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Paradise is closing down: The ghastly spectre of oil drilling and fracking in fragile Okavango Delta

17 Dec 2020 - 06:45

In an op-ed in the Daily Maverick , 15th December 2020, Andreas Wilson-Spathby of the Conservation Action Trust, outlines the dangers of fracking in the Okavango Delta as follows.

For a distance of some 150km, Canadian company ReconAfrica’s oil and gas prospecting concessions border the Kavango River, a crucial source of water in a semi-arid area and the lifeline for one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wild species in the Okavango Delta into which it discharges.

The fate of one of Africa’s most valuable ecosystems may depend on results from wells being drilled deep into the bedrock beneath the Kalahari of northern Namibia and Botswana in the hunt for a petroleum reservoir.

If the search by Canadian oil and gas company ReconAfrica is successful, the region could be irrevocably transmogrified by networks of access roads, truck traffic and heavy machinery, pipelines, drill rigs and hundreds of oil and gas production wells.

Dr Annette Hübschle of the Environmental Futures Project of UCT’s Global Risk Governance Programme warns that “we should be very concerned about the long-term impacts of fracking on livelihoods, health, ecosystems, biodiversity conservation and especially climate change.”

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