Birds and Trees of Northern Greece: Population Declines since the Advent of 4G Wireless; an Observational Study

Excerpts from abstract:

In the winter of 2016-2017, my husband and I realized that nearly all the birds in the vicinity of local cell towers on the island of Samos had disappeared. In fact, numbers had been steadily falling since the island’s wireless networks had been upgraded to 4G in late 2014. As no other local environmental factors had changed, we wondered whether the wireless signals were to blame. After doing a lot of research, we concluded that the electromagnetic radiation from the cell towers and from local Wi-Fi was probably responsible for the birds’ disappearance.

We wondered if bird populations were also declining in other parts of the country. In the spring of 2017, my husband and I spent over two months (April through mid-June) visiting the important birding sites of northern Greece including Lake Kerkini, Lake Ismarida, the Nestos Delta, the Evros Delta, Dadia and the Prespa Lakes. We have spent considerable time in these areas in the past decade and we know them well.

We observed one significant change since our last visit in 2014. A great many new cell towers have been installed and wireless coverage has increased exponentially. Highway corridors and major towns are now 4G/LTE, as are many beach resorts. In other vicinities which are still 3G, there are only a few areas with poor or no coverage. These are due primarily to Greece’s mountainous terrain.

With the advent of boosted 3G, 4G and LTE wireless communications, birds and trees, as well as insects, are rapidly disappearing from the Greek landscape. Telecommunications companies plan to launch 5G in 2020. If all continues as planned, the consequences will be catastrophic for nature in Greece.

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