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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

Your morning cup of coffee contains 140 litres of water

This Japanese company pays its employees to get a good night’s sleep

Rural women a ‘powerful force’ for global climate action: UN Secretary-General

‘Tenacious’ Kyrgyz lawyer and statelessness champion, wins prestigious UNHCR prize

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

Nearly four million North Koreans in urgent need, as food production slumps by almost 10 per cent

Draghi tells the Parliament the ECB to use all its weaponry; euro slides to parity with the dollar

Road to Brexit: the UK seeks early agreement on Data Privacy with the EU

Scientists in Iceland are turning carbon dioxide into rock

Financing the 2030 Agenda: What is it and why is it important?

European Border and Coast Guard: Council adopts revised regulation

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

G20 LIVE: G20 leaders reaffirm OECD’s role in ensuring strong, sustainable and inclusive growth

16 foods that are good for you – and the planet

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

Mali just took a huge step towards universal healthcare

UNICEF appeals for end to ‘war on children’ in Syria and Yemen

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

EU regional differences betray an unjust arrangement

Containers at the port of Tokyo. (Copyright: European Union, 2016. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. Photo: Haruyoshi Yamaguchi)

EU cuts fast-track free trade deals with Japan and Singapore and leads the trade scene

FROM THE FIELD: Enduring freezing winter in a war zone

It’s a week dedicated to all EU budgets; seven days that can make or break the Union

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

Guterres censures terrorist attacks in Nigeria, pledges UN ‘solidarity’

‘Disaster resilient’ farming reduces agriculture risks, yields economic gains, says new UN agriculture agency report

UN rights chief ‘appalled’ by US border detention conditions, says holding migrant children may violate international law

An alternative view of Globalization 4.0, and how to get there

Malta: Human rights experts call for justice in case of murdered journalist

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

This is what a Green New Deal for Europe could look like

Appreciation of euro to continue

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

UN food agency appeals for access to key storage facility amid fight for Hudaydah

New round of bargaining for the 2014 EU budget late in autumn

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

UN’s Bachelet rejects Sri Lankan official’s ‘spin’ on Human Rights Council encounter, urges reforms

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

Nicaragua must end ‘witch-hunt’ against dissenting voices – UN human rights experts

EU economic governance: More exploitation for the weaker countries

Top UN Syria envoy hails ‘impressive’ start to historic talks in Geneva

EU Commission says falling labour remuneration leads to deflation and damages growth prospects

What happens when you toss your water bottle in the trash?

Parliament commemorates the victims of the Holocaust

UN rights chief slams ‘unconscionable’ US border policy of separating migrant children from parents

These are India’s cleanest cities

Halting spread of drug resistance from animals to humans: deal with Council

The banks dragged Eurozone down to fiscal abyss

Brain Drain: Follow your dreams, wherever they might take you

Vulnerable children face ‘dire and dangerous’ situation on Greek island reception centres, UNICEF warns

UN chief highlights action across borders for ‘stable and prosperous Eurasia’

EU Telecoms deal: Fees on calls across the EU capped and 5G network by 2020

They won this year’s Nobel for economics. Here’s why their work matters

EU consumer rules: Airbnb cooperates with European Commission and EU consumer authorities improving the way it presents offers

Who and why want the EU-US trade agreement here and now

How trade wars pose a threat to the global economy

Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) of 22/05/2018: EU relations with key trading partners

MEPs approve boost to workers’ rights in the gig economy

This city is planting a tree for every man, woman and child

State of the Union 2017: Juncker’s optimism about EU growth and Brexit’s impact

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