Survival International, a British-based NGO, says the world should pay attention to the potential threat that hydraulic fracturing for gas has for the indigenous Khoisan people of Botswana.
The organisation, which aims to protect the rights of indigenous tribes, reported yesterday that large parts of Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve – home to Africa’s last hunting Khoisan – had been opened up to international companies for the controversial practice of fracking.
It warns that if the Botswana government’s plans go ahead, it could be the first country in Southern Africa to carry out the extraction of gas from deep underground.
To read the article titled, “Fracking puts Khoisan at risk, claims NGO,” click here.Source:The Post
According to Wagdy Sawahel, while a fierce debate rages about fracking in South Africa and elsewhere, the Botswana government has been silently pushing ahead with plans to produce natural gas, keeping the country in the dark as it grants concessions over vast tracts of land, including half of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve - the ancestral home of the San.
Sawahel says that a new documentary film - the High Cost of Cheap Gas - has uncovered incontrovertible evidence that drilling and fracking are underway in Botswana and that international companies are planning massive gas operations in the future.
However, he says that there has been little attempt to inform the public, despite growing international concerns about the harmful effects of natural gas production.
To read the article titled, “Fracking the Kalahari,” click here.Source:All Africa
Eskom has publicly apologised to three environmental non-governmental organisation – Greenpeace, groundWork and Earthlife Africa - after it was accused of spying on them.
Eskom chief executive, Brian Dames, argues that the use of private companies to gather intelligence from stakeholders is unacceptable and not how Eskom does business.
“To the extent that this may have happened as a consequence, even if unintended, is regrettable and Eskom apologises for this,” he explains.
To read the article titled, “Eskom apologises for spying on NGOs,” click here.Source:News 24
If energy companies and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) are successful, the Karoo a semi-desert wilderness, will soon be home to scientists and geologists mapping out shale gas fields touted as game-changers for Africa's biggest economy, and determining whether fracking will work here.
The fracking process is incurring challenges from multiple opponents - pro-fracking activists assert that a lengthy legal fight is inevitable.
"After the licence has been granted, there is going to be legal battle after legal battle after legal battle," states chairperson of the Karoo Shale Gas Community Forum, Vuyisile Booysen.
To read article titled, “Water, wealth and whites - SA's potent anti-fracking mix,” click here.Source:SABC News
Environmental group, Earthlife Africa , says Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan’s medium-term budget policy statement is clear that government must curb spending where possible.
The organisation argues that fiscal responsibility should be applied to the planned dirty and dangerous energy investments in coal and nuclear.
"We are dismayed that Minister Gordhan is continuing to support our over-reliance on coal by indicating future spending for a new coal-fired power station, Coal-3. This contradicts National Treasury's own statements that South Africa needs to reduce its carbon emissions, the very reason that Treasury wants to place a tax on carbon," it explains.
To read the article titled, “Mid-term Budget fails to deal with carbon emissions: Earthlife Africa,” click here.Source:SABC News
Nuclear Regulator places Gauteng communities, particularly pregnant women and children at risk, decision to be announced this week.
South Africans, particularly those living close to Pelindaba, whether residents of, for example, Peaconwood and Blair Athol upmarket Golf Estates or impoverished communities within Malachi, Drummond, Attridgeville and Thabo Mbeki, must brace themselves for exposure to potentially life threatening airborne minute nuclear particles being released into the Gauteng atmosphere on a daily basis for at least 10 years. These particles are the most dangerous forms of radioactive releases as they are easily inhaled and may lodge within the body where they will continuously emit potentially cancer forming radionuclides.
The ill-conceived decision made by the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) (to be announced this week), to licence two nuclear waste smelters will also allow smelted ingots into the Gauteng scrap metal market of ‘recycled’ radioactive metal, including the materials used in the development of the atomic bomb.
Routine daily emissions will be released in heavier doses to those in closer proximity to Pelindaba but these billions of invisible minute radionuclides, with half lives of many thousands of years will also be carried by the wind into other regions. Worse still, workers in the metal industry and scrap dealers will be working with radioactive metal without knowing of the hazard, with consumers buying metal products also being blissfully unaware of the potential hazards. In a worst case nuclear accident at Pelindaba, the radiation could easily reach Tshwane within two hours and Soweto within five hours.
Suspicion abounds that the Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA), plan to not only smelt the 14 000 tonnes of ‘radwaste’ metal on site, but to open up Pelindaba to imports of radioactive waste from around the world, supposedly ‘for profit’. “The trafficking of radioactive waste, a large part of which goes to countries of the South, constitutes a business of gigantic proportions, amounting to more than seven billion dollars a year in Italy alone,” said Massimo Scalia, the chairman of an investigative commission set up by the Italian parliament. Nuclear waste has been found dumped in Somalia, Malawi, Zaire, Sudan, Eritrea, Algeria, and Mozambique.
