Ever since the start of the 21st century, the Amazon rainforest, which spans across various countries in Africa, has faced many severe disasters. Encompassing 7,000,000 km2, of which 5,500,000 km2 are covered by the rainforest, the Amazon is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region. Most of these species are indigenous to this rainforest.
Deforestation is one of the major problems in these areas. Most of the land is acquired and used as grazing lands for cattle which has acutely affected the ecosystem and has resulted in the extinction of some species. Fires normally occur around the dry season as slash-and-burn methods are used to clear the forest to make way for agriculture, livestock, logging, and mining, leading to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. This, in the year 2019, caused 72,843 fires in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru. These fires were widely reported and talked about. Help from various countries and celebrities were also noted.
In Peru, there have been instances of leaks of several thousand gallons of oil in the ground. This has been a recurrent problem that has not been tended to for a long time. The ground and the soil have been contaminated to a point where it has grown infertile and thus, is barren. Not only affecting the soil, but these oil leaks have led to the lakes and water reservoirs getting extremely polluted. A Northeastern University senior International Affairs Major Michaela D’Amico led “Toxic Tours,” bringing groups of interested people to polluted areas, and filmed what she found, uploading one of her videos to YouTube and other alternative media, in hopes that this would increase awareness about the deterioration of the ecosystem.
The Amazon rainforest has been exposed to unchecked exploitation and excessive pollution. These issues need to be addressed and tended to as most of our lives revolve around the sole existence of these lungs of the planet.