Amazon is the world’s largest rain forest covering most of Brazil. It plays a significant role in slowing the pace of global warming and that is why the Amazon forest fires are a big setback for the efforts to reverse climate change.
Wildfires are common in Amazon’s dry season. But this year marks an 83% increase from 2018 and the highest since 2013. There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year alone!
Fires are also deliberately started to clear land for farming and agriculture.
Harmful Impact of Amazon Forest Fires
Amazon fires are emitting dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which is bad news for the world climate considering that the Amazon rainforest supplies Earth with 20% of its oxygen.
Almost 2 weeks after the fires first began engulfing the rainforest, the world finally came alive to this climatic disaster.
#PrayforAmazonas is trending on Twitter globally and millions of people share their concerns regarding the future of plant Earth.
According to Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme,
“The fires were a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures.”
The rainforest is a habitat of three million species of plants and animals which are in danger.
The fires are also dangerous to human life because of the high levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide being emitted. These emissions are harmful for the human respiratory system, can cause chest pains, nausea and headaches.
Darkness in Daytime
Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city turned completely dark on 19 August at just 3pm. The cause of darkness was the smoke brought in by strong winds from forest fires in Amazonas. Sao Paulo had a thunderstorm that day which combined with the smoke to cause darkness.
The smoke has covered nearly half Brazil and is even spilling over into neighboring countries Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
In the light of Amazon fires, some political controversies in Brazil have also come to surface. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil accused non-governmental organizations (NGO) of setting wildfires in the Amazon rainforest to damage his reputation after he cut their funding. But there is no proof of this claim so far.
According to Marcio Astrini, Greenpeace Brazil’s public policy coordinator, “Increased deforestation and burning are the result of the Brazil’s president’s anti-environmental policy.”
Bolsonaro is known for his skepticism regarding climate change and wanted to open the Amazon to exploit it for agriculture and mining.