Poverty and Environmental Degradation in Uyo Urban, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
The high level of poverty in the world today is a major force behind contemporary environmental problems. It is true that the degradation of our environment has been exacerbated by widespread poverty. Thus, it is virtually impossible to effectively discuss the idea of urban environmental sustainability without paying serious attention to the problems of poverty. The poor in cities are both agents and victims of environmental damage. For example, poor families pollute the environment through indiscriminate disposal of wastes just as inadequate residential accommodation often results in overcrowding in decrepit slums. On the other hand, the deteriorated urban environment could lead to the causation of a number of diseases such as cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea, among the urban poor. The work is divided into four sections. The first section deals with the conceptual issues of poverty and environmental sustainability. The second part examines how poverty causes environmental damage while the third part attempts to show how the poor are the greatest victims of environment degradation. The concluding section will examine the methods of alleviating the problem of poverty in the city. The paper concludes that since the poor are the worst affected by environmental degradation, any meaningful development of the urban milieu must take cognizance of the mass of the urban poor in such a way that efforts to improve their quality of life does not in any way jeopardize the environment.
Keyword: urban environmental sustainability, problems of poverty, environment degradation
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