Wildfires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest up 90% from last year
Under Bolsonaro's rule, wildfires as well as illegal gold mining and deforestation skyrocketed.
Almost 2 million acres of territory in Brazil have been ravaged by wildfires in November, according to data released by an NGO, which noted that this is a 90% increase from November 2021.
That is an area about 75% of the size of Manaus, a Brazilian Amazon city.
According to MapBiomad, over 80% of the land ravaged by the fire is located in the Amazon rainforest.
MapBiomas is an NGO consortium that constitutes nonprofit organizations, as well as Brazilian universities and startups that use satellite imagery to track the ongoing destruction of natural land.
"The data confirms the escalation of environmental destruction in the final months of the Bolsonaro government," the organization said in a statement.
MapBiomas expresses surprise over the November wildfire hikes, especially since it's rainy season.
Under former right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, laws to protect against the exploitation of the Amazon rainforest were repealed and deforestation rates shot up in an exceeding manner, destroying much of the land and resources in what is known as the world's lungs. Upon Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's win, Amazon's rainforest fund was revived again.
"Clearly this is a reaction to the expectation of more effective anti-deforestation and anti-fire policies from the new government," said Ane Alencar, MapBiomas Fire coordinator and director of science at the Institute of Amazonian Environmental Investigation.
MapBiomas reports that the area burned within the first 11 months of 2022 amounted to 40 million acres - which is equivalent to the size of Uruguay - a 13% increase from the same period last year.
MapBiomas also reported in January that one of Brazil's largest clearwater rivers, the Tapajos - one called the "Blue River" - has turned brown. According to federal prosecutors and environmental activists, the browning of the Tapajos is most certainly due to mixed mud and sediment as a result of increasing illegal gold mining activities.
Using mechanical shovels to destroy trees and dig pits, illegal miners dredged the river, vacuuming the river bed, and mud and water are sucked up in the search of gold.
According to MapBiomas, an NGO which tracks land use and deforestation in Brazil, satellite data shows that the increasing change in the color of the Tapajos is correlated with increasing illegal gold mining activities in the region.