A project to install new weather radars in Dalmatia ran into unexpected opposition after locals near the Dalmatian city of Zadar voiced health concerns in a public forum held on Monday by scientists from the state weather monitoring service (DHMZ).
The €42 million METMONIC project which is 85 percent funded by the EU plans to modernise weather monitoring in the country by installing some 350 weather stations and six radars.
These would including three radars entirely covering the coastal regions of Istria and Dalmatia, which is the one of the few remaining regions in the EU without radar coverage.
However, it seems that the project, which launched in October, might run into an unexpected stumbling block after locals at Sukosan near the city of Zadar vocally protested the plan during a public forum organised by the state weather service (DHMZ) on Monday.
In spite of DMHZ scientists' explanations that the rays emitted by radar are pointed towards the sky, and therefore different from telecommunications antennas in that they cannot conceivably pose any health risks for people on the ground, around 30 locals countered by claiming that the radars might increase risk of cancer, and blamed some pre-existing antennas for what they described as a spike in cancer deaths, local news website DalmacijaDanas reported.
The ensuing debate only ended when the head of municipality, Ante Martinac, said that the local authorities might hold a referendum on the installation of the radar. Should the referendum go forward, the procedure might considerably delay the project and leave central Dalmatia without an advanced weather monitoring system for some time.