The Amazon “lungs of the planet” is being shrouded in plumes of smoke as fires rage across parts of the rainforest. The figures come as the latest blow in an environmental crisis that has caused panic across the world.
It is a vital carbon store that slows down global warming while providing some 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen. Its destruction deliberate or otherwise reduces the ability of nature to suck carbon from the atmosphere. Amazon rainforest is one of Earth’s greatest natural treasures, but the number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon basin is still on the rise, even though the government has banned burning, officials said on Saturday 31/8/2019.
After 48h of Government Burning Ban, satellite data from the National Space Research Institute (INPE) showed 3,859 new outbreaks of fire, of which some 2,000 were concentrated in the Amazon region. Brazil’s space research centre (INPE) said this week that the number of fires in Brazil are 80% higher than last year. More than half are in the Amazon region, spelling disaster for the local environment and ecology.
Amazonas, Brazil’s largest state, declared a state of emergency on August 9 while Acre has been on environmental alert since August 16 due to the fires. Several other countries in the Amazon region, including Bolivia and Peru, which border Brazil, have also seen a surge in fires this year, according to INPE data.
What Brazil’s President Said:
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has suggested ranchers clearing land and NGOs hostile to his presidency may be the cause of these fires. However, environmental organizations have previously said the wildfires began with increased land-clearing and logging that was encouraged by the country’s pro-business president. Bolsonaro said he is considering sending army troops to help combat the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest, he told reporters this morning.
President Macron last week described the fires as an “international crisis” and pushed for them to be prioritised at the G7 summit which his country is hosting. G7 leaders also intend to discuss plans to reforest the Amazon, at the United Nations general assembly meeting in September. The severity of the fires, and the response by Brazil’s government, has prompted a global outcry and protests.
Who lived in Amazon:
The Amazon has been inhabited by humans for at least 11,000 years and here are more than 30 million people about two-thirds of whom live in cities carved out of the greenery. Among them one million indigenous people who are divided into some 400 tribes, according to indigenous rights group Survival International. Most live in villages, though some remain nomadic, with each tribe possessing its distinct language and culture, both of which are traditionally intimately intertwined with the surrounding environment. Many are seeing their lands burned in front of their eyes and with it their livelihood, source of food, medicines, and their very homes.
In addition to the human presence within the Amazon, the forest also houses 10% of all known wildlife species, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), with a “new” species of animal or plant discovered in the rainforest every three days on average.
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