Latin America & Caribbean

Jair Bolsonaro: 'Poop every other day' to protect the environment

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Brazil, on 9 August 2019 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Bolsonaro says eating less will also help the planet

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has suggested people should "poop every other day" as a way to save the planet.

His comment came in answer to a journalist who asked him how to combine agricultural development and protecting the environment.

Mr Bolsonaro recently came under fire after official data showed an increase in deforestation in the Amazon.

He then sacked the head of the agency that reported the increase, accusing it of lying about the problem's scale.

Mr Bolsonaro's comment came after the journalist quoted reports saying deforestation and agriculture were responsible for a quarter of the planet's greenhouse effect.

"It's enough to eat a little less. You talk about environmental pollution. It's enough to poop every other day. That will be better for the whole world," he said.

Scientists say the Amazon has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since Mr Bolsonaro took office in January, with policies that favour development over conservation.

Brazil's space agency data showed an 88% increase in deforestation in June compared with the same month a year ago.

As the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

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Media captionHow is the rainforest helping limit global warming?

Official figures suggest that the biggest reason for felling trees there is to create new pastures for cattle.

Over the past decade, previous governments managed to reduce deforestation by means of concerted action by federal agencies and a system of fines.

But Mr Bolsonaro and his ministers have criticised the penalties and overseen a dramatic fall in confiscations of timber and convictions for environmental crimes.

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