A set of satellite images published by the European Space Agency (ESA) on Septemeber 9 portray a rapid increase in air pollution level in the Amazon forest following the massive fires over last month. The published maps show soaring quantities of carbon monoxide and other pollutants which have been produced as a result of the forest fire. The carbon emission from the fire will cause a potential threat on global climate and health, said the agency. As per the data from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, the number of fires in Brazil has increased by 45 percent than 2018 i.e. it has surpassed 100,000 in 2019.
Pollutants whether in the form of small particles or gases lead to an increase in cardiovascular conditions and lung problems, especially among young children and the elderly. The forest fires are producing particles as well as hazardous gases that are straight away released into the atmosphere, said Renata Libonati, a professor in the department of meteorology at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University. The same is happening in Brazil's Rondonia. Respiratory problems are getting rampant with children and the elderly. Cosme e Damia Children's hospital has recorded patients with the aforementioned ailments which has been increasing sharply. Moreover, the particulate matter also poses a threat to cities that are not immediately close as the winds often transfer these to faraway places. The added problem to the scenario is the lack of rains. Had there been rain, the fires could have been contained so would have been the pollutants. The current dry season in Amazon is making things worse, Libonati added.
"The impact of the fires goes far beyond where the forests are burning," said Libonati.
Last week, the Brazilian Health Ministry has notified a list of recommendations for those living by the forest. The ministry said that people should stay away from the areas where the fires have spread, wear masks to protect themselves from poisonous gases and favor air conditioning in kindergartens, schools, and hospitals. Moreover, a team of 11 Israeli firefighters was deployed by the Bolsonaro Government in the state of Rondonia where the fires have spread the most to combat the rising flames. Amazon fires keep spreading despite the 60-day ban on land clearing burning announced last month by President Bolsonaro.
(With inputs from AP)