Logging and mining operations have accelerated their destruction of sizable patches of the Amazon rainforest during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an NBC News analysis of satellite imagery captured by the European Space Agency.
Environmentalists, who have also warned about the deforestation, said the pandemic has provided cover for the operations, and they blamed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for what they see as his tacit approval of the deforestation. In response to calls to protect the Amazon, Bolsonaro has sent armed forces.
“Government agencies are in quarantine, the population is in quarantine, good people are in quarantine — but the criminals are not, so they are taking advantage of this momentum to increase their activity,” said André Guimarães, the head of Amazon Environmental Research Institute, a nonprofit organization that advocates for conservation of the rainforest.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon soared by 55 percent in the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. Destruction in April was up by 64 percent from the same month a year ago.Source: NBC News