Fires in Brazil's Amazon up 28% in July, worrying experts

 thehindu.com  08/02/2020 01:19:38 

Fires in the Brazilian Amazon increased 28% in July from a year ago, a state agency reported Saturday.

The National Institute for Space Research, which is responsible for monitoring Brazil, said it recorded 6,803 fires in the Amazon rainforest last month, compared to 5,318 in the same month of 2019.

Environmentalists expressed concern at the rise because August traditionally marks the beginning of the fire season in the region. They fear Brazil could repeat the surge seen in fires last August, when 30,900 fires were recorded by the institute.

The sharp increase in fires comes amid domestic and international concern over President Jair Bolsonaros calls to clear land in Brazils Amazon to drive economic development.

Addressing those concerns, on July 16, the government banned burning in the Pantanal wetlands and the Amazon forest for four months. Bolsonaro also issued an order in May for the military to coordinate environmental actions in the Amazon.

But experts said the fire numbers indicate the governments response is not being effective and also point to the possibility that this years dry season will be even more prone to fires than last year.

Carlos Nobre, a researcher at the Advanced Studies Institute in the State University of Sao Paulo, said the deforestation index also has remained high this year until July, compared to the last couple of years.

"We can conclude, with data until the end of July, that the effectiveness of government actions to reduce fires and deforestation is low, he said.

Carlos Rittl, senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Germany, also told that trends in the Amazon are worrisome.

"The tendency is that this will be a more dry year than 2019 and this makes it easier for the fire to spread, he said.

*Our Digital Subscription plans do not currently include the e-paper ,crossword, iPhone, iPad mobile applications and print. Our plans enhance your reading experience.

Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism

Dear subscriber,

Thank you!

Your support for our journalism is invaluable. Its a support for truth and fairness in journalism. It has helped us keep apace with events and happenings.

The Hindu has always stood for journalism that is in the public interest. At this difficult time, it becomes even more important that we have access to information that has a bearing on our health and well-being, our lives, and livelihoods. As a subscriber, you are not only a beneficiary of our work but also its enabler.

We also reiterate here the promise that our team of reporters, copy editors, fact-checkers, designers, and photographers will deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Suresh Nambath

« Go back