Saving the Planet

Fracking and the threats it presents to the environment and people

Fracking
credit: Inside Climate News

Fracking is a process that may be unfamiliar to common people yet it poses great harm both to humans and the climate.

Fracking happens when drilling is done deep into the earth after which small explosives with a mix of water, sand, and chemicals are used to break up shale rock formations containing natural gas and oil.

This technique of drilling called “hydraulic fracturing” was developed in the 1940s to get fossil fuels. It simply involves the smashing of rocks with tons of gallons of water, sand, and an assortment of chemicals in order to get gas.

Regrettably, this technique can go wrong and when this happens it can have devastating effects on people, animals, and the environment. For one, fracking can poison water sources. It can also pollute the air because it emits a massive amount of greenhouse gas ( GHG) as it involves blasting a large area of water mixed with toxic chemicals. Little wonder a lot is being said to stop fracking.

Dangers of fracking to human health and wildlife

According to one report, roughly 25% of the chemicals produced by fracking could cause cancer and other health problems owing to compounds such as methane, which is found in drinking water.

Chemicals released by fracking sites include those that can cause severe headaches, asthma symptoms, child leukemia, heart issues, and birth deformities. Furthermore, many of the 1,000 or so chemicals used in fracking are toxic to other human health. This is something to be concern about.

Fracking might kill fish by contaminating streams and rivers with its fluid, birds could be poisoned by wastewater ponds, and many species could be driven out of the wild.
While attempting to mitigate climate change, it is critical to reconsider the idea of fracking, as it has the potential to release gas to the earth’s surface along with wastewater, which might be radioactive and highly poisonous.

ReconAfrica, a Canadian oil, and gas company talked about starting a fracking technique along the banks of the Kavango River, stretching the border between Namibia and Botswana. This could have a negative impact on the environment, particularly water resources, which is a concern for countries like South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.

Namibians and environmental activists reacted to the potential of fracking with a combination of anxiety and fury after the business’s plans were widely disclosed in late 2020, and the corporation openly backtracked. ReconAfrica began emphasizing in comments that it would focus on oil and gas that could be extracted using traditional drilling methods, and it removed any references to fracking from its website.

The South African government banned fracking last year due to the negative impacts of fracking on groundwater. The government unveiled new plans to protect South Africa’s dwindling water resources through “controlled” fracking, while simultaneously allowing oil and gas companies to blast enormous amounts of water underground to extract fossil fuels.

Fracking can contaminate groundwater levels, and the chemicals used in the drilling can produce methane pollution, which has a detrimental influence on the climate. Fracking also poses a risk of death from exposure to the chemicals, as well as blowouts as a result of a gas explosion.

Waste disposal, earthquakes, and even infrastructure degradation have all contributed to a toxic environment. Normal industrial drilling already contributes significantly to climate change as we know it; however, fracking has the potential to bring the climate to the brink of collapse. Fracking should be checked, if not completely stopped, to safeguard the environment from climate change and ultimately human health.

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