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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Pope Voices Concern over Amazon, the Planet's 'Vital Lung'


7Dnews London - AFP

Sun, 25 Aug 2019 17:44 GMT

Pope Francis expressed concern on Sunday August 25th over the wildfires that have raged in the Amazon rainforest, the planet's "vital lung", as the worst blaze in years has triggered a global outcry, AFP has reported.

"We are concerned about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon," the pope told the faithful at the Vatican.

"That forest lung is vital for our planet."

The pontiff urged the world's 1.3 billion Catholics to pray for the fires to be controlled as quickly as possible.

According to official figures, 78,383 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year, the highest number of any year since 2013.

The Argentine pope, who will gather bishops for a conference on the Amazon in October, met Brazilian indigenous leader Raoni in 2013, when he toured Europe warning of the dangers of deforestation.

The pope denounced the exploitation of the Amazon by "huge international economic interests" in a 2015 encyclical.

In January 2018, he visited Puerto Maldonado village in the Amazonian jungle of southeastern Peru, where thousands of tribesmen had gathered, including from neighbouring Brazil and Bolivia.

The conflagrations have sparked anti-government protests in Brazil for their serious implications, and became a pressing issue for leaders at the Group of Seven summit in France.

Environmental groups say the fires are linked to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's policies, which he denies.

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