What is the influence of 5G on the environment?


Summary— We at CodingComic have investigated what 5G will / will have in the environment in which it will be rolled out. 5G is the new mobile network that will be introduced in the Netherlands, but there will still be several problems when it comes to rolling out this new technology. This new version of the mobile network is going to come in the Netherlands anyway, only there are a number of groups who are against this new version of the mobile network, because they are afraid that it will entail different health risks. We have asked the opinion of other people by using. a survey and an interview with the secretary of the EMV Knowledge Platform.


1. Introduction

5G is coming and this won't be long! [1] But what exactly is 5G, does it entail health problems and what does 5G offer us in our current society? All these questions are answered in this study, among other things. We have also set out a survey with surprising results and an interview with an important body.

5G will be no less than 50 times as fast as the current 4G, which means that on average 2.5 Megabits per second changes from the current 4G to 125 Megabits per second from the new 5G network and this is super fast! [2] Super fast drones, advanced self-driving cars, lifelike virtual reality, and many other smart gadgets can be expected with the arrival of 5G. [1] [3]

The paper is arranged in the following way. With section 2 methods we deal with the methodologies we use that we have chosen to use for our research. Section 3 lists all of our results from the research methods used. Here we deal with the literature review, the interview and the survey. In section 4 we discuss the discussion that this topic entails and, lastly, in section 5 you can read what our conclusion is based on this study.

Our main question is "What is the influence of 5G on the environment". With the following sub questions: "What is 5G?", "Where is 5G rolled out?", "What influence does 5G have on the environment", "What is the influence of 5G on other networks?", "What legal frameworks apply to apply to 5G and telecommunications? "


2. Methods

We use three research methods in our research into the influence of 5G masts on the environment. The first research method is literature research, the second research method is a survey and the third research method is an interview.

For literature research we use professional sources from organizations that have done research into 5G. When referring to this literature review, we use IEEE.

For the survey, we have drawn up a list in advance of the health complaints and social problems regarding the implementation of 5G in the area. We send this survey to students at Windesheim. We have also sent this survey to many family members and also to acquaintances. This is to get as many opinions as possible about the implementation of 5G in our environment and the health aspects.

And for our latest research method; an interview, we will conduct an interview with researchers from an official body. This official body is investigating 5G. After the interview, we will convert the data into information through coding. After this we can easily use this information for our sub questions and / or main question.


3. Results

In this section we will discuss the results we have found in our investigations.


1 What is 5G?

5G stands for 5th generation mobile network. 5G is the successor to 4G and has a larger data throughput with a lesser delay. [1] You can compare 5G and the generations before with Wi-Fi and Ethernet, they all do the same and that makes it possible to use the internet. 5G is a technology that photonics needs for transferring large amounts of data. Photonics is a technology for transferring information with light particles. Thanks to the development of photonics, much larger amounts of data can be sent and this is also more energy efficient. [4]

A frequency band is a continuous range of frequencies of light, radio waves, radiation or sound. Light, radiation and radio waves are all electromagnetic waves. 5G therefore consists of electromagnetic waves, because 5G consists of radio waves. 5G is active on a frequency band of 700, 3500 and 26000 megahertz. [5]

5G will mainly be used in three areas, namely: Healthcare, Smart homes and gaming and entertainment. Thanks to the high speeds, low latency and large bandwidth, 5G will come in handy in smart healthcare. 5G can have strong robots perform operations remotely and the robots can also monitor the patient's health values 24/7. You will also be able to control everything in your house remotely and monitor it in real time. Furthermore, 5G takes us to a new era in the field of gaming and streaming. [6]


2 Where will 5G be rolled out?

The previous sub-question explained what 5G is, how it works and in which areas it is likely to be used. In this sub-question we will go into more detail about where 5G will ultimately be rolled out. By means of literature research on this subject we will write out where 5G will be rolled out.

