With the moratorium on shale gas exploration in the Karoo lifted, fracking is back on everyone’s minds. There are more lobby groups than ever before and many of them are citing the dire consequences of fracking experienced in the USA.
Fracking is banned, or under some form of restriction in more than 140 places around the world. The biggest fear is that it will contaminate the already scarce water sources in the Karoo – many farmers’ lifeblood. Economists see the potential wealth in the thus far unexploited natural-gas resource and the idea of job creation is frequently suggested as a benefit to uplift poor communities in the region. With the release of the task team’s report, many new questions have been raised and people generally feel left in the dark with regards to what will happen to their properties and the environment, now and in the future. Shell has apparently launched a charm offensive to woo municipalities into their quarter, but with the lack of a regulatory body or appropriate chemical-testing facilities in SA, who will regulate fracking, both in the exploration phase and if the process is eventually approved? 50|50 goes in search of the latest on fracking and speaks to those for and against…
In the 3rd Solar Challenge, we see the latest solar car designs battling it out for a glory in a 5400 km race around the country, when 14 cars set off in search of the title fuelled only by the sun. The journey takes them from Pretoria to places including Springbok, Cape Town, East London and Secunda, then finally back to Pretoria. The top designs can reach top speeds of about 100 km per hour. How have our local universities’ students fared? Simon was there to keep track.
In Delmas, a once-quiet, pretty little patch of greenery has been spoiled by excrement and food waste from a nearby piggery. One of our viewers has been battling for years to get his neighbour to act responsibly when it comes to getting rid of waste from this unauthorised activity.
The waste from the piggery has polluted a nearby wetland, threatens endangered species such as the giant bullfrog and has ultimately led to the loss of business for the complainant. Correspondence with various departments has been just as long, a struggle with various directives being delivered and ignored. We speak to the man whose paradise is now a pigsty.
Another great mixture of interesting creatures in this week’s VeldFokus: A young eagle learns to fly and a long, sea monster-like fish washes ashore.