Chile’s Atacama Desert has become a deserted landscape in Chile that is home to a lot of garbage. It could also be a place where people leave their clothes and shoes. This could hamper scientific advancements in space.
Although this is the Earth’s most dry region, scientists have discovered microorganisms that can adapt to the environment. This could help researchers find life on other planets similar to Mars.
This research is in danger because Atacama, a hub for secondhand, unsold clothing from the United States and Europe, is threatened. Last year, more than 46,000 tons were dumped in desert.
From the free trade zone, used cars flood the country. They are stacked in the desert and piles of tires scatter across the landscape.
Patricio ferreira, mayor in the desert town Alto Hospicio, stated, “We are not only the local backyard anymore, but also the world’s backyard. Which is worse.” AFP.
The Atacama desert is drowning in garbage. The dusty landscape is littered with mountains of second-hand or unsold clothes.
From the free trade zones, used cars flood the country only to end up in the desert. Scientists are concerned about the potential damage to the environment and the possibility that the trash could cause research disruptions.
The Atacama desert is located between the Andes Mountains and the Chilean Coast Range. It blocks water from travelling inland from both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Even though it is the driest place on Earth, there are still one million people who call this desolate land home.
Experts say that the Atacama Desert in Chile is a fragile and unique ecosystem. However, trash from all over the globe is now being dumped there.
The mountains of clothing that now loom over once barren hills are largely due to the fast fashion industry.
The clothing is full of chemicals and can take up to 200 years for it to biodegrade.
“The material is highly explosive.” Paulin Silva (34-year-old lawyer and activist) filed a complaint with the country’s environmental court regarding the toxic effects of the clothing and trash mountains.
“It seems to us that we must find those responsible,” she stated, standing among the discarded items, which she claimed were ‘dangerous and an environmental risk, a threat to people’s lives.
There are microorganisms which have survived in harsh environments. Scientists believe they could be used to find life on Mars. Mars is similar to Earth. However, the thousands of tires could choke any life in the desert.
Pictured is lawyer and activist Paulin Silva, 34, who has filed a complaint at the country’s environmental court over the damage caused by the mountains of trash and clothing. Here she is, looking through a mountain of clothing.
This research is in danger because Atacama, a hub for unsold and secondhand clothing and shoes from the United States and Europe, is threatened. Last year, more than 46,000 tons were dumped into the desert.
The environment is becoming awash with garbage, especially when you consider the piles of tires and cars.
Ferreira lamented a lack of global awareness, ethical responsibility, and environmental protection from the ‘unscrupulous of this world’
“We feel abandoned.” She said that she felt like her land was being sacrificed.
Antofagasta’s Yungay District is the driest. Scientists have discovered microorganisms that thrive in this area.
These tiny life forms are able to adapt to low levels of water and solar radiation.
Their ability to survive may seem boring to most people, but scientists think these life forms might hold the key to survival on Earth and other worlds.
NASA uses the Yungay District as a test site for its robot vehicles. It considers it Earth’s closest landscape to Mars.
Patricio ferreira, mayor of Alto Hospicio said, “We are not only the local backyard. But rather the global backyard. Which is worse.”
The Atacama Desert, Chile’s largest desert, is fragile and unique. Experts believe that trash from all around the globe is damaging it.
An early prototype of the Perseverance rover was tested by the American space agency in 2017. The Perseverance rover is currently searching for ancient signs and life on the Moon. Red Planet.
The landscape is similar to Mars and the drilling capabilities were tested in the desert for their compatibility on Mars.
Also, the Atacama UV exposure closely matches what the rover is exposed to.
Although the desert doesn’t get much rain, fog rolls across it, which allows some plants, as well as some of the most hardy lichens, mushrooms, and algae, to grow.
When it rains more than average, wildflower species of vibrant colors bloom. This amazing display happens approximately every five to seven year. Most recently, in 2021.
It is an ecosystem that is “very fragile” because any change in the pattern of rain and fog will have immediate consequences for the species living there, according to Pablo Guerrero, a researcher from the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity and expert on desert cactus.
“There are some cactus types that are considered extinct due to climate change and pollution.”