Anti-fracking protests held in US, other countries

Environmental activists in the US and several other countries held protests over the weekend against hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of rock to release natural gas trapped in underground formations, demanding a ban on the process which potentially causes groundwater contamination and air pollution.

The first coordinated action against fracking, 'global frackdown' was organised by Washington-based non-profit organisation Food & Water Watch.

Fracking involves drilling and injecting high pressure water and chemical-laced sand into rock formations underground, particularly shale, and its subsequent fracturing to release oil and gas from tight deposits.

Oil and gas fracking has been opposed by environmentalists in several countries, as they fear drinking water could be contaminated by toxic chemicals and that gas may leak into domestic water supplies.

Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said in a statemen, ''Fracking and drilling for oil and gas poses a direct and immediate threat to our drinking water, our health and our communities.''

Worldwide, opposition to drilling and fracking has escalated dramatically over the past year, and the oil and gas industry has intensified its public relations campaign to eclipse the dangers of fracking from the public, the statement said.