South Africans Protest against Oil Exploration
South Africans express their opposition to corporate greed in South African waters, which they say would harm marine life in SA's Wild Coast.
Hundreds of environmentalist demonstrators took to the beaches in South Africa on Sunday to protest against oil and gas exploration by the Royal Dutch Shell.
In Cape Town protesters held up peace symbols, banners reading "Shell in Hell," "Don't Shell us Out," and a giant model snoek fish to voice their concerns bout the potential impact on marine life.
Protesters on the country's beaches called for boycotting Shell's petrol stations.
The US Congress had called on top executives of oil giants, including Shell, to testify on what they called a "long-running, industry-wide campaign to spread disinformation" regarding fossil fuels' role in causing global warming.
Other companies the US democrats had called on to testify were ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron Corporation.
Shell's plans to search for oil and gas deposits off South Africa's Wil Coast, a beloved landmark and a key tourist attraction site, pose a danger to marine animals and marine life altogether, activists say.
Royal Dutch Shell plans to use seismic waves emitted from boats equipped with air cannons to analyze the geological structure of the ocean floor, hunting for spots likely to contain hydrocarbons.
"We don't know what impact seismic blasting will have on a very rich marine life which has here for hundreds of thousands of years," said Div de Villiers, a local wildlife crime official.
"Has sufficient research been done on all our fish species? Has Shell done the research on the impact on the livelihoods of people?"
According to ecologists, the exploration technique could upset the behaviour of animals - feeding reproduction, and migration patterns.
The seismic blasting Shell would be using to locate hydrocarbons would also affect the many sea creatures that heavily rely on their sense of hearings, such as whales and dolphins.
A court on Friday rejected the popular request for an emergency injunction against Shell's plans.
The Wild Coast hosts several natural reserves and protected marine areas stretching along some 300 kilometres of unspoiled Indian Ocean shoreline.
Royal Dutch Shell's plans would see it spending 4-5 months exploring in the region in an area of 6,000 square kilometres.
Shell claimed through a spokesman that it would be cautious to minimize impacts on marine life, which many say will not be the case.