(The Herald Post) – A groundbreaking study published in the journal Communications, Earth & Environment has revealed that protected Indigenous reservations in the Amazon rainforest play a crucial role in absorbing airborne pollution, preventing millions of cases of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and saving approximately $2 billion in annual healthcare costs.
Over a decade, researchers analyzed the health impacts of forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon, which emit large quantities of particulate matter into the atmosphere. These particles can travel great distances and adversely affect air quality in cities far away. According to the study, the Amazon rainforest can absorb up to 26,000 metric tons of pollution particles annually, with Indigenous territories contributing to 27% of this absorption.
Indigenous leaders have called on Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to create new Indigenous reservations, fulfilling his promise and reinforcing the protection of native lands. Dinamam Tuxa, executive coordinator of the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB), emphasized the importance of Indigenous territories in combatting pollution and climate change, stating that the study confirms what Indigenous communities have long known.