Split Estate: a documentary about the real effects of fracking

Submitted by ConsciousBabe on Fri, 2012-05-11 15:33

A heart-breaking film about the often downplayed environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracking, Split Estate is a relevant watch for all South Africans.

This doccie will open your eyes to why so many are against frackingThis doccie will open your eyes to why so many are against fracking

Dwindling petroleum resources and technical advancements is what brought on the fracking hype. How it works is that fluid is injected into rock at high pressure to encourage the release of residue gas, which is then extracted. While hydraulic fracturing remains a controversial topic, Split Estate follows the stories of those people who have been affected by it.

The title of this documentary refers to the bizarre laws surrounding landowner's rights - when the minerals below the surface belong to someone else. This was the case some years ago when a number of American farmers discovered wells being built on their land, as close as 200 feet from their homes, bringing with them bad smells and flammable pollution.

As protests and legal actions proved futile against the oil and gas industry - who incidentally were exempt from certain laws and had a hefty hand in the White House itself - residents found they had no choice but to live with it. But their troubles had only just began...

Those people living near to the oil and gas wells soon began to experience health problems: everything from respiratory infections, skin inflammations and tumours, to neurological disorders. Although oil and gas companies denied any responsibility, experts like Western Wilson (an environmental engineer) explain how chemicals used in the fracking process can be carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting.

Environmental hazards were not dealt with properly either. While toxic liquid excess was simply buried right where it was sitting, seeps from wells caused methane gas to bubble in creeks. Attempts to clean benzene from the water simply transferred it into the air, rendering farms worthless.

As there was nothing more to be done - losing against politics and economic agendas - many residents were forced to abandon their homes. While there were many protests and political gatherings, some sick people were paid settlements on the condition they stopped talking about what had happened to them.

With the proposal of fracking in our Karoo, this topic is well worth looking into. Check out the Treasure the Karoo Action Group