What you as a UAE resident should know and can do about the Amazon rainforest fires
22 August 2019| Last updated on 27 August 2019
Photo credit: Reuters
'Our house is burning', Emmanuel Macron dubbed the Amazon fires as an international crisis
The Amazon rainforest in Brazil has been on fire for three weeks. Often considered as the Earth's "lungs" due to its vast forests trapping carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, each year it traps an estimated 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, making it a vital carbon store that plays a significant, natural role in slowing down the pace of global warming.
Spanning at a massive 5.5 million square km, it's the largest rainforest in the world and is home to nearly 3 million plant and animal species, and 1 million indigenous people.
Thousands of trees are burning in the Amazon, pumping an alarming amount of carbon dioxide into the world's atmosphere, damaging the climate, local biodiversity, indigenous communities, and contributing harm for the entire planet.
According to Greenpeace, the wildfires are so intense that the smoke reached the city of Sao Paulo, located over a thousand miles away. Brazil’s space agency said that trees are being burned away at the rate of five football pitches every minute that passes. Figures show that 9,250 square km of the rainforest was lost between January 1 - August 1, 2019.
Records from the National Institute for Space Research (IPNE) found that there has been a staggering increase of 84% more fire outbreaks in 2019 - more than 74,000 fires - than in 2018. In August, over 40,000 outbreaks happened within less than five days.