São Paulo, one of Brazil’s biggest cities was covered by smoke in the afternoon which changes the day to night for an hour. The smoke originated from fires in the Amazon rainforest during the dry season but the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) recorded up to 72,000 blazes between January and August.
Experts believe some of the fires are deliberate to justify cattle ranchers to use the protected area which is illegal but the country’s far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro, attempted to divert any criticisms by accusing non-governmental-organisations purposely setting fire to make him look bad without any evidence.
It is not the first time Jair Bolsonaro was at odds with INPE. At the beginning of August, President Bolsonaro sacked the head of INPE over data that showed illegal deforestation has drastically increased since Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.
As soon as he took office at the beginning of the year, the Brazillian President handed the creation and regulation of new indigenous reserves to the agriculture ministry.
The Brazillian President favours business-oriented policies which seen a relaxation of penalty fines for illegal logging. President Bolsonaro aim is to create a business-friendly environment at the expense of the Amazon Rainforest. Cattle ranchers require a large number of lands to allow their cows to graze but the land become infertile after awhile due to the lack of nutrients being replenished into the soil.
The Amazon Rainforest which covers 9 South American countries is described as the lungs of the Earth but the size of a football pitch is being deforested every minute. In addition to cows producing methane gas, the shrinking carbon sink pool, left many people worried this will make Global Warming worse.
There has been an outcry on social media with #PrayforAmazonia trending but some has pointed out the comparison between the Notre Dame fire earlier in the year with a lot of support across the world from mainstream news outlets and political leaders but the Amazon Rainforests is not receiving the same support.