Before 5G will be rolled out, testing must first take place. Because 5G is not yet a standard, telecom companies must first apply for an experimental permit from the Telecom Agency. [7] After this experimental permit has been loaned, it is valid for one year and controlled tests can be carried out for one year. [7] Currently, 10 of these "5G experimental permits" have been released to companies conducting tests around 5G. [7] 5G tests are performed at the following locations: Maastricht, Eindhoven, Rijen, The Hague, Scheveningen, Hoogezand, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Zandvoort, Helmond and Heerlen. 5G tests are performed at these locations and many 5G tests have also been carried out at different bandwidths. [7]

After the 5G tests are completed and the technical standard for 5G mobile communication is out of development, people and companies can start using 5G. Furthermore, before 5G is put into operation, it is also important that companies can handle the 5G standard. [7] It is expected that 5G can be used by consumers in the Netherlands in 2020 for the first time. [8] In South America, 5G is coming very quickly, namely by the end of 2019. [8] For North America, 5G will be around 2020 and by 2023, 32 percent of the population will use 5G. [8] In the UK, the largest mobile operator, EE, has already released 5G on May 30, 2019. [8] In Germany, 5G is available for commercial use in 2020 and will become fully available over the period from 2020 to 2025 distributed and put into use throughout Germany. [8] In Belgium, mobile operators Proximus and Orange 5G are likely to roll out. [8] These are just the numbers for America, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, further on in the world 5G is also rolled out on average between 2019 and 2025. [8]

If 5G is later used by many countries, the number of 5G subscriptions will of course increase rapidly. [9] An estimate by Ericsson predicts that by 2024 5G subscriptions will have 1.9 billion users and that 5G will have coverage of no less than 65% around the world. [9]


3 What influence does 5G have on the environment?

Following our research on 5G, we did an interview with Monique Beerlage. She is General Secretary of the Electromagnetic Fields and Health Knowledge Platform. She was able to answer our questions and tell us everything about the influence that 5G has / will have on the environment

3.1 What type of radiation does 5G emit?

Beerlage starts with the release of 5G radio waves or radio frequency fields. "5G uses three main frequency bands" [10], starting with the first being close to the old GSM network, the second with the 3.5 GHz frequency band between the two Wi-Fi frequencies and finally with the 26 GHz frequency band. This is not widely used to date and is only used for size blast connections.

3.1.1 Are we already dealing with this type of radiation?

"Yes, this has been used for decades" [10]. The radiations that come with 5G is actually nothing new at all, or as Beerlage says "it is actually nothing exotic at all" [10]. As you can read earlier in this interview, the frequencies are already close to frequencies that are currently being used or have ever been used. All mobile networks emit the same radiation. So there are no new types of radiation involved. All those names sound very scary, of course, but if you are going to raise these frequencies you will eventually end up with the heat radiations of a lamp or candle and if you are going to increase it even further with light and ultraviolet light.


3.2 Are these radiations harmful in terms of size for people?

"Yes, there is scientific evidence for that" [10], so it is important that it is handled properly. Beerlage makes a comparison with a microwave. If you are exhibited at an extremely high dose of radio waves, it actually has the same effect as a microwave, those radio waves enter your body and convert that energy into heat. Inside the microwave, the signals are so strong that they can heat the food. The same can therefore happen to the body of people with an excessive amount of radio waves. "If you call, are close to a radio tower or close to a microwave, your body may only experience a slight warming up" [10]. Because it is just a little bit of warming, your body can easily process it. Beerlage also made the following comparison that if you run 3x up and down the stairs, your body already heats up more than may happen with 3 exposures to a small amount of radio waves.

3.2.1 Can some people be more sensitive to it than others?

Beerlage says that there are indeed people who indicate that they are getting health problems from the current mobile networks and multiple electrical devices. "This is what we call the electro-sensitive" [10]. However, she also says that despite the fact that several studies have been done into it, it cannot be proven that it is actually due to the signals emitted by current mobile networks. The people do indicate that they get health problems from this, one cannot prove that it is really due to the signals from mobile networks. They are also many different complaints that sometimes occur with everyone such as: insomnia, headache and loss of concentration. So it cannot be proven that these things have to do with each other. But Beerlage adds that some people may be more sensitive to that, but that has never been proven. They can't rule it out either, so if people come up with complaints, they just have to be helped because they do have those complaints.

