Burning Amazon rainforests: Darting towards the doom of Human Race

forest fires 9

(Matt Howard, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr Pranjal Garg, a second year medical student at All India Institute of Medical
Sciences, Rishikesh, India. 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.

Thousands of fires are burning across the millions of hectares of Amazon rainforests in Brazil, having a devastating and destructive long-term effect not only on the health of the Earth but also of its inhabitants. Amazon rainforests provide at least 20% of the world’s oxygen, and are adequately called the ‘Lungs of the Earth.’

The wildfire smoke contains a mixture of gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, etc. and particulate matter produced from the burning of organic matter and wood. The wood smoke produces toxic air pollutants too like benzene, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, etc. The smoke travels to far locations and can have a wide range of health problems from as trivial as runny nose to fatalities. The smoke affects badly from pregnant women and developing fetuses to older adults.

Amazon forests are one of the most vital and largest storehouses of carbon, burning of which will cause an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the environment. Currently, the direct implications might not be apparent but the increase in CO2 will replace oxygen, making it difficult for us to breathe causing headaches, restlessness, etc.

The indirect impact can be much profound as CO2 being one of the greenhouse gases induces an increase in temperature causing multitudes of effects on human health like increase in vector (ticks and mosquito) borne diseases  like malaria, dengue, elephantiasis, Lyme diseases, etc. and water-borne diseases like cholera. There can also be serious impact on mental health and anxiety due to climate change, the decrease in food safety and nutrition and severe heat waves which decreases productivity and increases morbidity and mortality. Heatwaves also exacerbate various chronic diseases like diabetes, chronic kidney diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

The particulate matter including soot, tars, and other volatile organic substance produced by the burning can lodge and penetrate deep in the Lungs. This particulate matter affects the lungs and heart leading to the premature death of people with pre-existing heart or lung diseases, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, etc.

Produce from rainforests are used in various medicines like anti-malarial and anti-cancer drugs. Compounds from rainforest plants are used in drugs to treat hypertension, glaucoma, tuberculosis, etc. The destruction of Amazon rainforests will reduce the production of many drugs like these and can have a deep impact on global health.

Burning of Amazon forests also means disturbed weather patterns and the drier environment due to lesser contribution of transpiration and other factors that releases moisture in the air causing rainfall. Deficiency of rainfall, one of the main contributors to freshwater, will also have pernicious effect on global health.

This deplorable and dreadful incident has been declared as the international crisis and many political, environmental, academic and scientific associations and communities have shown their concern and will to stop these fires. With the speed with which we are destroying our forests, it is certain that we might have to start populating another planet by the end of this century.

About the author

Pranjal Garg is a second year medical student at All India Institute of Medical
Sciences, Rishikesh and has been an active member of Medical Student
Association of India, previously holding a position as Local Officer on Research
Exchange. Currently Pranjal is also pursuing a course in healthcare waste
management. He regularly takes part in conferences and has attended India
International Science Festival, Lucknow and has participated in National
Biomedical Research Competition 2018, AIIMS. Pranjal was a research
observer at Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad in January
2019 and has also been involved in volunteer work at a hospice.







the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

UN agencies welcome regional road map to help integrate ‘continuing exodus of Venezuelans’

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Electronic Cigarettes: A booster or alternative to Smoking?

Israeli security forces’ response to Gaza protests ‘a recipe for more bloodshed’, says UN expert

Eurozone closer to a deflation – stagnation trap

Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on fulfilment of visa-free requirements by Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

Mexico cannot move forward ‘without addressing the shadows of the past’, says UN rights chief

This graphene battery can recharge itself to provide unlimited clean energy

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

UN launches Facebook Messenger-powered bot to take on climate change

EU voters not interested in the European Parliament elections. What’s behind this European Titanic?

Our tourism system is broken – time to customize

High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

Is it true that the G20 wants to arrest tax evasion of multinationals?

Six months into DR Congo’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, top UN official praises ‘brave’ response effort

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

Is academia losing its chance to capitalize on technology?

Drastic deterioration in security across Burkina Faso as 70,000 flee their homes in past two months, UN warns

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

Young New Yorkers bring robots, and a glimpse of the future, to UN Headquarters

The new general election will secure Greece’s position in Eurozone; at least for some time

UN chief welcomes resolution to 27-year-old disagreement over renaming the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

Work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’, Guterres warns Member States, amidst ‘record-level’ cash crisis

EU-wide rules for safety of drones approved by European Parliament

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

Central Africa Republic: Violence drives thousands of refugees into neighbouring DR Congo, says UN agency

Youth2030: UN chief launches bold new strategy for young people ‘to lead’

No patents on naturally obtained plants and seeds

Is China about to launch its own cryptocurrency?

Central Africa: Security Council concerned by ‘grave security situation’, calls for better agency cooperation

‘Habitual residence’ rules deprive EU workers from social benefits

Libya: UN mobilized to support thousands uprooted by Tripoli clashes, renews call for humanitarian truce

UN climate panel says ‘unprecedented changes’ needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

Brexit: political groups discuss options for an orderly withdrawal

OECD’s Gurría calls for overhaul of economic thinking to address global challenges

Cyber attacks are shutting down countries, cities and companies. Here’s how to stop them

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Climate emergency, call to support breastfeeding, rising political heat and new investigation board for Syria

Copyright: MEPs update rules for the digital age

Rohingya cannot become ‘forgotten victims,’ says UN chief urging world to step up support

UN chief welcomes Taliban’s temporary truce announcement, encourages all parties to embrace ‘Afghan-owned peace’

The European reaction to the neo-fascist wind

OECD: Rising employment overshadowed by unprecedented wage stagnation

Smart devices must come with trust already installed

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

A for-profit project has improved nutrition in Rwanda – is it a model that can eliminate hunger across Africa?

Concerned over Haiti’s political crisis, Guterres promises ‘continuous commitment’

Be a part of the World Forum on Future Trends in Defence and Security

In Rwanda, high-speed drones are delivering blood to remote communities

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali

Doctors vs. Industry 4.0: who will win?

Can a Bavarian Oktoberfest beer indulger bring down the Berlin government?

Amazon indigenous groups want to create a nature sanctuary the size of Mexico

The unpleasant truth of plastic straws

Palestine refugee crisis ‘expanding’; leaving highest number at risk this century across Gaza

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s