Water pollution is one of the most serious side effects of fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale. Extracting the gas requires spraying water and a cocktail of toxic chemicals into shale using extremely high pressure thus polluting ground water and creating left over sludge that can find its way into local drinking water. But even after a recent innovation called the “Smart Sponge” has come onto the scene to clean up the fracking mess, how much will it solve in the long run?
There are two overall solutions to reducing water pollution as a result of fracking. One: Require regulation of fracking to protect the human right to clean water and ensure the safety of local residents for the long term. Two: Invent stopgap technologies that make it safer to frack.
Environmental technology company Abtech’s Smart Sponge falls into the solution #2 category. The device can clean up fracking waste water instantaneously by absorbing only toxins and oils, leaving the water almost pollutant-free. The Smart Sponge can soak up three pounds of oil for every pound of sponge, and can then be used as fuel.
While this innovation can make the environment cleaner in the short term, it only facilitates further planet ruining. Now energy companies can re-use fuel to speed up fracking, a process that will continue requiring huge amounts of water, disrupting natural habitats, and jeopardizing the safety of local communities.
We shouldn’t be patching up a bad idea; we should be creating a better idea all together. Our innovators and research grants need to focus on wind and solar energy instead of fracking. Take action against fracking now.