3.2.2 Are there any other health hazards that come with telecom in combination with 5G?

A number of years ago, a number of publications were published that show that many bubbles still have a connection with brain tumors. In that study, two groups of people were tested, a group that calls a lot and a group that calls little to no. However, this has not led to a concrete conclusion as to how this can happen and this has also led to new studies in which they will investigate how radio waves can play a role in the development of brain tumors. But this money is just as good for old mobile networks as new mobile networks, so the arrival of 5G will not entail any health risks. The connection with mobile use and brain tumors is therefore not specifically related to 5G. Beerlage also says that the increase in brain tumors with the increase in mobile use cannot be seen, either in the Netherlands or in other countries. So there are indications of a possible connection with brain tumors and a lot of mobile use, but they have not yet been able to prove this.


3.3 Can other organisms also suffer from these radiations?

"This is actually the same as for humans" [10], so it is possible that plants and animals may also suffer from this. Because plants consist of water and radio waves heat that water up, so that is never good if that happens. But as Beerlage has said before, those exposures are so minimal that plants and animals will not be affected.


3.4 Is there a limit for these radiations?

There is certainly a limit, says Beerlage, and that has been agreed nationally. So all governments and telecom companies must adhere to this. With current mobile networks that have a limit and that limit depends on the frequency. Because multiple frequencies are used, the limit is between 28 volts per meter and 64 volts per meter.

3.4.1 Is the radiation level still below the 5G limit?

"5G that just has to meet that" [10]. Beerlage says that that limit has been set and that with the implementation of 5G, the radiation must remain below the limit. In the end, this is not very difficult to achieve because the measurements that are taken with transmitter masts come between 0.5 and 3 volts per meter, which is approximately 10% of the strictest limit. Only when you yourself are calling will this radiation be much higher, because then you will keep a transmitter on your ear. But this too should just stay below the limit. Ultimately, 5G also falls within the limit. Beerlage says that this limit runs up to 300 GHz and that is why the high frequency of 5 G is amply included.

3.4.2 Who monitors whether the radiation level remains below this limit?

"Manufacturers themselves indicate whether their products meet the exposure limit" [10]. In the Netherlands, we have the Telecom agency, which ensures that this is respected. They perform random measurements and check whether the radiation falls within the limits. Agency Telecom performs these tests in public spaces at masts, but also specifically on devices. If a telephone does not meet the exposure limit, it is immediately withdrawn from the market. Measures are also taken immediately in public spaces. "But we are also far below the limits in public spaces, so action has never had to be taken there" [10].


3.5 Are there many people in the Netherlands who are against the import of 5G?

"Many people are currently unhappy with the current 4G networks" [10], especially those who are electro-sensitive. With the arrival of 5G, they only see an increase in their problem. They therefore try to get as much attention as possible for this. "They are afraid that it will only get worse and that they will no longer be able to leave the house at all" [10]. These people want to prevent that they are exposed to so much outdoors that they will be bothered by it everywhere. This does not apply to everyone, but only to the electro-sensitive. Beerlage also says afterwards that this is partly justified but it actually has nothing to do with the arrival of 5G, but more with the increases in wireless devices.

The other group of people who are against 5G are people who respond more from a kind of gut feeling. "All those radiations can never be good?" [10] With the rollout of 3G, the Netherlands also saw this problem, that there was a lot of resistance to 3G and with the rollout of 4G this was actually not. While it is all the same.


3.6 Who will ultimately decide whether or not to introduce 5G?

It has already been decided, says Beerlage, after I ask this question. "The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, together with the other European member states, has determined that 5G will come" [10]. Frequency auctions will be done so that providers can buy these frequencies and then it's up to them when it comes. "So it will just happen" [10] says Beerlage. Another reason that 5G should come is that 4G will have its maximum capacity within a few years. So it is not the question whether it will come, but when. 5G works much more efficiently and therefore a much higher capacity can be achieved which is necessary if we want to continue to use our phones as we do now.


3.7 Should changes be made to the current antennas when rolling out 5G?

"I understood from the providers yesterday that most antennas can be transferred from 4G to 5G with a software update" [10]. Beerlage only says that the expectation is that in the short term as much as 10% of that type of antenna must be added. And that particularly concerns the areas where there is not yet sufficient coverage. You will therefore see more large white antennas in your area. "An agreement has also been made that 98% of the territory must be mobile in every municipality" [10].


