#PrayforAmazonia trends on Twitter as netizens, environmentalists blame Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro for Amazon forest blaze

  • Some Twitter users went on to say, 'Amazon rainforest is burning, and Bolsonaro is deliberately doing nothing.'

  • Environmentalists have also put the blame on Bolsonaro, accusing him of relaxing environmental controls in the country and encouraging deforestation

  • The far-right president's pro-business environmental policies have been controversial from the beginning

On Tuesday, "#PrayforAmazonia" trended on Twitter with netizens criticising Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for his failure to stop a series of forest fires that have been tearing through the Amazon forest, the vessel holding a massive amount of world's oxygen, for the last three weeks.

Some Twitter users went on to say, "Amazon rainforest is burning… And Bolsonaro is deliberately doing nothing."

Some users also pointed out that the Amazon has been burning for three weeks but people are just learning about it now.

Some even pointed out the lack of media coverage on the issue.

"Notre Dame catches fire, massive media coverages around the planet, 1bn+ in donations within weeks. Amazon, the lung of our very planet has been on fire for 3 weeks, yet there is nothing in the media about it."

Environmentalists have also put the blame on Bolsonaro, accusing him of relaxing environmental controls in the country and encouraging deforestation.

The far-right president's pro-business environmental policies have been controversial from the beginning. A former army captain who has been accused of neglecting climate change, Bolsonaro had made promises of restoring Brazil's economy by exploring the rainforest's economic potential.

After assuming office on 1 January, Bolsonaro made number of promises, including to restore the country's economy by finding other uses for the Amazon forest. During his campaign, he had vowed to not set aside a single "centimetre" more land for Indigenous reserves if elected to power.

Calling out Bolsonaro's pro-business stance, Carlos Rittl of the Observatorio do Clima (Climate Observatory) told CNN that environmentalists and researchers have put the onus on Bolsonaro's pro-business leadership for emboldening farmers to cut away at more Amazon land for ranching.

"Over the past six months, Bolsonaro and his environment minister have been devoting themselves to the dismantling of the Brazilian environment governance and neutralizing regulatory bodies," Rittl said.

Recently, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) presented data that showed an 88 percent increase in deforestation in June compared to the same month in 2018.

Bolsonaro responded by attacking the data from INPE, and labelled the findings as "lies" that hinder trade talks for Brazil.

Amazon rainforest or "lungs of the Earth" is regarded vital in the fight against global warming as it can absorb carbon from the air. But this oxygen holding vessel is burning at a rate scientists have never seen before.

The research agency – INPE has recorded more than 74,000 fires so far this year – an 84 percent increase on the same period in 2018 and the highest number since 2013.

Updated Date: Aug 22, 2019 11:29:34 IST