Amazon Rainforest Fires

Very recently Amazon rainforest has been engulfed by a large-scale wildfire generated to provide land for cattle which cater to Brazil’s major exports. The danger of fire in the rainforest for 16 days becomes imminent as it has destroyed the levels of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere and unless extinguished it will be lost in a wholescale conflagration.
NASA satellites have captured the phenomenon at the Amazon over the past 48 hours leading up to 23rd August. Vast areas of tropical rainforest stand at great risk. In fact, Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research (INPE) has detected 39,601 fires in 2019. INPE has also reported 72,843 fires in the country, with more than half of these being seen in the Amazon region. This means more than one-and-a-half football fields of forest are being obliterated every minute of every day.

The world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon is located in a territory of nine countries: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana namely. It has a very rich ecosystem that supplies 20% of our Oxygen. 137 species of plants, animals and insects become extinct every single day in the Amazon because of deforestation and cattle ranching and various other encroachment procedures conducted by the indigenous people living there. A wildfire in the Amazon, two-thirds of which is in Brazil, is terrorizing the Amazon ecosystem giving rise to a global international crisis. The Amazon has decreased by 1,345 square km., which is more than twice the area of Tokyo this month.

These human induced fires are actually quite common in the Amazon rainforest but this year it has taken the world by storm due to the undiscriminating efforts of Jair Bolsonaro’ s (the 38th and current President) government in stopping such forest-fires. Bolsonaro claimed without proper evidence that NGOs and environmental activists and group were to be blamed for the present scenario.

Much of the pollution of our planet involves millions of tons of carbon emissions which has been absorbed by the Amazon rainforests so far.
The past 100 years has seen Industries pumping carbon dioxide by burning coal, oil, natural gas and fossil fuels. The rainforest has the power to renew carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it for photosynthesis. Now, if the forest burns, carbon dioxide is again released resulting in large scale pollution. Previously, the Amazon rainforests did reduce the greenhouse effect through this large-scale photosynthesis and by exchanging vast amounts of water and energy through processes of Evapotranspiration impacting the ecological system.

According to former Professor Suman Sao of the Department of Geography, N.B.U, “Such a widespread conflagration in the destruction of tropical rainforests has never been seen in recent times”. She underlined the necessity of rescuing the forest from purgation. Let us promise to take requisite steps to save the Amazon rainforest because this crisis of a situation will affect the global climates. Global warming will arrive much sooner leading to a quick Armageddon. The local climate would get hotter in summer and colder in the winter if the Amazon disappears at the rate of 78 million acres every year.

São Paulo, 1,700 miles away from the fires, has been affected by the man-made inferno and images show that the sky was covered in darkness at noon. Other cities that have been affected are the neighboring States of Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. Brazil has been declared a State of Emergency and the U.N has called for the protection of the rainforest declaring it an “international crisis”. France has threatened to cancel trade agreements with Brazil.

“I don’t want to finish the environment, I want to save Brazil,” remains Bolsonaro’s words after an interview.


Contributed by: Subhrajit Samanta

Featured Image by: Sushmita Mallick

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