“We are quite alarmed” – Trotman on Amazon fires

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Natural Resource Minister, Raphael Trotman

Guyana’s Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has expressed grave concerns over the record rate at which fires have been affecting the Amazon Rainforest in neighbouring Brazil.

The Amazon rainforest, covering much of northwestern Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries like Guyana, is the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

Reports indicate that almost 73,000 fires were recorded in the forest for the year so far, and humans have been identified as the main cause.

“I think any government, particularly governments within the Amazonian region should be very concerned because whatever conditions would have led to those fires could occur here,” Trotman told reporters Thursday.

“At present, we are quite alarmed and like everyone else, we wish the people there (in Brazil) support.”

Guyana, he said, is taking precaution to protect against any such occurrence in its forest cover.

“I know from time to time; we do have forest fires which are naturally occurring but the scale at which we see the fires in Brazil does lead us to be quite concerned. We may not be able to stop fires altogether.”

“We are in an extended wet season so that may help us somewhat here in Guyana. We do our own degrees of monitoring. Thankfully, we have good satellite coverage of our forests under our arrangement with Norway so we’ll be able to spot if there is anything causes concern.”

The Amazon Rainforest produces about 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen and is often times referred to as Earth’s “lungs”.

It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said his government lacks the resources to fight the record number of fires in the Amazon.

And he again suggested that non-governmental organisations had started fires in the rainforest, but admitted he had no evidence for this claim.

Conservationists have blamed Brazil’s government for the Amazon’s plight.

They say Mr Bolsonaro has encouraged the clearing of land by loggers and farmers, thereby speeding up the deforestation of the rainforest.