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Conspiracy about combines that spray sand to make people believe in global warming

We debunk the conspiracy about combine harvesters spraying sand to create dust storms. We talk about the origin of this fake, and note that it is not really new and has already been spread in different countries.

No, this isn’t the Sahara, and these combines aren’t spraying sand to create a dust storm. 

Remember those “good” old fakes about chemical trails? These conspiracy theories suggest a secret operation where chemicals were supposedly being sprayed from passenger aircraft to “drastically reduce the world’s population.” Alleged illnesses like the coronavirus, pneumonia, and many others were also attributed to these supposed substances. 

While the reality was that they were spraying dispersants to combat oil spills at sea, many people chose to believe what they wanted.

Recently, a false prediction about an impending sandstorm in Ukraine gave rise to a new global conspiracy theory. This time, it’s about combines spraying sand to convince people of the “non-existent” global warming. Some even claim that the sand we see on our streets is a result of this alleged activity.

The video promoting this theory was posted on April 1 by an internet user named “tamaraplaksii”. It garnered over 11,262 likes on Instagram and another 11,290 on Facebook, plus 17,000 views, not to mention countless reposts.

While it could be dismissed as an April Fools’ joke, other videos on her page continue to further deny global warming. For instance, on January 8, she shared a statement from University of Melbourne professor Ian Plimer, who claimed that there was no evidence linking human activity to global warming.

But let’s set aside the topic of global warming for now (though do let us know if you’re interested). Instead, let’s delve into these “sand harvesters”.

Firstly, this isn’t a new fake. Similar videos making identical claims circulated in early 2022 across several European countries, including France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Local fact-checkers from the Knack website debunked these claims, confirming that combine harvesters weren’t responsible for the dust clouds.

Here’s the story behind it:

On March 17 of that same year, a layer of Saharan sand coated cars in Flanders. According to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), this phenomenon was a result of unstable weather conditions in Morocco. Strong winds had lifted sand from the Sahara, carrying it across the Mediterranean Sea to the Iberian Peninsula, then onward to France and eventually reaching the Benelux countries.

In the wake of this natural phenomenon, social media platforms began speculating and, in some cases, spreading outright falsehoods claiming that the sand was artificially dispersed. As evidence, some posts included a video showing combine harvesters spraying thick dust, resembling sand, high into the air.

However, this video was not recent. It was originally filmed in August 2019 and sourced from the Brazilian YouTube channel Agroband, which focuses on agriculture. 

In the video, a Portuguese voiceover can be heard laughing and saying, “What’s that supposed to mean? A machine to make other machines dirty? To make dust? Imagine what the air filter on these tractors must look like.” 

The versions of the video circulating on social media were cropped. The full video reveals dense vegetation and even green grass adjacent to the sandy landscapes, making it clear that the landscape is not the Sahara.

So, what are we really seeing in these videos?

Most likely, it’s either harvesting for animal feed or the spraying of shredded plant awns to enrich the soil. 

In conclusion: This is definitely NOT Saharan sand. The landscape itself gives it away. Moreover, this video has absolutely NOTHING to do with the current meteorological conditions, especially because it’s at least five years old.

Сергій Одаренко
Сергій Одаренко
редактор По той бік новин
фактчекерка на всі крильця
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
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