Governments must do more to preserve precious rainforests

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 August, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 August, 2015, 12:01am

While there is much discussion of water and air pollution, the serious problem of deforestation is often overlooked.

I am particularly concerned about what is happening in tropical rainforests like the Amazon. These forests have an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, but they are under serious threat.

In the Amazon, commercial logging, mining and the expansion of cattle ranches lead to the felling of trees and clearing of land. Some multinational companies are involved in these projects.

With the land clearance animals lose their habitats and some plants and animals face extinction. It is thought there are plants that may have properties than could help cure diseases like cancer, but which will be destroyed forever.

Also, these rainforests help to regulate the climate.

The trees absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide and provide oxygen. Therefore extensive logging exacerbates global warming.

Mining activities can contaminate water sources and that puts at risk the health of people who call the Amazon home, including tribes of indigenous people.

Governments must do more to protect these rainforests. They must try to strike the right balance between economic development and environmental protection.

Extensive national parks must be created and properly maintained.

People must be made more aware of the risks involved if these precious forests are destroyed.

More eco-tourism can help raise awareness. So governments must try to develop their eco-tourism sectors in these national parks.

The tropical rainforests are the lungs of our earth. We all have a responsibility to preserve them.

Zita Chan Long-sum, Sham Shui Po