India: The Unfortunate Correlation Between Poverty and Environmental Issues India makes up 2. 4 percent of the world’s land, while supporting an increasing 18 percent of the world population (D. Nagdeve, 2006). India is considered to be one of the major developing countries, continuously growing its reputation in the global economy. However, since the Independence of India, the issue of poverty has remained a vital concern. As of last year, more than 37% of India’s population, of a totaled 1. 35 billion people, are still living below the poverty line (Economy Watch, 2010).
Although there are individuals and corporations in upper-class India that are growing prosperous, there is an unfairness to those living in severe poverty suffering the environmental damage that country leaders are dismissing. As those living in poverty put pressure against the environment and vice versa; there is an evident strong correlation between poverty and environmental issues. The astounding increase in population is one of the main reasons for poverty and environmental struggles in India, along with the neglect for efficient pollution controls, and unequal distribution of farmland (B. Ruck, 2006).
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The high death rates in India due to unfortunate diseases, lack of health care and security in old age, leads to Indians having more children (B. Ruck, 2006). More than half of the world’s malnourished and under-weight children are located in South Asia. In these South Asian countries there is a double burden of disease and poverty, creating an endless vicious circle of high disease levels, low productivity and high poverty and death rates. An example, of a terrible disease very present in India is malaria as it is one of the most prevalent public health problems that the country is facing perennially (V. Sharma, 2003).
Poverty and malaria responsively are two interwoven elements as this disease is predominantly the disease of the poor. The real poor cannot afford private treatment and therefore must resort to self-medication, usually by the usage of traditional medications, at their own peril (V. Sharma, 2003). For a country boasting about its growth rate, the fact that 53% of children in India under the age of five years live without basic healthcare facilities is shameful. This adds up to 67 million Indian children living in a risk of survival for their first few years. Poor children are three times more likely to die before their fifth irthday, while over 1 million children in India die in their first month of life annually (K. Sinha, 2008). These saddening statistics just verify that India’s health care system is doing little to nothing to care for India’s poor population. India’s high death rates, specifically for those living in poverty without health care access, leads to families trying to conceive as many children possible in hopes of more survival. For these health reasons and cultural reasons there are many large families across India. The growth in population is resulting in an increased pressure on natural resources, from water to forests (WWF, 2003).
Environmentalists worldwide, especially from richer nations, have raised concerns about the increasing populations placing excessive strains on the world’s scarce resources (A. Shah, 2005). A recent article from The Economist explains that India’s rapid industrialization, is a troublesome thought for residents, specifically those living in poverty. By the year 2020, according to the World Bank, India’s water, air, soil and forest resources will be under more human pressure than those of any other country (The Economist, 2008).
Rapid population growth and poverty in a country, in this case India, is adversely affecting the environment in a devastating manner. Recently, the global population reached 7 billion human beings, all with rising levels of consumption per capita, quickly depleting natural resources and degrading the environment (A. Shah, 2005). In India, the increase of population combines with the distressed poverty to create an immense pressure on all of the country’s natural resources (D. Nagdeve, 2006).
India’s economy is in high gear, leaving an immense and unfortunate trail of pollution, severely impacting not only India, but also the rest of the world (WWF, 2003). There are various types of pollution that affect India’s environment including sound pollution, waste and water pollution, and air pollution. Unwanted sounds from the natural environment; wind, volcanoes, oceans, and animal sounds, are more tolerable than man-made noises from machines, automobiles, trains, planes, explosives and firecrackers.
Mumbai is rated the third noisiest city in the world, with New Delhi following closely behind. It is now increasingly understood that pollution from noise is an important component of air pollution. Noise not only causes irritation and annoyance but also constricts the arteries, and increases the flow of adrenaline forcing the heart to work faster. Continuous noise causes an increase in the cholesterol level resulting in permanent constriction of blood vessels, making humans more prone to heart attacks and strokes (P. Mitra, 2007).
Perceptibly, the effects of water pollution are not only devastating to people but also to animals, fish and birds as the water is unsuitable for drinking, recreation, and the agricultural industry. Waste and water pollution diminishes the aesthetic quality of lakes and rivers while contaminating aquatic life, reducing reproductive ability (P. Mitra, 2007). Moving up the food chain, the hazard continues to negatively affect human health, supporting the notion that it is greatly challenging to escape the effects of water pollution. It is evident that there is an issue of air and water pollution in many Indian states, including Delhi.
