Manaus Lives from Wave to Wave of Smoke

The most populous city in the Amazon faces another period of consecutive days with very poor or extremely poor air quality

The most populous city in the Amazon lives from wave to wave of smoke, equaling the routines of municipalities in more degraded and deforested Amazon regions that have been living for years with toxic haze on their home windows.

For five consecutive days, Manaus, the capital of Amazonas with more than 2 million inhabitants, was covered by smoke from wildfires, resulting in very poor or extremely poor air quality levels, according to monitoring by Selva (Electronic Environmental Surveillance System), linked to the State University of Amazonas (UEA). The wave of smoke in early November is similar to two others that occurred in October. It leads to sporadic whole days with a gray horizon, unbreathable air, a burnt smell ingrained in clothes and objects, and harmful effects on the body, especially for those with respiratory problems.

Manaus in the Amazon lives from wave to wave of smoke. - Bruno Kelly/Reuters

What is happening in the capital of Amazonas during this dry season - which was historic, with the worst level of the Rio Negro in 121 years - is similar to what has been experienced for a long time in regions that are the frontier of deforestation, such as Lábrea (AM) and Humaitá (AM) in the southern part of the state, and Porto Velho (RO). The degradation of the forest has broken down barriers for the smoke, becoming part of the daily life of these cities.

In the current wave, both Ibama and the government of Amazonas attribute responsibility to states like Pará, as well as to wildfires in the metropolitan region of Manaus. In a statement, the Pará State Secretariat of Environment and Sustainability said the state has no "confirmation" that the smoke in Manaus comes from the region.

Read the article in the original language