Reasons why the Amazon River is Important to People
Facts about the Amazon River
The Amazon River is one of the largest rivers in the world. Even though it is found in South America, its importance goes way beyond the region. Experts state that this 4,200 km long river provides the earth with up to a fifth of its fresh water. The fresh water is drained into the oceans and dilutes some of the saltiness of these oceans. 12 billion liters of water flow along the Amazon River every 60 seconds.
Importance of the Amazon River to the People
The Amazon River is relied upon by many people in different parts of the world for several reasons.
- Source of Water. The Amazon River is the largest source of water for the South American countries along which it flows. Most of the inhabitants directly or indirectly use the water from this river for their daily needs.
- Determines Climate around the world. The Amazon River is surrounded by a large rainforest. The rain forest depends on the river for survival and it determines the climate of the entire earth. Without this rain forest and the river, the climate cycle of the earth would be destroyed and people would suffer.
- Source of Food. The people who live along the Amazon River depend on it for food. The river is said to have as many as 1,500 species of fishes. The inhabitants derive most of their protein from the fish as well as other water animals that thrive in these waters. Oil is also gotten from some of the fishes and creatures harvested from the river.
- Source of Energy. The Amazon River is an important source of hydro energy. This is used by the governments in South America to harvest hydroelectric power which they supply to the people who live along the river.
- Source of Livelihood. There are many minerals along the Amazon River. These are usually mined by the people and they provide a source of livelihood. Some of the common minerals that are harvested around the Amazon River include bauxite and iron. There are large deposits of bauxite around the Amazon River and 15% of the world’s share is mined from this area. There are also minerals such as gold, nickel, tin and steel which the inhabitants and immigrants living around the Amazon River depend on for livelihood. Lumbering is also another major source of livelihood practiced along the river. Many of the locals harvest rubber from the rubber trees and other woods found in the Amazon rain forest for commercial purposes.
- Most farmers who live around the Amazon River depend on its waters as well as silt for their farming activities. There are both small scale farmers and subsistence ones who depend on the river for irrigation and farming. One of the common crops that is grown along the river is soya beans.
- Source of Medicine. From time immemorial, the inhabitants have always looked up to the rain forest and some of the plants that grow along the Amazon River for medicine. This is a practice that is still observed by the natives who live along the river banks.
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