3.8 What do bystanders perceive the rollout of 5G?

We have made a survey that we have had other people fill in. This topic has been structured based on these results.

The people who are in the immediate vicinity of the rollout of 5G will give a natural response to this. A survey was used to get varied answers to the possible changes that bystanders may experience.

The survey is mainly spread over the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, so it can be established that the responding group will mainly be young, this is generally an age younger than 24 years. [11] The survey is basically divided into two types of questions: social and health consequences.

If we look at the most direct question from the survey, "Do you think that 5G has consequences for your health?", A majority (42%) of the opinions are the rejection of health consequences..

Influence of 5G graph1

Figure 1

A small minority (18%) are convinced that the radiation from 5G has consequences for their health, the group that are not sure has a share of 39%. The last 2 groups were also asked whether the older generations of mobile networks can be harmful and whether 5G can be harmful. A pattern has emerged from these questions, respondents who do not believe that the older generations are harmful do not believe that the fifth generation is harmful. This pattern is the same for respondents who do believe that the older generations are harmful. From this it is determined that respondents who believe that 5G is harmful also find older generations harmful.

A question has also been asked with an open answer to those who believe that the radiation is harmful. The question asks: In what way is the radiation harmful? The vast majority of respondents believe that the radiation is harmful to their brains. Respondents who have given further explanation with their answer only give symptoms of illnesses (headache, restlessness, etc.). So it has been established that those who believe that the radiation is harmful have a general consensus on the radiation, but not one provide a concrete answer to how the radiation is harmful.

Criticism has also been expressed about the effects of long-term radiation exposure, since there is no concrete evidence for this since mobile networks were put into use around 30 years ago worldwide. [12]

If we compare this with results from comparable surveys [13], this is a similar result, but the percentage of people who believe in health consequences is slightly lower.

A number of social issues that 5G can influence are also asked. For example, they were asked whether they would buy a new phone in a year. There were 3 possible answers: "No", "Yes" and "Yes, but not specifically for 5G". The survey shows that the majority (51%) will buy a new phone in a year. 35% of the majority will buy a new phone with 5G support as the underlying reason.

 We also asked how often respondents use data in steps of: "Almost never", "Occasionally" and "Daily". If the daily users are filtered out, the proportions remain about the same, with 67% for those who are going to buy a phone and 33% for those who are not going to buy a phone in a year. This means that data consumption intensity is of little importance for those who are going to buy a new phone, or are going to buy a phone with 5G support as the underlying reason, something that is expected.

The expectation of a 5G rollout speed was also asked, and the interview with Beerlage showed that it will happen fairly quickly. For example, most 4G antennas can be converted to 5G with only a software update. The respondents to the survey have a less enthusiastic expectation, only 40% of respondents expect coverage in almost all cities and 57% in a few cities. The expectation of a fast 5G roll-out is therefore very poor.

The overall picture of the survey indicates that respondents in general form a skeptical opinion about the health consequences of radiation. With a majority that are sure that the radiation is not harmful. The people who are unsure or convinced there are consequences, are also not sure which

Influence of 5G graph2

Figure 2

consequences of the radiation. This is probably because the respondents suffer from health problems whose source is somewhere else. In the interview with Beerlage these people are described as "electro-sensitive", the descriptions of Beerlage of this kind of people correspond fairly well with the results of the survey.


4 What is the influence of 5G on other networks?

In this sub-question we will look at the influence on other networks such as 4G, 3G, H +, H and GPRS on other networks as well.


4.1 Influence on weather stations

A number of radio frequencies that the mobile network must use are too close to the frequencies where weather satellites take atmospheric measurements. The 5G network can therefore disrupt weather stations. Modern meteorology needs these satellites, the measurements that these satellites take for wind, temperature, ice, rain and water vapor are disrupted by the 5G network because they use the same radio frequencies. [14]


4.2 Impact on older networks

In 5.3.8 there was talk about buying a new phone for the 5G networks, but people don't buy it before they can use 5G, but just a new phone. These new phones have 5G functionalities and will also use the 5G network of telecom companies, this means that 56.7% will switch to the new network and the old masts and satellites will no longer be used for 4G, 3G, H + H and GPRS. [15]


5 Which legal frameworks apply to 5G and telecommunications?

This sub-question looks at the legal frameworks on 5G, the masts they will install and on telecommunications.


