Written by Jong Ching Yee

What happened?

In case you didn’t know, the Amazon rainforest has been set ablaze with over 2,500 active fires. After heavy international and local pressure, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has sent in their armed forces to battle the raging fires.

At the same time, to raise awareness of the issue, many politicians and environmental activists have begun sharing about the situation on various social media platforms. 

Bolsonaro has been sceptical about the cause of the forest fires, saying that 

NGOs are responsible for this calamity. Speaking to reporters, the President exclaimed, “The fires were lit in strategic places. All the indications suggest they went there to film and start fires. That’s what I feel.” However, he failed to produce evidence to prove his claims.

Following his comments, the leader has been criticised by many. France’s President Emmanuel Macron is prepared to block an EU trade deal with Brazil if the South American country continues to not tackle the fires. 


What’s next?

Protestors have gathered outside Brazilian embassies to protest against inaction on Amazon fires. The hashtags #PrayforAmazon and #ActForTheAmazon have gone viral and leaders attending the G7 Summit in France had discussed the issue at length.

The Amazon rainforest produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen. With the raging fire, it could increase carbon dioxide levels and speed up global warming. At the same time, local news agencies report that more have fallen ill with pneumonia, severe cough and other respiratory illnesses.

Despite the photos and videos circulating online, many are backdated and not images of the current situation. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo shared a video which was taken in 2013 and President Macron’s image came from a photographer who died in 2003. As much as the current situation remains unclear, we should continue to do our part to protect our vulnerable environment.

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