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Environmental and natural resources economics


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Environmental and natural resources economics

  1. 1. 1.0. INTRODUCTIONPopulation, Poverty and Environment nexus is worldwide ongoing debate that try to establishcausal and effect relationship and empirical links between Population, Poverty andEnvironment. This debate is very important because by only knowing these links is where thesolution of this problem can be found.Different scholars hold different opinions on this debate; some are in views that Population isthe cause, while Poverty and Environment are the effects. These scholars argues that there isunmatched proportional increase between population and food production as it had beensuggested by famous economists Thomas Malthus in his publication concern an Essay on thePrinciple of Population (1798). This unmatched proportion is the one that lead into excessivepoverty and environmental problems that faces this world at present. Other scholars arguethat Environmental degradation is the cause that pushes poor people into worse situation.These scholars argue that the environmental degradations that are done mainly by richindustrialized countries are the major cause of poverty in developing countries because theypollute environment and cause climate changes that affect mostly poor people that dependvery much on natural resources (Mei, F 1992). Also, others believe that Poverty is theprincipal cause that leads into population and environmental degradation. They give anargument that poor people especially in African countries take number of children as a meansof obtaining social status and manpower of working in their pieces of land that have very lowmarginal returns due to poor technology. Moreover, they argue that because poor peopledepend mainly on natural resources for food, fuel and buildings, large population meansover-exploitation of natural resources that lead into environmental degradationsIn other hand, there are scholars who argue that the relationship between Population, Povertyand Environment is complex one and more interactive. It has been observed that therelationship cannot be looked in simple cause and effect relationship but complex reversibleand interlinked one, therefore, poverty is the cause and effect of population andEnvironmental degradation. Jalal (1993) also argued that environmental degradation, poverty,rapid population growth and stagnant population are closely linked with the fast spread ofacute poverty in many Asian countries.Before examining this nexus between Population, Poverty and Environment, it is necessary todefine key terms of poverty and environment as they are used in this paper, and discuss indetail the problem of Environmental degradation in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) andthe whole world in general.1.1 DEFINITION OF IMPORTANT TERMS1.1.1 PovertyPoverty has been defined in many ways by different scholars; Coudouel and Hentschel(2000), a person is poor when his/her personal income or consumption is below a specified‘poverty line’. Poverty is deprivation in the most essential capabilities of life includingleading a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable, having adequate economicprovisioning and participating fully in the life of the community (UNDP, 1997). But inactual life it is difficult to say some one is poor or a certain country is poor since poverty isdynamic and it vary from one person to another, it can change year to year. Poor people
  2. 2. normally depend much on their informal sector and production of goods which have got lowvalue, this makes difficult for them to reach a point where they can earn more and hencegraduate from extreme poverty to the less poverty (World Bank, 2000a). The poor are not ahomogeneous group, but experience poverty in different ways, requiring a range of policyresponses and measurements. In terms of the linkages between poverty and environment,these are inevitably complex and diverse, reflecting the diversity of poverty dimensions andexperiences Many poor people rely on their own production and informal-sector activities inwhich the concept of profit is unclear, rather than on a formal income (Glewwe and Van derGaag, 1988).1.1.2 EnvironmentEnvironment can be defined as to what surrounding human being. Environment is an externalconditions and surroundings, especially those affect the life of plants, animals, and humanbeings (Dale .D, 2006). There is different ways of defining environment, but majority havedefined environment with reference to the human beings. The term ‘environment’ may beused narrowly, with reference to green issues concerned with nature such as pollution control,biodiversity and climate change; or more broadly, including issues such as drinking water andsanitation provision often known as the ‘brown agenda’. Neefjes (2000) uses the term in abroad sense, referring to the environment as a vehicle for analyzing and describingrelationships between people and their surroundings, now and in the future. Bucknall (2000)notes that the environment generally refers to a natural resource base that