The growing deforestation that the Brazilian Amazon has suffered during the current Administration and that in 2021 broke a new record is due to the “unwillingness” of President Jair Bolsonaro to face environmental crimes and not the lack of resources, various NGOs denounced.
With more than 13,000 square kilometers of devastated native vegetation, deforestation in the largest tropical forest on the planet in 2021 was the highest in the last 15 years, a fact that environmental associations directly attributed to the lack of environmental control by the Government of Bolsonaro.
According to the report by the Climate Observatory, a network that brings together more than 70 organizations including Greenpeace and WWF, despite having more than 219 million reais (US$41 million) to combat environmental crimes last year, the The far-right leader’s administration only used 41% (88.9 million reais or 16.7 million).
According to the report, in governments prior to those of Bolsonaro, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama, the main environmental authority) used to liquidate between 86% and 92% of the resources for the inspection.
The document also recalled that, despite the commitment to increase resources for environmental control, assumed by Bolsonaro under international pressure during the climate summit then convened by the US president, Joe Biden, this was not fulfilled by cutting the funds allocated to the Ministry of the Environment. Environment.
Between August 2020 and July 2021, the Brazilian Amazon lost 13,235 square kilometers of vegetation cover, the largest degraded area for a twelve-month period in the last 15 years and 21.97% higher than in 2020 (between August 2019 and July 2020).
In addition, the number of fines imposed for deforestation in 2021 was the lowest in the last two decades.
There were 2,534 sanctions, a drop of 40% compared to those registered between August 2017 and July 2018, before Bolsonaro came to power.
The network also listed threats that still hang over the environment, among which several projects that are currently in Congress stand out, several of which have already been approved in the Chamber of Deputies.
With them, the Bolsonaro government seeks to provide amnesty to illegal mining, indiscriminately release a series of agrochemicals, allow the hunting of wild animals, curb indigenous land rights and achieve the “virtual extinction of environmental licenses”, according to the Climate Observatory.
In the last five years, the devastation of the Brazilian Amazon grew five times just because of mining, an activity that puts at risk about 6.2 million hectares of environmental or indigenous reserves, where gold is the main precious metal required by the “garimpeiros” (artisanal miners), according to a study by the Escolhas institute.
“This report shows with numbers that Bolsonaro fulfilled his campaign promise to destroy environmental governance in the country, and the account begins to arrive for the entire society”, pointed out Suely Araújo, senior specialist in public policies at the Climate Observatory and co-author of the document.
Since he was a presidential candidate, Bolsonaro has defended the exploitation of the natural resources of the Amazon, including in indigenous reserves, and since he came to power in January 2019, he has relaxed the control of activities that attack the environment, such as mining and timber trade, mostly practiced illegally in that region.
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