masts antennae with reasonable satisfaction. Mutual consensus was achieved in maintaining an acceptable transmission distance, between antennae and schools, and also hospitals. Wi-Fi routers and access points also radiate microwaves, but with substantially lower power. The proximity which people get to Wi-Fi antennae and the length of exposure time is of concern; it is a question of ‘dosimetry’ i.e. the radiation dose received by the human body.

    In May 2000, the ‘Stewart Report’ commissioned by the UK Government, stated: ”A precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technologies be adopted until much more detailed and scientifically robust information on health effects becomes available” (paragraph 6.35)

    In May 2011, WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequencies
    as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B); this falls in the same category as DDT, chloroform, lead, gasoline fumes etc..
    Certainly not to be found within a hospital’s clinical environment.

    Current safety standards imposed by ‘INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON NON-IONIZING RADIATION PROTECTION’ (ICNIRP) fall short of adequate protection. These are outdated (1998), being too permissive, and ignoring possible long-term effects.

    In 6 May 2011, The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in their Doc. 12608 entitled “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment” suggested in article 8.3.2 that member states ‘…..ban all mobile phones, DECT phones or Wi-Fi or WLAN systems from classrooms and schools, as advocated by some regional authorities, medical associations, and civil society organisations.’


    The recent ‘BioInitiative 2012 Report’ prepared by 29 authors from ten countries, ten holding medical degrees (MDs), 21 PhDs, and three MSc, MA or MPHs. Among the authors are three former presidents of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and five full members of BEMS. Bioeffects are clearly established to occur with very low exposure levels (non-thermal levels) to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation exposures. The stakes are very high. Human beings are bioelectrical systems. Our hearts and brains are regulated by internal bioelectrical signals. Environmental exposures to artificial EMFs can interact with fundamental biological processes in the human body.

    In 29th January 2015, the French National Assembly made history by passing a new national law to reduce exposures to wireless radiation electromagnetic fields:
    1.Wi-Fi banned in Nursery Schools; WI-FI and Wireless devices will be banned in “the spaces dedicated to home, to rest and activities of children under 3 years”.
    2. Wi-Fi minimized in Schools; for children up to 11 years, Wi-Fi routers should be turned off when not in use for pedagogic purposes. Etc…

    ESG believes it is not prudent to roll-out 24 hours Wi-Fi throughout the whole hospital; precautionary measures should be taken on the children’s ward, maternity wards, and the elderly care wards/bedrooms.

    When there’s controversy amongst the scientific community, the ‘Precautionary Principle’ is invoked. GHA must stand on the side of caution and implement a precautionary approach.   The ESG adds it will be discussing these concerns further with Government and GHA officials.

    CEPSA Flares Commission insists No Problem! 15/02/16

    CEPSA Refinery Flares
    15th February 2016

    The European Commission (EC) has declared that according to their information, the CEPSA Oil Refinery does not breach any environmental regulations and, that despite known exceedences of pollutants such as nickel, among others, that there is no longer a problem here.

    This response was given to Ashley Fox, one of Gibraltar’s MEPs, in response to a question the ESG had asked to be tabled in Brussels.

    A mere 48 hours since this official response, on Sunday the 14th February, and the Refinery is seen displaying heavy flaring, for prolonged periods of time – hours, as reported by witnesses. Flaring releases large volumes of harmful toxins, especially when it does not burn cleanly, and should only be used for emergency purposes. Flaring is usually used when an incident has occurred, or there has been a power outage. The ESG was very concerned to see excessive flaring at the plant continue for hours resulting in heavy, thick fumes entering the airspace in neighbouring towns and surrounding environment as recorded in photographs taken and enclosed with this statement.

    Monday morning arrives with the sweet and sickly smells of the Refinery reaching the south of Gibraltar suggesting the flaring has continued well into the night.

    The ESG will be lodging a formal complaint with the EC to insist they investigate standards at the CEPSA Refinery Plant that are clearly still dangerous to citizens in the Bay who have to breathe in its emissions day in, day out.

    ESG Radio Newsletter 15/02/16

    ESG Radio Newsletter 11th February 2016

    Key words: AGADEN 40 years – New Refinery threat – Wish List Lobbying – Fireworks at New Years – Balloons – Heritage Debates – Renewable Energy – What we all can do to help!