5.1 The legal frameworks

The National Antenna Policy determines whether an environmental permit is required to install these antennas. This is true for:

- Antennas that are larger than 5 with included wear.

- Antennas that are placed on or at a monument

- Antennas that are placed in a protected cityscape or townscape

- Antennas lower than 5 meters, standing on the front yard

- Small cells that are higher than 0.5 meters on street furniture

There are also license free antennas, these antennas are lower than 5 meters and do not require an environmental license. [5]

The recommended exposure limit on magnetic fields from electronic devices in and around the house is 100 microtesla. This also applies to high-voltage lines in the area.

Limits for mobile telephones and masts are set in European standards. Manufacturers are therefore obliged to meet these requirements. The Telecom agency checks this. [16]

The exposure limit for electromagnetic fields is between 10 and 400 megahertz and is 28V / m (volts per meter).

The limits for 400 to 2000 megahertz and are calculated per frequency and go up to 61V / m.

The limits for 2000 megahertz to 300 gigahertz apply a fixed limit of 61V / m.


5.2 Are these legal frameworks also complied with?

Legal limits have been set for the 5G signals around the frequency, for the time being these are not being complied with and telecom companies want to send more powerful signals than those limits allow.


4. Discussion



The interview indicates that 5G is harmful, but limits have been set that it has no harmful effect on humans themselves. The research indicates that the majority (42.4%) think that 5G is not harmful and that 39.4% do not know, but the interview indicates that 5G is harmful but not within the limits. So the answer to the main question: what influence does 5g have on the environment?

5G does have an effect on people and their environment, but it is not enough that it is harmful and can cause health problems. And people don't have to be afraid of the harmfulness of 5G.



Based on this research, we can conclude that 5G will come up whether people agree or disagree. It has also emerged that 5G itself is not harmful to people and their environment to the extent to which it is implemented. Limits have been set and in the Netherlands we are still so far below those limits that we do not have to worry. There will always be people who are against it. But the interview with Monique Beerlage shows that this was already the case with 3G, 4G and now also with 5G. Yes, there are people who say that they can be bothered by the radio waves transmitted by the mobile networks, but this cannot be proven or denied. So here you come across a difficult problem that requires further investigation. There will only be some nuisance for building new antennas that are needed to roll out 5G, which doesn't have to be the case everywhere because the antennas can also be updated to prepare them for 5G.

The survey shows that 18.2% (Figure 2) of people are going to buy a new mobile phone specifically for the use of 5G. So 4G would be used for quite a long time until the capacity of 4G has reached its limit and everyone has to switch to 5G.



Our advice is not to worry too much. 5G is coming and it is ensured that it is safe for everyone.


Suggestion for follow-up research

At present, it is not yet possible to draw broad conclusions with regard to 5G and the environment; this is partly due to the fact that the rollout of 5G is not yet there and that a small-scale investigation has been carried out into the possible damage the new network can cause. They have done this by means of small roll-outs in specific places and by testing what the possible effects are. This has also been tested because 5G is actually the same as all previous mobile networks. It emits the same radio waves but a different frequency is used. In this way they can also take tests and grades of tests from 3G and 4G to 5G. This allows us to see in a small frame what happens both socially and when 5G is rolled out and what damage it can cause, but not yet on the full rollout of 5G.

As the results of the survey show, it appears that the respondents do not know exactly what the rollout of 5G means to them. The respondents also do not yet have a picture of the rollout speed and coverage of 5G throughout the Netherlands. This is probably because the respondents do not know enough about the subject and therefore quickly come to an uninformed opinion. The survey is also not a very reliable source due to the relatively low number of responses.

So we recommend that you do a follow-up investigation as soon as 5G has been rolled out and more information about this is released. Furthermore, we recommend that you also investigate whether people such as the "electro-sensitive" can actually get negative effects from these radio waves. This has not been able to prove to date, but it has also been impossible to deny. That is why it is important that further research is done to make it as pleasant as possible for everyone.




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