The impacts of such radiation particularly on pregnant women and children are well documented, even at so called ‘safe’ or small doses. This year alone, at least two major recalls of products because of radioactive contamination have taken place, one each in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, confirming the hazard posed by nuclear scrap metal. It must be remembered that the lowest possible exposure is one radiation track through one cell, which could result in the cell being missed (good), the cell being killed (also in a way good) or the cell being damaged, which is the first step to such mutated cells proliferating in the body, in the form of leukaemia, cancer, and other radiation induced health impacts.
This announcement, in the week when it was confirmed that 30 tons of radioactive water has been released into the ocean at Fukushima on a daily basis since the disaster over two years ago, together with the deeply worrying fact that President Jacob Zuma has quietly assumed the chair of the main nuclear decision making body, the National Nuclear Energy Coordination Committee, together with the on-going adamant pro-nuclear responses from the Department of Energy on the proposed R1 trillion nuclear build, goes against all common sense. Academics, energy activists, and many industrial players, have made clear their opposition to nuclear power, yet this does not seem to change the trajectory.
One can only assume that the feeding trough of the largest procurement in South Africa’s history is far too tempting to reject for any sensible reason.
Earthlife Africa Cape Town’s Muna Lakhani says: “It seems that our government is hell bent on the unwarranted and unnecessary exposure our workers, scrap metal dealers and the general public to nuclear radiation. There are safe alternatives such as encapsulation that will ensure no one is harmed.
Nuclear waste is an anti-democratic issue, as decisions are made behind closed doors, and hands are being gleefully rubbed at the idea of making secret money at the expense of all. Why should the South African public pay with their health? And why should service delivery be compromised at the expense of a nuclear agenda that will fill the same arms deal pockets again? We will stop this!”
The proposed R1 trillion nuclear fleet procurement will fall under the Secrecy Bill, rendering the generally opaque nuclear industry even less open to accountability.
“The public must be alerted to the menace of radiation in our workplaces and our homes, and all the horrific impacts on our people, from women being faced with birthing and the lifetime care of a malformed child, men and women being unable to conceive, and the potentially hundreds of thousands leukaemia’s, cancer and other health impacts”, commented Christine Garbett of the community based organisation, Pelindaba Working Group, whose members have actively opposed the smelter for safety and security reasons for many years.
Impoverished local communities living close to Pelindaba sent a representative to the NNR hearings where they handed in their objections and were promised to be allowed to participate in the process, where they could be informed and make input, this has now fallen by the wayside when the NNR reneged on their public undertaking to their representative.
The lengthy smelter approval process, begun more than 10 years ago, is riddled with inaccuracies, selective information and even possible illegalities in various aspects. Lawyers will be looking at various options in the near future.
Within three months of the Fukushima accident, children over 32 miles (50kilometres) from ground zero were found to be suffering from the three most common radiation sickness signs. One should not be reassured when the government announces that ‘there is no immediate health risk’ or that there is a ‘safe dose.’
For more information contact:
Mobile: 083 471 7276
Mobile: 082 568 6644
For more about Earthlife Africa Cape Town, refer to www.earthlife.org.za
To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleasesDate published:22/08/2013Organisation:Earthlife Africa Cape Town
- The World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa (WWF-SA) has submitted its proposals to the National Treasury for a carbon tax.
The organisation says this will in effect help the country create an economy with a smaller carbon footprint.
It further argues that the driving force behind this proposal is the need to steer the economy away from its dependency on fossil fuels.
To read the article titled, “WWF-SA submits proposals for a carbon tax,” click here.Source:SABC News
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), an environmental organisation, says that the production delays at the Medupi power plant in Lephalale, Limpopo, are an indicator that South Africa should focus energy efforts on renewables.
WWF’s Living Planet head unit, Saliem Fakir, points out that, "The difficulties arising at Medupi present a lesson for South Africa, adding that large bulk energy projects such as this one are, by their nature, complex and have historically demonstrated the tendency to extend beyond expected timelines and budget.”
Fakir argues that the WWF said that the coal fired power station was a relic even before its construction, adding that the country should invest in moving toward efficient energy production.
To read the article titled, “WWF slams government over Medupi,” click here.Source:News 24
New players in the oil production sector in Africa are exposed to what has been termed the oil curse, because of the selfish interest of some long-serving African leaders.
Godber Tushabe, executive director of the anti-corruption NGO Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), warns that most African countries with newly discovered oil resources are unlikely to experience the improvement in well-being that those minerals represent because most presidents will not want to cede control of that wealth to a successor.
He explains: "Only countries with political and economic freedom are going to maximise benefits from these mineral resources … without proper governance systems, that money is not only worthless, it is dangerous."
To read the article titled, “Oil industry - new actors vulnerable to oil curse,” click here.
Environmental organisation, Greenpeace Africa, joined other organisations in marking World Environment Day on 5 June 2013.
The organisation states that for it, every day is World Environment Day since continent faces many challenges and suffers from some serious environmental problems, including climate change, deforestation, water pollution, coal mining, nuclear waste, overfishing and industrial agriculture, etc.
The organisation says that the list is endless and the challenges immense, adding that committing to a better world can be done by all citizens taking small but bold steps where ever they may be.
To read the article titled, “Africa faces some serious environmental problems: Greenpeace,” click here.Source:SABC News