    We recently visited an important event in Algeciras marking the 40th Anniversary of the efforts of the environmental group AGADEN. In the main presentation of its work it became obvious that while not all the battles may have been won, there had been regular and consistent successes achieved in environmental protection and wildlife conservation down to the efforts of this dedicated group of people over time. Their passion and commitment was evident and all in all was a very positive visit for us that re-established links and a start, we hope, of new collaboration ahead.

    Naturally the New Refinery threat came up and we pledged to work together on this and closely monitor the situation. Plans are currently being formed to decide the next steps.

    The ESG recently held its first main meeting with the Ministry for the Environment post elections to discuss issues on our Wish List. Some of these were tackled and others require follow up and further discussion. We will be publishing an update on our wish list in the summer to reflect changes and/highlight on-going issues. You will find this on our website at esg-gib.net.

    On another matter, namely fireworks, a recent statement by the Senior Citizens of concerns over the uncontrolled firework activity during this years’ New Year celebrations is shared and supported by the ESG and many of our members. We have also been approached by several members of the public asking for help on this issue. Outside of the immediate impact the noise and smoke will have on anyone nearby, particularly on the elderly, the very young and on animals, the toxicity of these products, both in manufacture and in use is well known. So the message should really be – lets celebrate New Years but control the number of fireworks launched which should be done by the authorities and ban independent use, unless these can be restricted to a designated area with supervision and time limits enforced, as has been suggested by some. This would make it easier to enforce a ban in estates and residential areas. Hope this won’t need a petition!!

    The ESG will also be holding meetings soon regarding the issue of massive balloon releases on National Day. We sincerely hope that a strong and just as impressive alternative will be found soon that won’t impact on the environment. Watch this space.

    Interesting to hear of the heritage debates planned for 2016. Given that heritage often overlaps with environmental issues we certainly intend to be there and hope that concerned and interested members of the public will also go. Date is the 1st March as from 6.30pm at the Main Guard on John Mackintosh Square. (next to Gibtelecom).

    With news that the world’s largest offshore wind farm is to be built in the UK, powering over one million homes and providing 300 long-term jobs, and the first phase of a mega solar plant finally completed in Morocco, also planned to power around a million homes once the entire project is completed, the ESG feels inspired and encouraged that major changes on global energy use is within reach and do-able. Our recently announced membership of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition is also positive and we hope that on-going efforts to trial different renewable energy technologies in Gibraltar will pave the way for wider use locally in the not too distant future.

    Meanwhile we can all do our bit by conserving energy, recycling, taking care with our litter, walking more – it all helps our environment!

    Do get in touch if you would like any more information.. Email at esg@gibtelecom.net.

    Thanks for listening.

    ESG PR No! to new Refinery 05/02/16


    The ESG has recently been discussing the threat of a potential new Refinery in the Bay with Spanish Environmental groups and concerned citizens.

    Public statements by the acting Foreign Minister Margallo, most recently today, shows a total lack of understanding of the impact the existing petrochemical industry has had on the health of bay residents and the living environment. This is a cross border health and environment issue of considerable magnitude.

    The Bay forms part of a “triangle of higher mortality” in the Iberian Peninsula, as identified by Professor Benach and his team of the University of Pompeu Barcelona. His studies proved that more people were dying sooner and of serious diseases in these three provinces than elsewhere in Spain. The links to heavy industrialised zones in these three areas were also undeniable.

    See: http://www.esg-gib.net/wp-content/uploads/documents/mstudy.pdf

    The policy implications of Benach studies were for urgent investigation into the causes of higher mortality, which resulted in a very high public health burden.

    A report produced by the Seville University investigated the links between health and pollution and pulled together existing research in a comprehensive and well-explained document –

    see: http://www.esg-gib.net/wp-content/uploads/documents/Health-Bulletin-Seville-University-2009.pdf

    Furthermore studies have emerged over the years highlighting the impact from industry on the bays marine environment – eg http://www.esg-gib.net/wp-content/uploads/documents/conesp1.pdf

    All these studies, coupled with citizens experiences and cross border campaigns and protests, strongly indicate that what the area needs is a widespread clean up of industrial emissions to highest standards, and a moratorium on further expansion. Not new refineries.