Amazon on fire: the interference in global health

forest fire amazon.jpeg

(Arthur V., Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr Gustavo Cardoso Gomes, a 3rd year student in medical school, founding member of the local committee of IFMSA Brazil-Uningá and vice president of the Academic Center. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The Amazon rainforest, present in 9 countries, is the biggest rainforest of the world and it has the largest watershed in the world as well. Due to its high biodiversity, lush, dense and perennial vegetation, it is of paramount importance in the biochemical cycles and in the phenomena of El Niño and La Niña.

The Amazon is not the lung of the world, as it is commonly considered, since the oxygen it produces is also consumed by the forest, not failing to be indispensable our attention to the area. Being one of the richest biodiversities and natural resources in the world, its preservation is necessary an urgent. The rainforest acts in the detoxification of the atmosphere, in the control of pests of agriculture and vectors of diseases, being an essential resource for the production of food and drugs (Cleber, 2012).

The fires are not a novelty, the Amazon is constantly deforested, being part of a culture of exploration buried in the bowels of the country since the first Republic, with the beginning of the Amazon rubber boom. In recent months, this practice has concerned environmental and health organs, due to factors, such as the increase in the emission of carbon dioxide gas, the proliferation of insect vectors of diseases and the increase in temperature, ranging from 1.8 to 5.8 ºC until the end of the Century (Cleber, 2012).

In the fires are emitted several classic pollutants, among them NOx, CO, HC and particulate matter, in addition to others highly toxic substances (Ribeiro et al, 2002). These released chemical compounds, in addition to causing respiratory problems, are collaborators to increase the greenhouse effect, this causes the planet´s tropical climate range to increase, causing a climatic impact. Therefore, it directly affects the Brazilian climatic fluctuations that are a crucial factor in the dynamics of vector diseases, this imbalance can cause water-borne pathologies, in addition to respiratory illnesses that are influenced by the burnings and the effects of thermal inversions that concentrate pollution, directly impacting air quality, especially in urban areas (Barcellos et al, 2009).

According to the WHO, 50% of chronic respiratory diseases and 60% of acute respiratory diseases are associated with exposure to atmospheric pollutants. Studies related to air pollution levels were mostly developed in metropolitan areas and show a higher concentration of morbidity and mortality due to respiratory diseases, with an increase in atmospheric pollutants.

Furthermore, the migration of vectors, due to climatic changes, to areas which previously did not have such transmitters, will be a serious public health problem, because, if the health systems do not have a long-term and proactive vision, they will be caught by surprise by pathologies with which they are not used to (Marcos et al, 2009).

In the light of the results, it is concluded that the importance of biodiversity for human health has only gained greater prominence when the process of loss of biological diversity, through fires and deforestation, warned of the need for the conservation and rational use of living resources.

References

ALHO, C. J. R. Importância da biodiversidade para a saúde humana: uma perspectiva ecológica. Advanced Studies. v. 26. n. 74, p. 151-165, 2012.

FEARNSIDE, P. M. Fogo e emissão de gases de efeito estufa dos ecossistemas florestais da Amazônia brasileira. Advanced Studies. v. 16. n. 44, p. 99-123, 2002.

GOMES, R. G. S; DE MORAES, R. M. Alterações climáticas e suas influências sobre as doenças transmitidas por vetores. In: Safety health and Environmental World Congress. 2009.

GONÇALVES, K. S.; CASTRO, H. A.; HACON, S. S. As queimadas na região amazônica e o adoecimento respiratório. Science & Public Health. v. 17, n. 6, p. 1523-1532, 2012.

RIBEIRO, H.; ASSUNÇÃO, J. V. Efeitos das queimadas na saúde humana. Advanced Studies. v. 16, n. 44, p. 125-148, 2002.

SCHWEICKARDT, J. C.; LIMA, N. T. Do “inferno florido” à esperança do saneamento: ciência, natureza e saúde no estado do Amazonas durante a Primeira República (1890-1930). Bulletin of the Paraense Museum Emilio Goeldi. Humanities. v. 5, n. 2 Belém, may/aug. 2010.

SUÇUARANA, M. S. Floresta Amazônica. Access 31/08/2019, available in: https://www.infoescola.com/biomas/floresta-amazonica/

About the author

Gustavo Cardoso Gomes, 3rd year in medical school, founding member of the local committee of IFMSA Brazil-Uningá and vice president of the Academic Center. Rebecca Sanches Rodrigues and Felipe Meneguetti Caniato, 4th and 3rd year, respectively, in medical school, academics from Ingá University Center (Uningá) and members of the International Federation of Medical Student Associations of Brazil. Talita Cardoso Gomes, 1st year in Medical School of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora campus Governador Valadares (UFJF-GV). These students from different years and localities articulated themselves with the objective of reporting a current problem that has occurred in their country.

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