Saturday, May 21

Colombia: fires in the Amazon put the capital under “environmental alert”

(Belga) The “environmental alert” has been decreed for Bogota, threatened by the smoke of active forest fires for a few days in the Colombian Amazon and the size of a city like Paris, local authorities announced on Saturday.

The wind pushed smoke from fires attributed to armed groups, some 350 kilometers to the northwest, to the Colombian capital. “The city is on environmental alert,” tweeted Mayor Claudia Lopez, according to whom more than half of the air quality monitoring stations have been continuously reporting high levels of pollution for 48 hours. The city councilor asked the eight million inhabitants of the capital to refrain from all physical activity in the open air for the next few days. The government believes that these fires were started by “the criminal hands” of rebels who decided to no longer respect the historic 2016 peace agreement which led to the disarmament of the Marxist guerrillas of the Farc. The dissidents, as they are called, intend “to grab land (…) to develop illegal activities of extensive cattle breeding”, denounced the Minister of Defense Diego Molano, who published a list of 17 suspected arsonists. The “red alert” was decreed in the department of Guaviare (south-east), whose governor, Heydeer Palacio, spoke of “10,000 hectares” consumed by the fires, an area equivalent to that of the French capital ( 10,500 hectares). The Serrania del Chiribiquete National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also affected. (Belga)

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