provides sourcesand performs sink functions.1.1.3 PopulationThe term population refers to the total human inhabitants of a specified area, such as a city,country, or continent, at a given time. Population study as a discipline is known asdemography. It is concerned with the size, composition, and distribution of populations; theirpatterns change over time through births, deaths, and migration; and the determinants andconsequences of such changes. Population studies yield knowledge important for planning,particularly by governments, in fields such as health, education, housing, social security,employment, and environmental preservation. Such studies also provide information neededto formulate government population policies, which seek to modify demographic trends inorder to achieve economic and social objectives (Encarta, 2009).2.0 ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATIONEnvironmental degradation is among of the major problem to both developed and developingcountries although it affects mostly developing countries. Environmental degradation duringthe past few decades has come to prominence as one of the most important current globalissues (Desta, 1999). This is because its effects have been started to be witnessed in differentparts of the world. Things like climate change increase in temperature, severe drought, el-Nino increase in water level in the seas and oceans as well as eruption of environmentalrelated diseases are the some of the effects that linked directly to the Environmental
  3. 3. degradation. Environmental degradation includes water pollution, land pollution, and airpollution. The major results of environmental degradation problems include severe soilerosion that lead into soil infertility, deforestation, and conversion of wetlands (Wanga, et al.,2010). These problems have been associated with ecological degradation. Low cropproductivity, poor water quality and severe health problems facing millions of people in theworld especially poor countries. Degradation of environment can be done by naturalcalamities like floods, and earthquakes, but also can be caused by human activities likeindustrialization and deforestation. In this paper, only environmental problems that are linkedwith poverty and population will be discussed. Environmental degradation can be caused byrich as well as poor countries. The issues like Industrialization is done mostly by developedcountries that pollute air and destruct ozone layer which leads to the global warming, but itseffects harm badly developing countries than developed one. Also these countries used todispose industrial wastes in the ocean where they destruct the generations of various aquaticspecies (Ndalawa, 2005). While the bad practices like deforestation and shifting cultivationmostly are done by developing countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Congo, Angola etc wheremajority depend on wood energy for cooking due to excessive poverty among those societies.Below is the discussion about empirical nexus between Population, Poverty andEnvironmental degradation;2.1 THE INTERACTION BETWEEN POVERTY AND ENVIRONMENTThere is obvious link between poverty and environmental degradation. This link can be saidto be two way reversible links. This means that each one between the two can be cause andeffect of the other. Poverty can be a cause as well as effect of environmental degradation. Thesame applied to environmental degradation.According to World Commission on Environment and Development, (1987). Poverty is oneof the greatest threats to the environment (UNDP, 1990). Jalal (1993) also argued thatenvironmental degradation, rapid population growth and stagnant population are closelylinked with the fast spread of acute poverty in many Asian countries. Poverty seems tocontribute much to the environmental degradation since the majorities depend much onagriculture in which they are practicing poor farming method like shifting cultivation andover grazing which lead to soil erosion. In addition, World Bank (1992) stated that poorfamilies who have to meet short-term needs mine the natural capital by excessive cutting oftrees for firewood and failure to replace soil nutrients. The situation mirrors what has beenhappening in most developing countries, namely simultaneous increase in poverty andenvironmental degradation (Duraiappah, 1998). Housing investments are major user of woodproducts, has been rapidly growing and causing widespread of deforestation (World Bank1992). Some studies reveal that due to deforestation, agricultural expansion and overgrazingof livestock there has been widespread destruction of grasslands causing environmentalproblems (Lieu et al 1991). Environment degradation lead to poor soil quality, low rainfall,lack of salinity water, and diseases which are caused by sunrays, all these lead to the lowproductivity which in the long run lead to the shortage of food security, eruption of diseases,and hence lead to the poverty. Degradation of environment caused either by the poor or therich has both direct and indirect impacts not only on the cost of production but also on theproductivity of crops and thus on the income of the people (P.Nayak, 2004).
