THE EFFECT OF RURAL POVERTY ON ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

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✎: THE EFFECT OF RURAL POVERTY ON ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

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Keywords: THE EFFECT OF RURAL POVERTY ON ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

 

RESEARCH BODY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Poverty is a social phenomenon that has eaten deep into the fabrics of every society ranging from its political, social and economic organizations. It is therefore a social problem that has affected the productive sector of every economy such as agricultural and industrial sector to mention but a few. According to Aluk (2011) poverty is defined as lack of command over basic consumption needs such as clothing, food and shelter. World Band (2005), define poverty as inability to attain a minimum standard of living. Environmental degradation on the other hand is defined as how the environment is affected through certain forces such as flood, deforestation, overgrazing, and the use of harmful chemicals as well as environmental pollution in the environment. Poverty is most pervasive in rural than urban areas. This assessment can be justified by the examination of the level of concentration of economic institutions and activities. It is indisputable that economic institutions are only concentrated in urban centres, creating more opportunities for job, good living and what can be obtained in the rural areas (Ahmed, 2010). When comparative analysis of the level of income as it affects the quality of life and standard of living of both rural and urban settlements is made, a variation of the difference in the social relationship in art of production, allocation of scarce resources and distribution, what comes to mind is the question of those who benefit more as a wide gap exist among the rural and urban dwellers as it affects the circulation and control of goods and services and of prices (Maxwell, 2006). Many studies have established that there exists a strong social relationship between poverty and environmental degradation. This is because factors like level of income, quality and prices of goods and services affects the living standard of people in rural areas thereby affecting their activities towards the environment. Also, most of the poor people particularly in developing countries rely on natural resources for their livelihood, and these people are very vulnerable to causing environmental problems. Apa local government area is predominantly a rural based society with 75% of her population depending on agriculture as their main occupation. Base on the agrarian nature of her economy, crops, and tubers are highly produced with more than half percent of the population of women and children constituting the chunk of the labour force. For some time now efforts have been made by the government, corporate bodies and irrigation organizations to curb the incidence of environmental degradation in the area through deliberate policies and programmes aimed at poverty alleviation among the rural people yet, poverty remain the major constrain militating against the development of the rural people. It is for this reason that this study is design to investigate the effects of poverty on environmental degradation with reference to Apa local government area of Benue State. Statement of the Problem Nwagbara, (2012) in his assessment of poverty, environmental degradation and sustainable development assets that the poor have traditionally taken the brunt of the blame for causing society’s many problems. Anijah-Obi (2001), observes that poverty, a deplorable state of human welfare, is closely linked to environmental degradation. The poor are both victims and agents of environmental damage. Poverty may be created by negative and unjust social conditions such as structural inequality. Those who are poor and hungry will often destroy their immediate environments in order to survive. They are responsible for cultivating tired soil and cutting down forests. They throw waste into gutters and streams, because they lack the basic necessities of life. They lack resources and materials necessary for living within a minimum standard conducive to human dignity and well-being. In Apa local government, the poor depend extensively on firewood for cooking which requires the falling of trees without replacement. There are two major streams in the local government that serves as a source of both industrial and domestic water supply to its inhabitants this are the Ochi-Chi and Okpeje streams. Activities of fishing with chemicals, dumping of refuse in stream and water channels, open deification, and mining of the soil for lime stone and granite constitute some of the major environmental problems propel by human activities. All this in no small measure have continued to cause the outbreak of cholera disease and other health challenges of its inhabitants which mostly affect the poor due to their inability to find alternative to both source of water that is already contaminated and environmental pollution caused by indiscriminate waste disposal. Hence, the need for this study to examine the effects of poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local government area of Benue State.

Research Questions

The following research questions are advanced to guide this study: 1.  How does poverty cause environmental degradation?

2.  What are the effects of poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local government?

3.  What measures can be employed to ameliorate the problem of poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local government?

Keywords: THE EFFECT OF RURAL POVERTY ON ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

 


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Keywords: THE EFFECT OF RURAL POVERTY ON ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

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