Stop Fossil Fuel extraction in or around Eco-Sensitive Zones and Forest Areas

Stop Fossil Fuel extraction in or around Eco-Sensitive Zones and Forest Areas

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The recent Baghjan Oil Blowout incident displaced the local lives and killed many animals which already belong to endangered species, along with contaminating the air and water and destruction of the nearby wetlands. This incident was an outcome of doing Fossil Fuel Extraction in an area where wildlife lives diversely.

And this is just one incident of how such projects could lead to critical damage of a flourishing region, and thus, we cannot risk another such incident in India. Along with these blowouts, there are even more repercussions of doing Fossil Fuel Extraction in such biodiverse areas. Sign my petition now, asking the Indian Government to stop Fossil Fuel extraction in or around Eco-Sensitive Zones and Forest Zones, as we cannot risk one more Baghjan-like incident.

When we talk about Fossil Fuels, it includes everything from Coal and Petroleum to Natural Gas; and their extraction, especially in Forest Zones are extremely hazardous, and this must stop in order to save the terrestrial wildlife and ecosystem.

Here are the reasons why fossil fuel extraction shall be discontinued in forest areas:-

  • Deforestation is required to clear areas of land and mountains to prepare them for mining.
  • Coal mining releases lethal elements into the soil and water.
  • Coal mining increases the risk of loosening topsoils into streams and waterways and the sediments pollute our water and can smother plant life downstream and even kill fish.
  • It releases coal mine methane which is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
  • When rain falls on coal stored in piles outside, the water that comes from these piles contains heavy metal such as arsenic and lead, which seep into the land and nearby bodies of water – killing fish and plant life.
  • Such projects, when carried out in forest areas, pose a threat to the local tribes as they are dependent on these forests for their livelihood but the implementation of such projects takes a lot of their resources, including Land.
  • In the case of oil extraction, the initial exploration changes the rainforest. Roads are carved out of the forest to transport massive equipment, and areas are cleared in order to make way for drilling and oil camps. These newly cleared areas frequently attract illegal loggers and further invasions into previously inaccessible forests.
  • Once oil extraction begins, chemicals are used both to create the oil wells and to move the oil out of the well. Disposing of this waste is dangerous and complicated, and oil companies consistently ignore proper disposal methods. Also, pipelines and wells can leak, oils spills are frequent, and heavy metals are occasionally spewed into the air throughout the extraction process.
  • Indigenous and local people have historically failed to see many benefits from oil extraction, but have borne many of the costs in the form of pollution and displacement.
  • In some cases, the oil spreads through wetlands vanishing marine wildlife and if they catch a sudden fire then the whole area is destroyed.
  • Large oil and gas projects cause major environmental and social impacts, including deforestation for construction of roads, drilling platforms and pipelines, contamination from oil spills and waste-water discharge. Each kilometre of road constructed means 4-24 km2 of deforestation for colonisation and related agricultural development.
  • Many Oil Wells face blowouts, and they cause Air Pollution (sometimes the air gets so contaminated that it doesn't remain good for breathing), Water Pollution, destruction and even financial problems (because the company or government need to spend a lot of money to recover from the damage caused due to such blowouts) accompanied by fingers being pointed at the authorities.

 

In the recent incident of Baghjan Fire, the villagers in Baghjan fled from their houses to save themselves from the massive fire. On May 27, 2020, the production oil well at Baghjan 5 was blown out while workover operations were going on at the site. After the blowout, there were many devastating images, one of them was the picture of a dolphin's carcass (dead body) lying in the water, which was heavily affected by Acidic Reactions on its body. For 14 days, the oil kept spreading and then on 9th June, it caught fire. The fire spread throughout the wetlands destroying the whole ecosystem of that area, along with the once beautiful scenery. However, the devastation wasn't just limited to the destruction of local wildlife, but it highly affected the local people also. Thousands of them were shifted to relief camps, while some of their houses were destroyed due to the fire.

Overall, the impacts of fossil fuel extraction are devastating on local people, environment, marine life, animals and much more. The local people get displaced from the places they have been living at, from ages, accompanied by losing households and even domestic animals and crops.

I, Darsh Vatsa, a young Climate Activist, hereby request the Indian Government to put an end to fossil fuel extraction in Forest Zones and Eco-Sensitive Areas, including Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks also, as its impact are long-term, life-threatening and extremely devastating for both the local people and wildlife.