amazon fire

“Spreading like wildfire” is a common expression we use for news, however, current news on environment is literally spreading like wildfire.

A chunk of the Amazon rainforest has been on fire for weeks now. The fire is so intense that it has engulfed parts of the states of Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, and Mato Grosso in Brazil and its flames are visible from space.

Take a look at this visual captured by  NASA’s Aqua satellite.

The fire is not new and shouldn’t have come as such a shock, as every year, ahead of the dry season’s arrival, farmers set fire in the region to clear land for crops. However, this time the flames got more intense than usual and it became an emergency situation.

Wildfires are 83 percent higher than this time last year.

Fires in the Rondônia nature reserve, which borders the Amazon, have been burning for more than two weeks.

You can get an idea of how critical the situation is by knowing that a NASA researcher warned that the smoke layer stretched about 3.2 million square kilometers over Latin America, which is equivalent to about 1.2 million square miles — around one-third of the United States.

One would think that this is majorly an environmental issue, however, politics has been involved in it like every other thing in the world today.

On Wednesday, Brazillian President Bolsonaro alleged that NGOs are behind the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. According to him, they are doing it to jeopardize the image of his government after he cut their funding.

Environmentalists have been unhappy, to say the least, with Bolsonaro’s plans to open the Amazon to business interests. The president also has no evidence to back his claim up, though.

Mr Bolsonaro said “everything indicates” that NGOs are going to the Amazon to “set fire” to the forest.

When asked if he had evidence to substantiate his claims, he said he had “no written plan,” adding “that’s not how it’s done.”

He said during a Facebook Live podcast: “Crime exists. These people are missing the money.”

And here is what the WWf had to say about the situation, which may also help you understand the gravity of it:

“without tropical rainforests, the greenhouse effect would likely be even more pronounced, and climate change may possibly get even worse in the future.”

When carbon burns, it creates dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which if inhaled can prove to be fatal to humans and animals.

Rainforests help in keeping local and regional climates under control by exchanging huge amounts of water and energy with the atmosphere.

Often referred to as the lungs of the planet for producing 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere, the Amazon rainforest is a key component in carbon storage, biodiversity and reducing air pollution.

We therefore depend largely on the rainforests for slowing down global warming.

This makes it not just a problem of the Amazon, but of the world, as it affects all of us. We hope that the issue gets sorted and the rainforests stop burning so unusually.

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