For the past few years, Argentina's Panará River Delta has been having disastrous fires that pose immense repercussions for the entire nation. Recently, the amount and intensity of the fires have increased—endangering and destroying vital parts of Argentina's wetlands. Within the first few weeks of August, over 7,000 fires were reported in the area. More than 500 different species of plants and animals that form an important part of Argentinian agriculture have been negatively affected.
As a result of global warming, temperatures have risen worldwide, which have negatively impacted wetlands and forests in hundreds of nations. Argentina has been undergoing drought for a very long time, and with 2020 being one of the hottest years the world has seen, their wildfires have increased immensely. The burning of the Amazon last year created an unimaginable amount of insulation in the atmosphere that drastically the way many ecosystems function.
Aside from the effects of global warming, reports have also shown that farmers have been voluntarily lighting fires to corral their cattle. This activity is incredibly illegal, but the regulations concerning these practices are so lenient that there are hardly any repercussions for those who use them.
Careless tourists are also a contributing factor when it comes to the wetland fires. Often, tourists will go into the wetlands and have a bonfire or a barbeque and sometimes fail to dispose of their materials correctly. They fail to properly put out fires, which can end in devastating circumstances for local wildlife and residents.
Environmental activist groups, such as Greenpeace Argentina, are pushing for long term policies that will prevent fires like those in the Paraná River Delta, with the one raging there having already reached an uncontrollable extent. Simply punishing the farmers who are engaging in deteriorating farming approaches has proven to be ineffective in fully controlling the outbreaks of forest fires. The activist groups are tirelessly pushing for a change in policies that will help ensure that the destruction of the fire in the Paraná Delta will be minimized while also serving to inspire preventative measures so that no fire in Argentina reaches this level in the future.
Residents of the Paraná Delta’s surrounding cities, such as Rosario, San Lorenzo and San Nicolás, are actively contacting officials, desperately grasping for any help they can get. The increase in fires has negatively affected the residents of Argentina in almost every way possible. Their air, soil and surrounding waters have been polluted to an extreme. Their plants and crops have been destroyed, and their animals are being killed.
The repercussions of these fires combined with the coronavirus pandemic have created less than favorable circumstances for controlling the raging fires in Argentina. As a result of the pandemic, experts have not been able to adequately assess the extent of the fires. Watching the fires from a distance or even from satellites is not enough for experts to gather sufficient information.
The smoke that perpetuates the atmosphere makes its way into homes, making it difficult for people to breathe clean air, and asthmatic citizens are suffering as their condition worsens. There is little to no coverage on these fires, despite the fact that hundreds of Argentinian people in the neighboring cities are losing their homes and sources of income, and so many important parts of the Argentinian ecosystem are disappearing at an alarming rate.