Poverty-Environmental Degradation Trap

The association between rural families and changes in natural resources is broadly acknowledged as a poverty-environment trap. Poverty- environmental detrition has become a major problem over the last few years in developing nations. Impacts of Poverty have multiple directions and the complex link between   poverty and environment can scarcely be overstated. The most observable environmental harms are typically associated with regenerative resources, which are at continuous risk of depletion from unnecessary use principally in the developing nations. Exhaustion of several environmental resources can mark some groups of people poor even when an economy is developing. So there is a close affiliation between natural resource degradation and the importance of poverty.

The poor’s contact to natural resource degradation is primarily for two causes. First, the atmosphere of the localities employed by the poor peoples is usually environmentally at risk or totally destroyed. The regions where the poor people can get contact with the environment are mostly insubstantial and, therefore, are uncertain for healthiness and livelihood. Second, the absence of strong means of earnings and other basic resources makes it difficult for the poor to stay away from the ruined surroundings and attempt to adopt a living with substitute sources of occupations which are less degrading. In that way, they are more sufferers relatively to the polluter of the environment. Accordingly, there is a two-way correlation between poverty and environment in the emerging nations. Poverty roots environmental degradation, and in turn, degradation of natural resources accelerate poverty. All over again, poverty is herself a creation of unequal resource dissemination among classes as well as between groups.  Natural resource degradation dampens the capacity of the poor to produce income over two networks. First, it compels the poor to distract an increasing bit of their labour to monotonous domestic actions, for instance, fuel wood assemblage, and second, it drops  the production of those reserves from which the poor earns their income.

Rural families make a large proportion of the world’s poor. They depend forcefully on assets and facilities generously delivered to them by environmental capitals in the absence of other means of income. Since the environment as in the most developed nations is not a blessing but an essential input for the rural households, natural resource detrition, in turn, entails a declining input availability for the poor families that intensify the cruelty of poverty for them.

Poor families who are more vulnerable to deteriorating natural resources under the sustenance stage of depletion treat existing natural resources as an advantage to be drained down in times of need. The possibilities of wisely organizing the natural resources are not reachable to the poor people. Their possessions and agricultural stocks are small in proportion and there for rapidly exhausted.

The casual link that has been stuck between environment and poor rural family units is normally supposed as a provider of a single commodity. In reality, the link between rural families and the environment is extremely and precisely characterised as one of several resource employments. Unlike being the source of single good, natural resources provides a countless variety of goods to rural families and these goods can be strongly segregated in monetary terms.

Inequality is customarily termed as uneven access to chances of progress, resources, earning and expense as it plays a significant role in decreasing poverty level and pushing the economy to long-term growth. Inequality in income among groups has become a matter of debate in the literature with the Kuznets assumption being the focal point. This theory advocates that as development begins, inequality will rise at the very early periods and then start decreasing.

Poverty and income disparities are two important unsettling issues on the way to improvement in developing nations. Growing inequality arises the development and poverty lessening objectives.  Income inequality and input allocations are an important indicator along with a strong foundation of poverty.  If the rate of inequality is high then there will be less impact on economic growth in declining poverty level for any stage of economic development. Poverty and inequality are generally measured to analyse the effect of monetary, public strategies and programmes on the lifestyle of the societies. Poverty-natural resource degradation nexus has gained a significant amount of attention from academicians, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), Development Practitioners and Civil Society. At the national level, the affiliation between poverty and natural resource degradation is demonstrated through an “overturned U-shaped” arc documented as Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC).

Environmental degradation detracts emerging nations from the pathway of economic growth by striking high costs on these republics through health-related expenditures and lowering output of capitals. The pitiable poor forms 20 % of the world’s population and experience the costs of environmental harms more deeply. Owing to high population densities on peripheral land areas farm yield and per head food productivity is declining.

Pakistan is a developing nation and its total population is probable 180 million and is increasing at the rate of 2 percent every year. Virtually 61 % of the country’s inhabitants live in rural zones. Although 65 % of the countryside population is associated with agriculture sector, it creates only 45% of their income.  Historically the ratio of the poverty in Pakistan has been found to be higher in rural areas than in urban areas. The level of poverty in the countryside areas has been increasing since the 1990s, and in 1999. The percentage of rural poverty (36.3 %) is considerably greater than urban poverty (22.6 %). Conferring to up-to-date estimates the ratio of people below the poverty line was 29.2 % in 2004-05 which have been increased to 33.8% in 2007-08 and 36.1 % in 2008-09. Approximately 62 million people were under the poverty line during 2008-09.

Rendering to the 2012 Economic Survey of Pakistan, poverty intensities in urban and rural areas mounted at 15% and 28% correspondingly, proposing that a rural household is twice at risk expected to be a poor as compare to urban families.

Poverty natural resource relationship like in other developing nations is also significant in Pakistan. Pakistan has an agriculture-based economy the growth in agriculture sector significantly depends on the conditions of environment exclusively on land particulars and water resources. About 62% of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas. The current environmental condition of Pakistan is not so good it involves land erosion, deforestation, air pollution and water quality. The main cause of this environmental degradation is poverty because poor have to depend on natural resources for their survival as they do not have access to other alternative resources.

Environmental degradation is primarily related to poverty in Pakistan. Poverty is a big hurdle in coping with the environment concerning problems. The environment is frequently related to the collection of naturally existing resources that provides raw material and performs “sink” functions (such as absorbing pollution). The term environmental resource also considers those assets that people used in the past but now do not depend on them (either because they are depleted or because they have been substituted by some other resource or technology). Similarly, it also includes resources that people do not yet use, but could use with a change in knowledge or technology.

Poverty-environment nexus cannot be ignored in Pakistan as it is the 6th most populous country in the world and expected to be 4th one in 2050. This increase in population is putting pressure on the environment and cause environmental degradation there for becoming a source of poverty and income inequality.  Consequently, there has been a great need for such studies that based on Poverty-environment nexus and brings the prospective of this nexus to mitigate this problem or give policy guidelines.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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