LARGEST RAINFOREST

Saving the 'planet's lungs' Amazon is a global initiative

More than 72,000 fires have been reported in Brazil since January

In Summary

• The Amazon covers about 5.5 billion square kilometres and is shared by nine countries. 

• It is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants and 2,000 birds and mammals. 

An animal mourns its child after the Amazon fire on August 19
SAVE THE AMAZON: An animal mourns its child after the Amazon fire on August 19
Image: COURTESY

Reports of abnormal fires in Amazon Rainforest are alarming and the menace must be addressed as soon as possible lest we lose ‘The Planet’s Lungs’. Smoke from the fires caused a blackout in the city of Sao Paulo last week on Monday lasting about an hour.

What makes it worse is the fact that more than 72,000 fires have been reported in Brazil since January. This month alone, there has been a record number of fires. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rose by more than 88 per cent in June compared to the same month last year. At this rate, researchers warn that upon reaching 20- 25 per cent destruction level of the rainforest, the tipping point to flip it into a non-forest ecosystem will be reached.

Last year, about 17 per cent of the Amazon was already destroyed. This is about three to eight per cent more at the current level. The Amazon contributes to 20 per cent of Oxygen in the world while also taking in a quarter of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. It covers about 5.5 billion square kilometres and is shared by nine countries. Brazil has the highest share at 60 per cent, Peru (13 per cent), Colombia (10 per cent) and the rest shared among Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

 

The region has the richest biodiversity in the world. It is the home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants and 2,000 birds and mammals. While fires are common in the rainforest between July and October, this is greatly attributed by illegal loggers, miners and ranchers.

It not only affects Brazilians but the world at large and must be well safeguarded. Politics shouldn’t reign in the fight to rescue the Amazon. It’s very sad to lose the wealth inside the world’s largest rainforest.