Rio De Janeiro | The Amazon forest cover, which is also called as ‘lungs of the planet’ is as important to the entire world as it is to the Brazilians.
The Amazon forest generates 20 per cent of all the oxygen we breathe and contains 10 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. It is essential in fighting global warming.
Forest fires in the are common, but this year has seen a new number in 2019 alone: 72,000 an 84% increase on the same period in 2018, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research. More than half of these fires have been in the Amazon forest.
The smoke is so thick that it resulted in a blackout for a full hour in the largest city of Brazil, Sao Paolo on Monday, August 19.
The problem is not restricted to Brazil. Neighbouring Bolivia is also experiencing unusually large wildfires that have reportedly destroyed 5,180 sq km (2,000 sq miles) of a forest.
Who is to be blamed for the fire?
Conservationists have blamed the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, for the current fires, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.
Since becoming president, Bolsonaro has opposed protections for the rainforest, saying the land should be used for agriculture and mining.
Bolsonaro, however, has blamed the NGOs for the fire. “On the question of burning in the Amazon, which in my opinion may have been initiated by NGOs because they lost money, what is the intention? To bring problems to Brazil,” the president told a steel industry congress in Brasilia, as reported by TheGuardian.
Activists have said that the President is offering absurd excuses to deflect attention from his poor policies.
INPE researcher Alberto Setzer said: “There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average.
“The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”
Farmers, also, share an equal amount of blame. They deliberately ignite the forests to clear the land for their own commercial means.
American space agency Nasa said in a statement: “The intensity and frequency of droughts… have been linked with increases in regional deforestation and anthropogenic climate change.”
Some visuals from the fire
BREAKING: Video footage shows São Paulo yesterday at 3PM. The sun is blocked out from smoke which was caused by wildfires nearly 3000km away in the Amazon rainforest.#AmazonRainforest #AmazonFirepic.twitter.com/ptTgyfkQkr
— Global News Network (@GlobalNews77) August 21, 2019
— Mr. antic (@0feelingzero) August 22, 2019
Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is on fire pic.twitter.com/UzmN19KRKB
— The Independent (@Independent) August 21, 2019
— úmâìr (@iamomaird) August 22, 2019
Norte dame a building on fire: In 10 days €750m money has been given to rebuild it.
— Just Here Chillin (@ittsmebitch) August 22, 2019
REPORTS: Amazon fire has been blazing for 20 days now, wildlife is being killed and half of Brazil is being covered in such a thick layer of dust and ashes that São Paulo got dark at 3pm yesterday because sunlight couldn’t breach through. pic.twitter.com/rd1FZp9CEK
— Abdi Rizack (@Its_Rizack) August 21, 2019