Forest fires are certainly common in Amazon Forest, in Brazil, during the dry season, which runs from July to October. However, the condition this year has worsened as thousands of forest fires are not only ravaging the “Lungs of the Earth” but also threatens lives in nearby adaptations.
As per the reports of the National Institute of Space Research, 2019 has been the worst year for the flora and fauna in the forest. The satellite data shows an 85% increase in fire occurrences in the forest compared to 2018.
Source – National Institute of Space Research
The graph above shows that more than 75,000 forest fires have already been recorded in the first eight months of 2019. The number is nowhere close to 2018, as the authorities noted lesser (39,759) instances of forest fire between the same period, last year. Activists have accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of promoting forest clearing activities that are one of the many reasons behind the devastation.
In response, Mr. Bolsonaro, accused non-governmental organisations of starting the wildfires to defame the government’s image, reported BBC. He later said the government lacked the resources to fight the flames. The worst-affected regions due to the fire include Roraima, Acre, Rondônia and Amazonas. These regions have witnessed an unprecedented increase in fires when compared with the average across the last four years (2015-2018).
The Amazon basin keeps Global warming in check as it homes more than three million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people. The forest absorbs millions of tons of carbon emissions every year, however, when trees are cut or burned, it emits carbon into the atmosphere. With the lost portion of the rainforest, its capacity to absorb carbon also reduces.
In the midst of this, images under the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas are being shared by celebrities and world leaders showing their concern over the issue. Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio also shared a picture raising question over the lack of media coverage being given to the issue.
“Terrifying to think that the Amazon is the largest rain forest on the planet, creating 20% of the earth’s oxygen, basically the lungs of the world, has been on fire and burning for the last 16 days running, with literally NO media coverage whatsoever! Why?” he wrote.
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#Regram #RG @IamNickRose: Terrifying to think that the Amazon is the largest rain forest on the planet, creating 20% of the earth’s oxygen, basically the lungs of the world, has been on fire and burning for the last 16 days running, with literally NO media coverage whatsoever! Why?
Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt also shared her concerns
The ‘lungs of our planet’ are burning! The #AmazonRainforest is home to about 3 Mn species of plants & animals and 1 Mn indigenous people. It plays an important role in keeping the planet’s carbon dioxide levels in check. We won’t exist without it! #SaveTheAmazon #PrayforAmazonas https://t.co/9rKfTYXolL
— Alia Bhatt (@aliaa08) August 22, 2019