- The Amazon Rainforest is burning at a rate that is much higher than the past years, with over 72, 843 for this year alone.
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is being blamed for supposedly encouraging loggers and farmers to clear the land as a way of generating revenue for the country.
- The Amazon serves as the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
The Amazon Rainforest, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, is burning at a record rate that scientists have never seen before.
Data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) showed an 83 percent increase in the same period in 2018, with over 72,843 fires for this year alone.
INPE added that more than 1½ soccer fields of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every minute of every day.
Express reported that the heavy smoke caused a daytime blackout more than 1,700 miles away in Brazil’s largest city São Paulo on Monday.
Quoting Josélia Pegorim, Climatempo meteorologist, he said: “The smoke did not come from fires from the state of São Paulo, but from very dense and wide fires that have been going on for several days in Rondônia and Bolivia.
Some conservationists have blamed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the forest fires, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.
Bolsonaro believes that farming and mining bring bigger revenue to the country.
Farmers have burned parts of the forest through “slash and burn,” cutting down trees and setting them on fire to clear room to grow crops and raise livestock.
“Slash and burn” may lead to long-term harm to rainforests. Nutrients in rainforest soil are often depleted quickly, meaning farmers move on swiftly, leaving barren land in their wake.
“I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame,” said Bolsonaro.
But he then noted that it was the nongovernmental organizations that had caused the recent wave of fires in the Amazon in order to draw international criticism to his government.
The Amazon, which covers half of northwestern Brazil and extends to other South American countries, serves as a “vital carbon store” that slows down the pace of global warming.
It also shelters up to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.