Katherine Times: Medical specialists examine the risks of fracking in the NT


DEA member and public health  researcher, Professor Melissa Haswell, will discuss the evidence linking shale gas mining or fracking to environmental damage, worsening climate change and potential impacts on human health at the  Royal Australasian College of Physicians annual scientific meeting in the NT in October. Also Professor Haswell will urge the NT Government to develop alternatives to fracking that won’t  compromise the health of NT communities.

A 15-month scientific inquiry by the NT Government determined the risks of fracking would be “acceptable” with the full implementation of 135 recommendations.

Many doctors however are concerned about the Territory’s large potential for fracking, its pattern of spreading across vast areas and difficulties in ensuring compliance with regulation, even in populated  areas.

Vulnerable communities include Aboriginal people, who have served as custodians of these lands for  65,000 years, and pastoralists who may be directly affected.

The Inquiry also did not take into account the potential acceleration of climate change associated with fracking--  its product, methane, is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat from the sun--despite the NT population's sensitivity to the health impacts of climate change.

First published in Katherine Times on 21 September 2018

Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photo-2880156/



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