  4. 4. The poor people in particular and poor countries in general have traditionally taken the bruntof the blame for causing society’s many problems including, more recently environmentaldegradation (.Duraiappah, 1996). Many people and various institutions have been arguingthat still poverty is big challenge to the environment. It is obvious that poor people dependmuch on the use of natural environment for their day to day life, this include for economicand social activities. Poverty is a major cause of environmental problems and eradication ofpoverty is a necessary and central condition for any effective programme that addresses theenvironment problems (Ibid).Generally, environmental degradation can take different forms. But the common ones aredeforestation, water pollution, air pollution and land degradation. The discussion below,dwell on the relationship between poverty and each of the above form of environmentaldegradation.2.1.1 Poverty and DeforestationDeforestation involves cutting trees down; it can be for the aim of cultivating, construction orfor economic activities. Deforestation is normally done by the poor people in the rural areas;this is to try to make their life better. The theoretical literature of sustainable developmenttends to suggest that rapid population growth will seriously impair the chances of trulysustainable development (Khatun, 2000). Often, poor people have no money which can makethem spend on alternative power apart from charcoal and fire wood, they rely much ondeforestation of the trees which they are using as fire wood or they go further by makingcharcoal. Also because of the problem of unemployment in the rural and urban areas, most ofthe people of the rural areas used to make charcoal as a source of their income.According to Poverty and Human Development Report (PHDR, 2009), more than 95% ofrural population in Tanzania, use firewood and charcoal for cooking. This indicates that thereare thousands of trees that are cut daily to meet this extremely huge demand of fuel. People inpoverty are forced to deplete resources to survive, and this degradation of environmentfurther impoverishes people (Ostrom et al., 1999). Poverty constrained options may inducethe poor to deplete resources at rates that are incompatible with long-term sustainability(Holden et al., 1996).In most of the rural areas people depend much on crop cultivation and livestock production.But the problem is that they don’t want to change by keeping few livestock instead they stillovergrazing in their area. Over grazing is among of the problems which lead to theenvironmental degradation especially deforestation by killing growing trees and cause soilerosion. The problem of the soil erosion together with deforestation lead to the soil infertilityand hence low productivity, this also leads to the poverty because people continuing to sufferfrom famine. Some studies reveal that due to deforestation, agricultural expansion andovergrazing of livestock there has been widespread destruction of grasslands causingenvironmental problems (Lieu et al 1991). In developing countries majority of people areliving in rural areas and few of them are living in urban areas, since those who live in ruralareas are much depend on agriculture cultivation and livestock as a source of their income asexplained earlier, they have to clear large area of forest for cultivation to meet their fooddemand and by doing so they act as agents of the environmental degradation.
  5. 5. Poor people especially those who live in rural areas usually forced to exploit marginal areas,such as steep hillsides, or derive resources from protected areas and therefore causedeforestation. Also, most of poor people have no enough knowledge about conservation ofenvironment, so sometimes they cause bushfire unnecessarily. Due to the impact ofpopulation growth, they often lack the incentives to intensify their production and are forcedto exploit new, fragile lands so that to cope up with the increasing demand of food, they solvethis problem on the expenses of deforestation (Ndalawa, 2005) Poor rural people especially livestock keepers are always at great risk of being victim ofhunger; therefore they keep a large herds. Hence the poor themselves will aggravate theprocess of environmental degradation and hence act as an agent of environmentaldegradation. This causal-effect relationship between Poverty and Environmental degradationalso was observed by the Bruntland Commission report that insists that, poverty is a majorcause of environmental problems (WCED, 1987). Deforestation itself is not a problem and infact may be a necessary condition for economic development. However, when deforestationoccurs at rates which set into motion negative feedback effects which risk both the ecologicalas well as economic systems both at the regional and global level, then it becomes imperativeto understand why unsustainable deforestation activities are being pursued (Duraiappah,1996).Despite the fact that there are many factors which cause deforestation but there are factorswhich are very common in the worldwide, those factors are like agriculture activities, fuelcollection, and logging activities. For agriculture purposes, poor people always do practiceshifting cultivation and pastoralism that contribute very much in deforestation problem. Cruz(1990), argue that shifting cultivators, agricultural and pastoral encroachment in the wake oflogging trails were the major causes of deforestation. Another way through which povertycontributes to deforestation is by using building materials. Most of poor communities usetrees either as building materials or in burning bricks. Usually, their houses are not durablethat make them to build now and then and therefore to add more the problem of deforestation.Apart from poverty, there are factors that are believed to accelerate this problem ofdeforestation. Davidson (1993) cites conversion of forests for cattle ranching as well as thecultivation of cash crops as responsible for 50% of the deforestation in the tropics.Jaganathan (1989) cites the Haskoning study in 1987 which highlighted market forces as themain factors causing deforestation in Indonesia. Southgate and Pierce (1988) cite the smallfarmer as the main agent responsible for unsustainable deforestation activities. Also asmentioned above logging activities cause a serious problem on environment; this is byundergoing deforestation it leads to the soil erosion and change of the climate.Also, it is argued that deforestation is a result of market economy, this means the market hasbeen failed to allocate the scarce resources. The study estimates that of the 17.6 to 19.2million hectares of forest that were cleared in Brazil’s Amazon basin, 5 million was attributedto commercial logging, 2 million to fuel wood gathering and the remainder to smallfarms(Ibid).In general, it can be concluded that poverty is the principle cause of deforestation, althoughfor some extent poverty can be fuelled by deforestation and bad exploitation of naturalresources that do not keep into consideration principles of sustainable use of those resources.
