August , 2019
Fire ravages‘Earth’s Lungs’
11:54 am

Aniket Panja

The Amazon rainforest has been burning for severalweeks, becoming a global crisis. Known as the ‘Lungs of the Earth’, a record number of fires have ravaged the Amazonian rainforests in Brazil. Brazil’s stretch of the Amazon lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover during the first seven months of 2019 - a 39% increase over the same p

One million indigenous people call the Amazon rainforests home. In the past few months alone, the forest fires in Amazon have increased the level of carbon emission by hundreds of million tonnes, exposing the indigenous population to various health hazards. Numerous plant and animal species have been threatened by these wildfires.

Increasing wildfires

Wildfires in the Amazon have increased by 83% this year compared to the last year, according to National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil. Over 72000 wildfires have been registered, which is the highest number of wildfires recorded since records began to be kept in 2013. More than 9500 wildfires have been spotted by satellites in the past week alone. Thiago Parintintin, a 22 year old indigenous environmental agent said that increasing temperatures in the Amazon due to deforestation and expanding agricultural practices have caused these fires in the dry season.

Alarming attitude of the Brazilian President

The attitude of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has complicated things. He has termed this Brazil’s internal problem refusing help from world leaders in controlling these wildfires. He enraged environmentalists by claiming that the fires were nothing more than an act of revenge by the NGOs because he had reduced their funding. Previously, Bolsonaro had promised to restore the ailing Brazilian economy by exploring the economic potential of the Amazonian rain forests. Since he took over as the Brazilian President, deforestation has increased sharply across Brazil including in indigenous territories. He has cut the budget of the nation’s environmental enforcement agency by $23 million, which has aggravated the environmental crisis.


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