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On The ‘Carbon Sink’

The National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the space agency of Brazil, has reported that deforestation of the Amazon rainforest hit a new record in the first six months of 2022. As per satellite images, Amazon belt has lost an area five times the size of New York City. The Government of Brazil, too, has admitted that it is the highest figure of deforestation since 2016. As expected, the environmentalists have expressed serious concern over the development.

Satellite data have shown that 3,988sqkm were cleared in the rainforest from January to June, 2022. It was an increase of 10.6% from the corresponding period in 2021, and the highest level for a period since the INPE started compiling its DETER-B data series in mid-2015. Nearly 3,088sqkm of the rainforest were destroyed from January to June, 2021. In June 2022, there was a 5.5% increase in deforestation to 1,120sqkm. It is also a new monthly record.

In its report, the INPE has mentioned that deforestation “is creeping deeper into the forest”. From January to June, the Brazilian State of Amazonas, situated in the heart of the rainforest, witnessed more destruction than any other state in a rare first.

Record shows that 17% of the Amazon has been deforested in the last 50 years mainly for farming and animal husbandry. Environmentalists have strongly criticised Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro for not taking adequate measures to stop deforestation in the Amazon. They have said that the President has rolled back environmental protections, allowing loggers, ranchers and land speculators to generate profit by acquiring public property.

The Amazon

It may be noted that the world’s largest rainforest contains quite a high percentage of carbon in its atmosphere. It is called Carbon Sink. Currently, the carbon is getting released, as trees have been felled (almost indiscriminately), thus warming the atmosphere and driving climate change.

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