  6. 6. It can be observed from the picture below how poor people depend much on fuel wood astheir sources of energy. A simple wood stove in a traditional home in KwaZula, Natal, South Africa. Reproduced from Bruce et al (2000)
  7. 7. 2.1.2 Poverty and Water pollutionWater is the major important natural resource in the whole world; it is used for domestic andindustrial activities. Water pollution is mainly done by developed countries by dumping theirwaste discharges and plastic debris along the coasts of developing countries. But poor peoplealso pollute water even though for small percent. Poor people especially those who live intowns engage in urban vegetable production. In these activities they apply chemicals andfertilizers. When it rains, through leaching process some of chemicals contaminated withwater tend to flow towards the direction of rivers where it reach and pollute water and killsvarious aquatic spices and cause water bone diseases (Mei, F, 1992). Since most of poorpeople along the coast areas and near big rivers and lakes depend on small scale fishing,decrease in quantity and quality of fishes affect their economic situation and push themdeeper into the pond of poverty.Also, there are some of fishermen especially those who have no enough education and poortherefore they have no modern fishing equipments; they decide using chemicals that kill largeamount of fishes. By doing so, they pollute water and disturb aquatic ecology system. As aresult, the outbreak of water borne diseases occurs such as diarrhea disease, which is in turn amajor cause of infant mortality in developing countries and fishes become scarce. This causesincrease in excessive poverty among poor fishing societies (Wanga et al, 2010.What can be leant from above explanations is that, apart from causing water pollution,poverty also can be accelerated by water pollution. In simple way, it can be said that like indeforestation, poverty is cause and effect of water pollution. Therefore any intervention thataimed in solving water pollution problem should go simultaneously with alleviation ofpoverty or vice versa.2.1.3 Poverty and Land degradationLand includes not only the soil resource, but also the water, vegetation, landscape, andmicroclimatic components of an ecosystem. Land degradation can be defined as the processof disvaluing the value of the land; the process is much caused by overgrazing, deforestation,application of fertilizer in the agriculture activities, and burning activities. Land degradationrefers to a temporary or permanent decline in the productive capacity of the land or itspotential for environmental management (Yadav at el, 1996). Blaikie and Brookfield (1987)very rightly state that the term land degradation is a perceptual word and the definitions varyaccording to the researcher’s intent and purpose. Productivity has been impaired due toanthropogenic activities (Duraiappah, 1996). Land degradation is a result of human activities,this include deforestation, overgrazing and application of fertilizers in the agricultureactivities. It is estimated that 0.3 to 0.5% (5-7 million hectares) of total world arable land islost annually due to land degradation (Duraiappah, 1996). Dudal (1982), estimates that thisfigure would double by the year 2000 if present trends continue.There are several reasons for land degradation; this involves various soil exhaustion,salinisation, and desertification. But all of the above reasons have direct link with poverty.For example, poor small farmers are being blamed as people who are mostly committed tothe exhaustion of the soil. Southgate (1988), argues that small farmers have been the mainagents responsible for land Degradation activities. Poor farmers usually apply poor traditional
  8. 8. technology of cultivation. The methods such as monoculture and monocroping contributemuch in this problem.Another way by which poor people in particular and poverty in general lead into landdegradation is through overgrazing and pastoralism. Due to lack of education, poor livestockkeepers are holding large herds compared to available areas of grazing. Therefore lack ofpastures force them to move from one area to another causing conflict between them andfarmers as well as land degradation. The degraded land usually is infertile and thereforecannot grow crops or pastures that cause poverty to them.However, there are other reasons of land degradation like the market and institutional failure.Mlambiti (1998) argues that government price controls on agricultural goods and land tenuresystem in Tanzania do not provide enough incentives for the small and poor farmers toconserve their land but to “mine” it for maximum output.2.1.4 Poverty and Air pollutionAir pollution can be defined as the presence of impurities in the air, it can be carbon dioxide,sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Globally, almost 3 billion people rely on bio mass(wood, charcoal, crop residues, and dung) and coal as their primary source of domesticenergy (Ezzati and Kamme, 2002). An estimated 2.5 to 3 billion people worldwide rely onbiomass fuels to meet their household energy needs, burning wood, animal dung, crop wastesin simple stoves, these households typically generate high levels of indoor air pollution thatadversely affect health, especially of women and young children (Yeh, 2004). Biomassaccounts for more than half of domestic energy use in many least and developing countriesand for as much as 95% in some lower- income nations (Ibid). It has been hypothesized thatwith increasing income, house hold switch to cleaner fuels, moving up an energy ladder. Air pollution mostly is caused by human activities like burning, agriculture activities andindustrial activities together with natural factors like earthquakes, storm, and volcanoeruptions .One half of the world’s households, and up to 95% of people in poor countries,burn wood, dung, peat and other biomass fuels, as well as coal, for energy (CIT). As womenare primarily responsible for cooking, and children often spend time with their mothers,women and young children are disproportionately affected