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Sunday, 15 November 2015 00:00

Our Environment, Fracking and Our Constitution

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"The South African constitution recognises that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being and also recognises the right to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations. "

Drakensberg and KZN Midlands is the water factory for millions of people in the south eastern half of South Africa.
An American owned company, Rhino Oil & Gas, has applied for a prospecting license for the already water stressed areas of Matatiele, Richmond, Eston, Pietermaritzburg, Hilton, Howick, Karkloof, Balgowan, Dargle, Kranskop, Weenen, Nkandla and Vryheid. Public Meetings take place in November 2015, so we have to act fast! The area includes the Umzimvubu Catchment, which is earmarked for extensive water supply investment under the National Development Plan. Why is Minister Mokonyane not taking a stand to prevent contamination of water resources? As another month passes with no rain in sight, KZN farmers have lost 30 000 head of cattle this year alone due to the province's driest year in over a century. It was announced two weeks ago that Greytown was restricted to just four hours of water a day and Wednesday that iLembe, a North Coast district ­municipality, had enough water for about 120 days, just three months.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has unknown long term impacts on human and animal health through exposure to the chemicals used in the process. Groundwater may become contaminated. Fracking requires about 20 million litres of water for each drill site. Few people will have access to the skilled job requirements, and thousands of rural people may be adversely affected through compromised health and farming. We need renewable energy, not short term fossil fuel extraction at the expense of our water and well being. Sustainable farming generates better returns for longer periods for more people, with limited adverse impacts, than fracking can ever offer.

 

If you drink water, you must sign now!

 

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