Firefighting aircraft in action Â© serpeblu (shutterstock)
The Church in Bolivia has called for a rethink of environmental policy in light of recent forest fires. Several hundred thousand hectares have already been destroyed. In order to protect nature, it is now necessary to take joint action.
"Just as in other years and despite the pandemic, we are suffering from fires with dimensions of thousands of hectares, provoked by criminal activities that seek economic profit," said the Archbishop of Santa Cruz, Sergio Gualberti, according to "Los Tiempos". Joint action is now necessary to protect nature, he said.
Santa Cruz province declares state of emergency
Due to the ongoing forest fires and drought, the province of Santa Cruz in Bolivia had declared a state of emergency. Several hundred thousand hectares have been destroyed.
Most recently, the Amazon church network REPAM had welcomed a symbolic ruling by the Rights of Nature environmental tribunal on the 2019 forest fires. According to the tribunal's findings, the devastating fires were provoked by the decisions of Bolivian authorities and the agribusiness sector.
Large areas affected by fires again in 2019
Of the forest fires in Bolivia in 2019 were about 950.000 hectares affected. Bolivia's then-President Evo Morales had allowed slash-and-burn operations in two Amazon provinces by decree a few weeks earlier, despite sharp criticism from environmentalists. This benefited cattle ranchers who export meat to China.