by the indoor air pollution causedby the use of solid fuels and traditional stoves (Ibid). Moreover, these activities take much oftheir times that otherwise would be used for economic activities and therefore add to theproblem of poverty. Acute respiratory infection is one of the leading causes of child mortality in the world,accounting for up to 20% of fatalities among children under five, almost all of them indeveloping countries (Ibid). In the rural areas of developing and least developed countries airpollution exposures tend to be highest indoors where majority of households use unprocessedsolid fuels (biomass and coal) for cooking and space heating(Mishra, 2003).But despite the mentioned factors above most of the causes of the problem are humanactivities. Small farmers normally use poor farming methods like bushfire. Farmers arepreparing their farms by burning various wastes in the farm, also the practice of shiftingcultivation using the burning of the trees to prepare land. When burning process is goingahead carbon dioxide gas is given out to air which pollute air, this problem in the long runcan lead to the global warming simply because it destroy ozone layer. Indoor air pollution is
  9. 9. also affecting the health and environment, especially in the rural areas (Khatu, 2000). InBangladesh about 70 percent of total energy is provided by the traditional sources, such asagricultural residue, fuel wood and animal dung (Ibid). Concentration from indoor cookinghas been observed to be very high and in the absence of any measures of this we do not knowthe extent of the pollution (Ibid).Also poor people depend much on fire wood and charcoal as their only source of energy, thisalso cause air pollution. Biomass is still the dominating form of fuel used for cooking andheating in the least developed and developing countries (Tolba et al., 1993). Althoughsubstitute fuels are available, the possibility of the poor gaining access to them are negligible,due to both price and income effects (Duraiappah, 1996). In the process of preparingcharcoal, carbon dioxide gas is given out and cause air pollution. By using direct firewood assource of energy, the problem of air pollution is worsening since firewood or most of theplants give out carbon dioxide gas when burnt. The problem become more worse when itcomes to poor families because they have no money to spend on alternative sources of energylike electricity and other non pollutant gases. For the least developed countries theaccessibility of alternative sources of energy is very little, this means that even those peoplewho have enough money to use other sources of energy like electricity fail to do so becausethis services is not reliable for these countries, so this people are forced to go ahead to theusage of charcoal and firewood.2.2 LINK BETWEEN POPULATION, POVERTY AND ENVIRONMENTALDEGRADATION.2.2.1 Population and PovertyThe link between population and poverty can be trace from Malthus work entitled “An Essayon the Principle of Population” which has been published in 1798. According to Malthus,population tends to increase faster than the supply of food available for its needs. Whenever arelative gain occurs in food production over population growth, a higher rate of populationincrease is stimulated; on the other hand, if population grows too much faster than foodproduction, the growth is checked by famine, disease, and war. Malthuss theory contradictedthe optimistic belief prevailing in the early 19th century that a societys fertility would lead toeconomic progress. Malthuss theory won supporters and was often used as an argumentagainst efforts to better the condition of the poor (Encarta, 2009). However, Malthus’s theoryis not perfectly right, but there some evidences from reality that support his argument.Increase of the number of people who suffer from hunger and absolute poverty is one of theseevidences. Rapid population growth in most of poor countries of Africa, Asia and SouthAmerica brings very big challenges to their economic development. It seems that the rate ofpopulation growth outpace that of national production. Therefore, governments of the poorcountries cannot manage to provide necessary social services such as water supply, qualityeducation and health services that can be used to improve the welfare of the people. Also,governments of the poor countries cannot manage to develop well and quality infrastructuressuch as reliable transportation networks and energy supply system which is a key factor to theeconomic development.At family level, large number of children usually associated by poverty. This is becauseparents normally fail to meet day to day necessities of their family. For example they cannot
  10. 10. afford to send all their kids to school to get education. Not only that but also, they fail toprovide daily meals and treatments. All of the above lead to the vicious cycle of povertybetween parents and their children.2.2.2 The interaction between population and environment.Development economists have been concerned about the impact of population growth andrelated demographic transition on the rate of economic growth, while neoclassical economistssought to redress the classical economists’ concern of whether it is possible to maintain anincreasing or even steady standard of living in the face of finite resources and a growingpopulation (Panayotou, 2000).High population growth is said to be among of the causes of the environmental degradation,this has been observed in various places where is common to see the population growth rateis increasing at high rate. Increasing in the population either by high birth rate or migrationfrom one place to another force people to look for the land where they can build their housesand the places where they conduct their business, because of the high population people willbe forced to find the virgin land by cutting trees and build their houses or conducting theirbusiness. Also some people will be forced to clear the land by cutting trees in order to havemore land for cultivation for the purpose of having more food for their own