Telekom Romania is addressing all its environmental aspects, including in its strategy and management systems not just the material aspects but also the aspects with a lower impact. We are monitoring our environmental performance regarding ozone layer depletion substances, water consumption, EMF radiation, biodiversity and noise.
We are using refrigerants within our cooling systems for offices and technical rooms and our objective is to avoid and reduce the leakages of refrigerants which can occur due to technical failures, during reparations and refilling activities. To improve the control of refrigerants and increase the efficiency of our cooling systems, we have implemented a clear maintenance and verification programme which allows us to detect failures and leakages, we are working with authorized companies and experts and we trained and authorized our internal personnel. In 2015, at national level, our cooling systems lost through leakages a total quantity of 2,029 kg of refrigerants.
Water consumption is associated with our administrative and commercial activities, respectively with our office and commercial buildings. We are using water only from public sources. Besides increasing the awareness of our employees, we have limited technical influence on water usage which depends on buildings owners (except Telekom owned buildings).
In 2015 our total water consumption increased with 3.88% compared with 2014, mainly driven by the increased consumption within mobile operations.
Compliance with environmental laws and regulations
In 2015 we have received 3 external complaints regarding the noise impact of our equipment. The complaints have been checked together with the Environmental Guard and generated a set of 10 corrective measures which have been implemented. In the reporting period, Telekom Romania Communications and Telekom Romania Mobile Communications were not part of any other incidents of non-compliance with environmental regulation.
Telekom Romania is aware of the high value of biodiversity for Romania and recognizes the close relationship between biodiversity, sustainable development and human well-being. At the same time, the provision of high quality telecommunication services everywhere and at any time necessitates the operation of a geographically extensive network of telecommunication installations (base stations and wireless communication stations) including, inevitably, in protected area. In 2015 we had 31 base stations and 1 building that were situated in terrestrial ecosystems protected areas in the following counties: Alba, Bihor, Brăila, Brașov, Caraș Severin, Giurgiu, Gorj, Harghita, Mehedinţi, Mureș, Sibiu, Tulcea, Valcea, Neamţ, covering a total area of 0.017 km2.
All protected area sites are developed, installed and operated based on Environmental Impact Assessment studies approved by designated authorities, in line with the national legislation. The contents of these studies and the approval process that includes a public consultation phase are specified in the relevant legislative acts. These studies, on the basis of current scientific knowledge, conclude that impacts on biodiversity are not material, and therefore there are no protected and/or restored habitat areas that are affected by the operations.
Noise and visual impact
Telecommunication technical installations are not generating noise but the auxiliary equipment. Our electricity generators exhaust and ventilator systems and outdoor cooling equipment represent noise sources of our operations. In 2015 we have receive and solved 3 external complaints regarding the noise level of our equipment. We are maintaining the noise level of our equipment bellow legal thresholds through maintenance programmes and by replacing the old equipment with new ones, part of our modernization programme.
The visual impact is associated with our Base Stations which usually have visible elements needed to be placed on high ground. We are making constant efforts to reduce the visual impact by integrating our Base Stations within existing infrastructure, collaborating with other telecommunication operators and public utilities companies. We are also using smaller Base Station equipment where possible. We did not receive any complaint regarding the visual impact of our installation in 2015. We also use different architectural techniques, especially in the urban environment, which help us to integrate and blend our equipment within the visual environment, harmonious and without any negative visual impact.
The topic of electromagnetic fields is been discussed for more than 40 years. Telekom Romania is aware about the concerns related with EMF Radiation and adopted the EMF Policy to ensure that it is addressing all this concerns. On this topic, our management and communication activities are based on the principles of transparency, awareness rising, participation and scientific approach.
Following our EMF Policy we have adopted a number of practices which help us to monitor, analyse and communicate publicly all aspects related with EMF. Based on these practices we are confident to declare that the levels of electromagnetic fields, in all our Base Stations, are significantly lower than the national limits set by the Order of the Minister of Public Health no. 193/2006 which transposes Recommendation 1999/519/EC on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz), a reference document for all the EU Member States, endorsed by the Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a non-governmental organization formally recognized by World Health Organization.
We have also conducted radio emissions study for every Base Station that we have in Romania with the occasion of environmental assessment, part of the authorization process with Romanian authorities. In 2015, there were performed 52 EMF measurements on Telekom Romania sites at the request of our external stakeholders. The measurements performed by ANCOM have not indicated levels exceeding the limits provided by the Order of the Minister of Public Health no. 1193/2006.
In its turn, the Romanian National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) makes publicly available real time results of the electromagnetic field strength measurements performed through its fixed monitoring sensors installed in urban centers. In addition, ANCOM performs measurements with mobile equipments which are also publicly available.
Find out more about EMF monitoring here.