Argentina not only sees a black horizon due to the economic collapse and pandemic, with its almost 22,000 deaths and more than 800,000 infections. The smoke has painted the sky of 14 provinces as a result of the forest and grassland fires that have arisen over the past few weeks. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development has assured that a good part of the fires have already been put out, although they continue in the provinces of Córdoba, where more than 180,000 hectares have been burned, San Luis, Salta, Tucumán and La Rioja. Greempeace questions the official version and maintains that the fires still persist in 13 of the federal territories.
Environmentalists do not doubt that something has changed in this country since climate change. In fact, Global Forest Watch places Argentina in seventh place among the countries that have issued the highest fire alerts so far this year. The first place is occupied by the United States. According to the National Fire Management Service (SNMF), 95% of forest fires have not been fortuitous, but their origin has been human, especially with the purpose of extending the agricultural frontier. The lack of rainfall, high temperatures, low humidity and strong strong winds have contributed to its rapid spread.
The president of the country, Alberto Fernández, has attributed the fires to climatic factors, to which, as he has said, have been added “the rogues that in this way they achieve better agricultural production conditions. “The Minister of the Environment, Juan Cabandié, in turn, has described as “ecocide” what happens in various regions, especially in Córdoba, the second richest province in Argentina. “The fires are intentional and are responsible: producers using last century methods, unscrupulous that burn to increase profits and those that threaten ecosystems for real estate speculation“.
| The fires are intentional and are responsible: producers who use methods from the last century, unscrupulous who burn to increase profits and those who threaten ecosystems through real estate speculation. #BurnBurn pic.twitter.com/rWwRPhVviA
– Juan Cabandié (@juancabandie) October 5, 2020
Córdoba is one of the economic and tourist engines of this country. This year suffers one of the worst droughts of the last four decades. In addition to economic losses, fires, with their massive emissions of greenhouse gases, leave an inventory of calamities: flooding of rivers and floods, scarcity and contamination of drinking water, loss of peasant economies, greater vulnerability of the health of their populations and destruction of flora and fauna. “For the beekeeping activity In the mountains, everything has been lost, “the beekeeper Rodolfo Zabaleta told the magazine ‘La Vaca’. It is estimated that up to 30% of its forests have been affected by disasters that already have a history of devastation. Specialists estimate that barely 3% of the existing canopy remains standing at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Paraná delta
The images of the fire spreading through the Cordoba mountain ranges have such a close precedent in the imposing delta of the Paraná River, which crosses the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos. The flames were there also voracious months ago, leaving in their wake the marks of interest in the livestock business and urban development. The news agency ‘A24.com’ linked landowners, businessmen, politicians, trade unionists, judges and even soccer leaders to these activities. “We need arson and land clearing to be classified as Criminal offense“, has affirmed Greenpeace Argentina.
As in Brazil, the wetlandsAs the areas that remain in flood conditions or with their soil covered by water for considerable periods of time are called, they were exposed to the disaster. In the Argentine case, these wetlands represent 21% of the national territory and are distributed in deltas, estuaries, plains, lagoons and marine coasts. Environmental organizations demand a law that protects them. The times of politics and those of the advance of fire are not synchronous.
Do you want protected wetlands from the livestock and real estate industries? Help us get a law that makes them safe once and for all. Sign and demand #LeyDeHumedalesYa: https://t.co/9I25z5B0AM #ProtectWetlands pic.twitter.com/fzAdxXxd4C
– Greenpeace Argentina (@GreenpeaceArg) October 3, 2020