life. Rapidpopulation growth rate in the face of finite environmental resources will have catastrophiceffect on human well being (Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1970).Population growth affects land use mainly through strengthening of agricultural production.There is both historical and empirical evidence that different population densities anddifferent population growth rates produce different land use patterns and changes over time.Logically, more people need more food, which can come only from either expansion ofagriculture into new lands, or use of existing agricultural land more intensively, or acombination of the two depending on relative costs, themselves a function of technological,institutional and ecological factors. Evanson (1993) argued that there is enough evidencefrom India that shows how population growth induced people to cultivate additional land aswell as to use existing land more productively. Mink (1993) argued that there are someassociations between the average annual change in population and average annual change inthe agricultural land. The relationship between expanding human populations and recedingforests, especially in the tropics, has received considerable attention, since forests play a keyrole in water and soil conservation, wildlife habitat, biodiversity protection and the carboncycle, as well as being a source of raw material for the timber industry and livelihood forLocal communities (Panayotou, 2000). Each year, 70 million people are added to worldpopulation, mostly in developing countries and 15 million square kilometers of forestsdisappear (Ibid).Increase in population in various areas also becomes a problem to the places where peopleare living near by the rivers where they depend much on rivers for domestic activities andother productive activities like cultivation near the rivers and sometimes removing sand forthe construction activities, all these activities destroy environment and gearing to the lost ofbiodiversity. This is because people in those areas sometimes make their activities likecultivation very close to the river and sometimes their activities they force they to inter in therivers, this is like fishing activities by using ballot, and removing those sand as buildingmaterials. In a number of developing countries, the rapidly growing number of impoverished
  11. 11. people is a key factor in environmental degradation due to urban expansion, deforestation andcultivation of marginal lands. Unsustainable patterns of consumption by more affluent groupsin both developed and developing countries constitute another crucial factor in degradation ofthe global environment (UN, 1994).There are various countries which have been mentioned by different researchers on theproblem of the environmental degradation due to the increasing in the population, these arelike the forested uplands of Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand, the forests ofCentral America, the arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the small island states in theSouth Pacific -- describing the major ways that human activity and growing populationsimpact on natural resources in each (Ibid). The mangrove forests which are available invarious countries, a major economic resource base and a rich source of biodiversity, arethreatened by increased harvesting of wood, aggravating flooding and soil erosion. Theexpansion of land under cultivation is damaging sensitive coastal ecosystems; all theseprocesses bear a direct relationship to population growth (Ibid).The problem of overpopulation also is said to be the problems to the environmentalconservation, this is because overpopulation cause the demand for goods to be high and thiseconomically lead to the quantity of goods and services demanded to be very high thansupply and lead to the people in various to engage in production of those goods and transportto the place where those goods are being demanded at that time. This process is achieved bypeople to expand areas for cultivation, and for the fishermen to fish more in order to meet thedemand of the particular people where there is a deficit of those products. The explainedprocess is the most problem to the environmental. Deforestation in the Asian tropics, thereport demonstrates, is also integrally linked to population growth (although the preciserelationship is the subject of much debate (UN, 1994).Population growth it has been observed as the cause of air pollution, this can be emission ofdifferent gases like fluorocarbon, carbon dioxide gases, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.Harrison (1994), observed that, 36% of the annual emissions growth between 1965 and 1989to population growth and 64 percent to per capita consumption of energy, while technologyhelped offset part of the emissions growth. The emission of gas is a problem to bothdeveloped and developing countries, theses gases are normally from industrial activities indeveloped countries and few from least developed and developing countries. Lutz (1993), onthe other hand, taking into account regional differences in population growth, energyconsumption and deforestation found a smaller role for population growth in the total growthof industrial CO2 emissions and a larger role for population growth for CO2 and methaneemissions from land use changes.On the other hand population growth can lead to increase the Gross Domestic Product of thecountry, this is through increase in the availability of labour which could be employed indifferent sectors and hence increase national output. Alternatively, increased population canindirectly enhance output and productivity (Thirwall, 1986), and, therefore, it could be thatthe sustainable development explains, some pessimism as it does not capture the complexinteractions that exist between population growth, technology and productivity. More peoplemay bring higher number of entrepreneurs in different sectors like agriculture, manufacturingindustries and services sectors. Also there may be a pressure for more efficient provision ofInfrastructure for bigger population (Simon, 1986).
