Due to fires, a toxic cloud drowns the skies of the Amazon
Manaus, the main city in the Brazilian Amazon, It has been suffocated for days by a toxic cloud that enveloped its two million inhabitantsa consequence of fires caused by "criminals", the Ministry of the Environment warned this Friday.
Since Wednesday, the fires in the Amazon have caused a layer of gray smoke over the capital of the state of Amazonas (north). The city's air quality is among the worst in the world, according to the World Air Quality Index.
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That smoke is harming us. Many are not aware that they are burning the forest, and many animals are dying (...) It is sad, and it causes us difficulties. I wear a mask to avoid breathing that toxic air because I already have health problems," said Maria Luiza Reis, a 72-year-old resident of Manaus.
Health authorities have urged the population to avoid exposure to smoke as much as possible for the next few days.
There are "significant risks, mainly respiratory diseases" for those exposed to smoke, said Marcio Garcia, director of the Department of Public Health Emergencies of the Ministry of Health, in a press conference with other authorities in Brasilia.
To date, the state is experiencing the worst October in terms of fire outbreaks in the last 25 years.according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe).
The Inpe registered 2,770 active outbreaks so far this month until this Thursday, an increase of 154 percent compared to the same period in 2022.
The Brazilian government announced this Friday the sending of two helicopters and 149 additional brigade members, who will join another 140 who were already fighting fires in the region.
In a press conference, the Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, linked the fires with "criminals" who use them to clean the soil and prepare it for agriculture or livestock after deforesting the surface.
There is no natural fire in the Amazon," Silva said.
The fires occur in the midst of an extreme drought in the region, which has lowered river channels to critical levels, making transportation and supplies difficult for around half a million people.
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It is an extremely serious situation because three factors intersect: the great drought caused by (the climate phenomenon) 'El Niño'; dried organic matter in large quantities; and fires in private properties and in public areas in a criminal manner," said Silva.
Due to the cloud of smoke, several events were canceled in the city, including a marathon.
I came from Goiania specifically to run the marathon on Sunday, but it was canceled (...) It's frustrating," said Zacharias Martins.
Meanwhile, on the Manaus dock, some covered their faces with masksbut the activity continued: the workers came and went carrying cargo and the boats launched into the Negro River.
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