Muna Al-Fuzai

The world is currently occupied with the latest updates on political news and developments in the US-Iranian dispute in the region, and nearly everyone seems to know best. Yet another tragedy is happening which is receiving a lot less global attention. The environmental disaster and forest fires in Australia have affected human lives and innocent animals, with horrific pictures of creatures dying of thirst. This ordeal is making Australia’s bushfires the worst in the nation’s history.

If you think that the fires of the Amazon or Australian forests do not concern you because they are located far away from Kuwait or your country, then you are wrong, because according to experts, these green areas that are exposed to a catastrophe support our lives on this planet, which we all share. The Amazon rainforest for example produces 20 percent of the oxygen on the planet, and therefore Earth’s oxygen is what burns, and it is not a matter of a simple fire.

Forest fires have broken out in Australia after rising temperatures and months of severe drought. But the intensity of the fires increased over the past week, which prompted authorities to evacuate a number of towns. There have been pictures of animals escaping from the heat and fire, including koalas, which are a symbol of Australia.

Of course, experts think the number could reach higher levels when conducting the final inventory of losses and damages, and that the reconstruction of the region with trees and animals requires 40 years. This raises fears of an environmental imbalance in the region in the long run.

News agencies reported that the fires that have ravaged Australia have so far killed 24 people, burned more than 6 million hectares of lands, destroyed more than 2,000 homes, and made air pollution in Australian cities the worst in the world. High temperatures and dry land and trees have a role in the outbreak of fires not only in Australia, but anywhere else on earth, and wind contributes to the fires by friction between dry trees.

In the Australian capital Canberra, air pollution has risen and air quality in the city was the third worst among all major cities in the world last Friday, according to AirVisual quality forecast group based in Switzerland. The fires in Australia are considered a national disaster in the country, after the death of more than half a billion living organisms, many of which are threatened with extinction and live only in Australia, in addition to material losses and properties of the population and pollution reaching to New Zealand, which is considered the only country in the world with very pure air.

I have read many reports about the human factor in dealing with wildfires, and most reports clearly indicate that the human factor is something that cannot be overlooked.
Researchers specializing in plants and climate say climate fluctuations will contribute in the future to intensifying the phenomenon of forest fires if everyone does not move decisively to reduce the factors that cause fires, which have a direct relation to human behaviors and activities. For example, throwing lit cigarette butts on the side of the road or under trees or discarding glass bottles in the woods, as well as high temperatures, droughts and lack of rainfall.

Today, plant and climate experts agree that every effort should be made to work closely to avoid forest fires, because the forest is a reservoir of biodiversity. I hope, like many, that this catastrophe will end quickly. Let us remember that the koala is threatened and on the verge of extinction, so we need to work hard to educate people about the importance of preserving the environment in light of climate change, with a risk of other conflicts, including political ones.