A 60-day ban on burning in Brazil took effect on Thursday after a global outcry over fires raging in the Amazon and data showing hundreds of new blazes in the rainforest.
The decree that was issued by President Jair Bolsonaro comes after escalating international pressure over the worst fires in the Amazon in years, which have ignited a diplomatic spat between Brazil and Europe.
But activists quickly doused hopes that the ban would work.
“The people who burn without a license are not going to obey,” said Rodrigo Junqueira of the Socio-Environmental Institute.
Thousands of troops and firefighters have been deployed since the weekend to combat the fires, along with two C-130 Hercules and other aircraft that are dumping water over affected areas in the country’s north.
Earlier on Wednesday, the US government that it did not approve the offer of $20 million in aid to Brazil made by the G7 member nations to fight the devastating wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.
Taking to Twitter, the official spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, Garrett Marquis said, “We didn’t agree to a G7 initiative that failed to include consultations with (Brazilian President) Jair Bolsonaro”.
Bolsonaro on Wednesday accused France and Germany of “buying” Brazil’s sovereignty after the G7 offered $20 million in Amazon fire aid.
Vice President Hamilton Mourao — widely considered a moderate voice in Bolsonaro’s government — also weighed in publicly for the first time on Wednesday, insisting in an opinion piece that “our Amazon will continue to be Brazilian.”
The governors of several states in the Amazon told Bolsonaro in a meeting on Tuesday that international help was needed.
Last week, tens of thousands of people gathered to the streets across Brazil where they started chanting “Burn Bolsonaro and not the Amazon”, in protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s inaction in the face of massive wildfires that were devastating the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
Amazon rainforest in Brazil had experienced a record amount of fires this year on last Thursday— more than 74,000 outbreaks so far — which was an 84 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.
Over the past week, the number of minors requiring treatment for respiratory ailments tripled to 380 cases, according to the city authorities.