  12. 12. Improvement of technology can manage to reduce or protect of high population and increaseproductivity, this can be in the ways that since people have access to improved technology itcan be easy for them to practice good agricultural cultivation on a small portion of land andharvest more produces. Dasgupta (1993) found a positive relationship between rural poverty,population fertility and environmental resource base degradation and concludes his study bystating that it was not only poverty but also institutional failures that were the root causes ofenvironmental degradation. Jeganathan (1989), and Jodha (1989) both disagree withDasgupta’s conclusion, and assert that the poor do not have the resources to degrade theenvironment; and have the short time preference which propels them to destroy a resourcewhich they regard as safety buffers during time of destitution. However, they do agree withDasgupta on the role institutional and market failure plays in providing incentives to the poorto have short time preferences; and the rich to exploit the resource base at unsustainable rates.In other ways population is not necessarily a cause of environmental degradation andincreased population means stimulate to technological change (Khatun.A, 2000). It issuggested that land intensification ceases as good land is exhausted, or as other factorsprevent further development of new lands, then intensification occurs. In fact the evidence isthat intensification occurs before this point of exhaustion and the two often run in parallel(Ibid). The resulting farmer-induced technological change is sufficient to support the newpopulation level; the argument goes, although others doubt that farmer technology alonecould support high rates of population growth (Ibid). Tiffen and Mortimore (1994) work onLand Resources Management in Machakos District, Kenya 1930-1990 is perhaps the mostwidely cited modern study (Ibid). Machakos in east central Kenya in1930s was regarded as aseriously degraded area which is inhabited by the kamba people; the area today has five timesas many people as in the 1930a and a real per capita agricultural output that is three times asmany people as in the 1930s level (Ibid). A study of 23 Latin American countries in the1980s found that agricultural area expansion was positively related to population growth(Southgate, 1990). Examining the case of Colombia, Heath and Binswanger (1995) concludethat eliminating the adverse policy nexus should be the highest priority rather than thereduction of population growth. Various reviews have suggested that reducing populationgrowth cannot be demonstrated to have major impacts on economic growth and economicdevelopment, because reduce population means reduce working class which automaticallylead to the scarcity of labour and hence low domestic gross product(GDP). If there areimpacts of high population on the environment, they are modest, and hence the high profilegiven to population changes as a cause of poor economic and environmental performance isnot warranted (Kelley, 1988).Many scholars observed population in a positive way; they argued that high populationgrowth rate implies increasing in the labour which is to be used in the productive sectors inorder to increase economic growth. According to Simon (1986)”human inventiveness is theultimate resource; more people means more brains devising solutions to emerging problems”More people mean more ideas, bigger markets, economies of scale which the country it canenjoy, more specialization and easier communications and eventually more resources (Ibid). George (1879) saw population growth as a source of wealth and overpopulation not as acause but a consequence of poverty. Population growth and population density are catalystsof wealth through increased cooperation and specialization, extra labor results in extraproductivity of land and this results in more food, more than sufficient to feed the additionalpopulation; hence the Malthusian prediction of overpopulation and famines does (Ibid).
  13. 13. 3.0 RICH COUNTRIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION.One theory postulates that poverty is a direct cause of environmental degradation (Durning,1989). In the other hands some experts do not agree the concept that environmentaldegradation are caused by the poverty instead they argued that since poor people who mostfound in least developing countries and developing countries have no any resources or heavyindustries which can lead to destroy environment in large extent instead those countries fromfirst world countries are most destroyers of the environment since they produce gases whichcause global warming, and some wastes are being disposed in the oceans where they destroyaquatic species . Somonathan (1991) argues that the poor do not have the resources or themeans to cause environmental degradation. Jeganathan (1989), and Jodha (1989) both givethe following argument, poor people cannot cause environmental degradation because theydo not: 1) have the resources to degrade the environment; and 2) have the short timepreference which propels them to destroy a resource which they regard as safety buffersduring time of destitution. However, they do agree with Dasgupta on the role institutional andmarket failure plays in providing incentives to: 1) the poor to have short time preferences;and 2) the rich to exploit the resource base at unsustainable rates.The discussion below focuses on different ways through which developed countries polluteenvironment as a result pushes more people into ocean of poverty.3.1 Conquests and ColonizationMost of poor countries are lying within the tropical belt in which always they are rich innatural wealth and biodiversity and they always attracted the eyes of other nations to possessthis wealth - to provide raw material for wars and to fuel their own economies (Nath 2000).Imperialism sowed the seeds of environmental unsustainability in these countries that were tolater