Our planet’s lungs are on fire. The rainforests in Amazonia have been burning for more than two weeks now. What is going on? Who is to blame? It seems there is something hidden behind the fires, and their causes are still to be discovered.
The forest fires in Siberia, Russia, that have been disturbing the world for several weeks now are not the only ones we need to be worried about. The precious Amazon rainforest is also on fire, and it is a real disaster for the planet.
Forest fires in Amazonia: how big are they?
The rainforests in Brazil have been on fire for many days, and this is not the first time this is happening. Dense jungles catch fire practically every year. However, in 2019, the number of fire epicentres has increased dramatically compared to previous years. It is regrettable to admit that humans are considered to be one of the primary causes of the catastrophe.
INPE (Brazilian National Institute for Space Research) has already reported the highest registered number of fires in the local Amazon jungle in many years. Since the beginning of this year, there has been more than 70 thousand of them registered, and 9,507 new ones have been noticed within the last week. This number is 83% more than last year, the institute reports.
On August 12, Amazonas state declared a state of emergency due to the size of the disaster. The NASA space view of the Amazon rainforest map shows immense clouds of smoke covering the sky over vast areas of the continent.
Black rain and sun eclipse in Amazonia
On August 20 at 3 pm, the sky above São Paulo turned completely black. It became so dark that the city had to turn on street lights and drivers drove with their headlights turned on. This was not a sun eclipse that came without a prediction; it was smoke.
The rain that fell upon the heads of people in São Paulo that day was black. Local people collected it in transparent bottles in order to show its shocking colour and consistency. Totally black and smelling of smoke, this rain left no doubts that its colour was created by ash from the burning Amazon forest.
The scientists who examined the collected water came to the conclusion that it contained plenty of ash from the atmosphere. What amazed them most of all was the fact that São Paulo is located far from the burning areas, about 2,700 km away.
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Related hashtags concerning the Amazon rainforest fires have spread like lightning. Users of social networks have accused billionaires, celebrities and mass media of failing to deal with the problem of Amazon rainforest deforestation and the current disaster.
Who is to blame for the catastrophe in Amazonia?
As greenpeace.org reports, fire is a quick and dangerously efficient tool that is used for Amazon deforestation by industries and new farms that need land to breed cattle. A considerable part of the global amount of meat comes from Brazil. This is why farmers cut trees, leave the trunks to dry out and set them on fire when they dry. They then leave the ashes to fertilise the soil.
As the environmental organisation claims, August 10 and 11 were ‘Days of fire’ for farmers in the south-western areas of Pará state. Pará state is located in the very heart of the map of the Amazon rainforest.
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Representatives of Greenpeace claim that those who are turning the Amazon forest map into a map of fire are supported by the current country leader, Jair Bolsonaro who allegedly promotes deforestation in the country.
In July this year, INPE reported the dramatic increase of deforestation rates – the map of Amazon rainforest has decreased within the recent year due to the rise in wood cutting. Bolsonaro questioned the report and the then director of the institute was sacked due to the incident.
The President recently rejected the image of 'Capitão Motoserra' (Captain Chainsaw) attributed to him due to his attitude towards deforestation.
At a press conference that took place several days ago, Bolsonaro claimed that the jungle was set on fire by foreign non-governmental organisations. When asked about any evidence in favour of this statement, the President declared that the catastrophe was nothing else but a war against the government of Brazil.
Why are the forests of Amazonia so precious?
Here are several Amazon rainforest facts that can explain why these jungles are so valuable and really precious for the planet and humanity. They are considered one of the most significant resources on the planet; they stretch over an area of about 6 million square kilometres and thus are the biggest tropical forests in the world.
The jungles in the area of Amazon Brazil are called the lungs of the planet because they produce 20% of the oxygen in the atmosphere. They are about 55 million years old, and it will take many years for them to recover from the damage humans have caused to them.
The tropical jungles near Amazon in Brazil are inhabited by 50 thousand of species of plants, 500 species of mammals, 300 species of reptiles and countless types and kinds of insects (more than 1,800 species of butterflies only).
As scientists claim, every two seconds, one hectare of rainforests in Amazon Brasil is destroyed by industries. These forests are home to about 1 million indigenous South Americans. They form about 400 tribes that speak multiple languages.
While destroying the forests, those involved destroy the natural habitat of these people who live away from the industrial world and know no other home.
The precious land of Amazonia desperately needs protection; otherwise, the planet will lose one of its priceless natural treasures.
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