Johannesburg | A group of environmental activists is urging South Africans to boycott Shell service stations during the holiday season. The environmentalists’ goal is to prevent Shell from conducting seismic surveys off the east coast.
According to Green Connection strategic lead Liziwe MacDaid several groups of people have already started protesting against the oil and gas company , Shell. Liz says on Sunday 21 November, a group of around 200 concerned environmental defenders took to the Waterfront to protest against the Shell’s seismic testing vessel, Amazon Warrior, commissioned to conduct seismic testing off the Wild Coast. The seismic testing vessel travelled down the West coast of Africa to the Wild Coast where it is to conduct seismic tests for a period of 5 months.
According to the SLR environmental consultants appointed by Shell, the gas and oil company is planning to undertake this seismic survey off the East Coast under an approved Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) which has undergone public consultation as part of the 2013 EMPr process undertaken in terms of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act and as part of the 2020 EMPr compliance audit process undertaken in terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2014. SLR Environment also states that a 30-day seismic survey notification was distributed to the public as required by the EMPr.
Liz says protesters are mostly enraged by the fact that Shell has used a legal loophole to conduct this survey since its acting on an authorization given during 2013 when no environmental impact assessment was required, which is not the case in 2021.
Protesters expressed concern for marine life, which is endangered as a result of such surveys. According to Liziwe, this will have a significant impact on the lives of many people who rely on the ocean for a living.
“The reason we are unhappy with this idea is that Shell has used a legal loophole, no environmental impact assessment was required in 2013. Now in 2021, this authorisation is being used to justify their actions. No meaningful public participation is needed, yet the seismic survey will have an impact on marine life and subsequently could impact the lives and livelihoods of the fisher communities who depend on the ocean’s resources. How can our government allow a corporation to do this without any accountability?” said Liziwe MacDaid.
“It is ludicrous, with all the credible information and the scientific evidence, that anyone can still claim that any kind of oil and gas drilling is in any way good for the planet. And if we don’t need any oil and gas drilling, then we don’t need to look for more oil and gas, and so we don’t need any more seismic surveys. This is a time for these corporations to shift from being fossil fools to working with the people to move forward to a just transition to renewable energy sources,” McDaid added.
Green Connection is an environmental justice organization that works with small-scale fishing communities to equip them with the tools they need to advocate for their own rights as well as the rights of the environment on which they rely.