emerge as developing countries. Under the imperial rule, the Colonialists forced farmersin poor countries to cultivate indigo, cotton and tobacco as it was a very profitable crop forthem but it totally degraded the farm land and rendered it unfit for cultivation of other crops.In the course of this agrarian revolution, there was a clear felling of economically profitableforests in many parts of poor nations. In the most of African poor countries, the destruction offorests caused a warming of the region within a few decades. It led to a drop in the watertable, followed by salinization of the flatlands between the rivers. This had far reachingconsequences for the quality of the soil, the amount of available water and finally the fertilityof the area. Within a few years the soil had suffered degradation which was compounded bythe intensive farming of cash crops. When Colonialists left, there was a total breakdown ofthe indigenous systems for preservation of natural wealth, traditional seed storage, andcommunity forest management systems. There was a loss of biodiversity wealth and therewas a greater commercialization of its natural resource based activities as against their earlierhousehold (Ibid). These environment degrading activities led to excessive poverty amongindividuals and all poor countries in general.3.2 Dumping of harmful wastes in poor countries’ coastsIn the 1980s, the environmental regulations governing waste treatment in the developedworld became tighter and the costs of domestic safe disposal increased (Nath, 2000). Thissaw a simultaneous increase in the activities of the toxic terrorists in shipping waste to thedeveloping countries. A significant amount of hazardous waste generated in industrialized
  14. 14. countries has ended up in poor developing countries in the 1980s as a result of legal (orillegal) contracts to accept waste in exchange for cash. Although the Basel Convention on the‘Control of Trans boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal’ did comeinto effect in 1992 but it was not a total ban. It allowed trans boundary movements if it couldbe shown that the wastes were needed for recycling in the state of destination and there wasprior informed consent (Ibid). Due to irresponsible leadership from some of Africans’countries, rich countries take advantage by bringing them in order to allow them to dumptheir harmful byproducts in poor counties’ soil. Often, these wastes endanger health of poorpeople and drain a little resource they have in treatment and spending more time in caring forpatients instead of producing. In other hand, the governments of poor countries spend a hugeproportion of their funds to curb health related problems that have been caused byenvironmental pollution instead of concentrating into fight against poverty in their countries.From the above links, it’s obvious that by dumping their Hazardous Wastes into soil of poorcountries, rich countries accelerate the problem of poverty. More over truth about developedcountries in their participation in environmental degradation and accelerating poverty in leastand developing countries has been summarized in the figure 1 below.Figure 1 how developed countries accelerate poverty in least and developing countries. Developed countries Industrial activities ExternalitiesDeveloping countries Least developed Low production Poverty
  15. 15. 4.0 CONCLUSSIONFrom the discussion above it has been observed that poverty, population and environmentthey interlink each other. Some argue poverty as a cause of environment degradation throughenvironment media which include water, air, and land. It is argued that rapid population leadsto a higher proportion of young people dependent on the older working population. The latterhave to divert resources to services such as care, food, housing and education. In poorcountries the dependency ratio is at least one dependent per worker (Khatun.A, 2000). And ifthe older population fails to divert resources the young suffer from sickness and pooreducation. Thus growth worsens.Some argued that high population lead to lower marginal productivity of labour and hencecause low gross domestic product which accelerate poverty, this can be so because whenthere is over population while land is fixed and development of technology keep constant,marginal product of labour becomes zero and hence it lower gross domestic product thereforelead poverty. Population growth was thought to lower the ratio of capital to labour and hencelower the marginal product of labour, thus lowering the wages. To keep pace capital must bewidened and this may have harmful effect elsewhere, for example, reducing funds availablefor infrastructure. Slow population growth permits a rising capital labour ratio, capitaldeepening and hence rising productivity and wages. This link between population growth andcapital went out of fashion when capital was thought to be less important in growth. Giventhe reappearance of the role of capital and the capital theoretic base of the environmentaleconomics literature where environment is considered as a capital, this view may be due forreappraisal.And in other side it is argued that poverty causes environment degradation throughdeforestation, water pollution, overgrazing and burning. But others argued environmentdegradation is the one which causes poverty through people who cultivate on degraded land(infertile land) in which the probability of harvesting is very low and sometimes they getnothing, this makes them to lack money to purchase the basics needs and other social serviceslike education, medical services, water, and electricity. Therefore, poverty, population andenvironmental degradation interlink as illustrated by figure 1 below;Fig. 2 Relationships between land degradation, population and poverty Increase in Land shortage population Limited land Land Poverty resource degradation Non-sustainable land management practices
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