With the disturbing gray skies, Delhi’s air has been considered deadly to breathe. A third of Delhi residents are affected with chronic breathing ailments while one out of six children suffer lead induced mental retardation (South Asian Voice, 2000). The poor are first to suffer the effects of air and water pollution. The rich can minimize their exposure to the air-borne toxics by driving air-conditioned cars while those with lower incomes must travel by feet, bicycles or public transit, unfortunately finding themselves in a situation where they cannot escape the detrimental effects.
In previous instances the Supreme Court ruled that certain polluting industries should be relocated out of Delhi into less well-known places like Ghaziabad, Meerut or Rohtak (South Asian Voice, 2000). This proposes that the healths of those who reside in more poverty are less important than those in the nation’s capital. The 2011 survey taken by the Pew Research Centre, presented results that 79% of Indians distinctly considered pollution a “very big problem” (The Economist, 2008).
Of the Indian rural population, more than 22% live in settings with existing physical and financial predicaments in addition to the 15% living in poverty within urban India (Economy Watch, 2010). Throughout the world, including India, the poorest people are increasingly clustered in remote and ecologically fragile areas (B. Ruck, 2006). Agriculture contributes to 21% of India’s Gross Domestic Product; its importance within the country’s economic, social, and political standards are highly significant (World Bank Group, 2011).
The rural population in India depends on agriculture where the weather phenomenon plays a major role on the rural economy. In the past years there have been severe droughts, affecting the economy as crops were destroyed being an identifiable catastrophe for may cultivators. In many states of India including Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa there are annual floods, which also hamper the growth of crops and farmlands (D. Talukdar, 2010). In rural districts, the best land tends to be taken over by the wealthiest of farmers, who can afford modern technology to maintain and grow crops on the larger areas of land.
This inopportunely leaves poor people pressured to occupy and exploit more fragile lands including hillsides, forests and arid areas (D. Pimentel et al, 2004). It is an identifiable struggle to grow decent crops on these marginal areas of land, resulting in increased poverty for those already suffering financially while creating an augmented pressure on over-exploited lands (B. Ruck, 2006). About half of India’s land is affected by soil erosion meaning that India’s soil is naturally removed by the action of water or wind roughly at the same rate as soil is formed.
The country proceeds with irrigation, bringing water to the land in a variety of artificial means, which is leading to desertification of once fertile land. A result of desertification is deforestation; taking a toll of 400 million people who depend on non-timber produce (V. Sharma, 2003). Further actions which should be implemented powerfully into India’s lifestyles is improving supplies of clean water; to reduce time spent gathering unclean water while also reducing the illnesses caused by these foul water supplies (World Poverty, 2011).
By improving the supply of accessible, affordable health care information and services, the country can reduce the vulnerability of diseases within poverty stricken areas while also improving the state of India’s natural environment. Furthermore, improving the training and equipment of farmers would be beneficial to those living in India, as this would help increase crop yields and conserve the environment (World Poverty, 2011). Poverty can be recognized as both the cause and effect of environment degradation.
As India’s population and economy continues to substantially grow, the country’s need to find effective solutions becomes significantly more urgent each day. The strong correlation between poverty and environmental issues is expanding as both continue to put pressure against each other. The aspirations of more than one billion people; suffering through poverty and environmental struggles, must be recognized and relieved. References “Agriculture – India: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development. ” World Bank Group. N. p. , n. d. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://web. orldbank. org. html>. Bass, Stephen. Reducing poverty and sustaining the environment the politics of local engagement. London, Sterling, VA: Earthscan, 2005. Print. Bhattacharya, Haimanti, and Robert Innes. “Is There a Nexus between Poverty and Environment in Rural India?. ” AgEcon Search: Item 21201. N. p. , n. d. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://purl. umn. edu/21201>. Economy Watch Content. “Poverty in India . ” Economy Watch. N. p. , 4 Apr. 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. <www. economywatch. com/indianeconomy>. Foundation for Sustainable Development. Environmental Issues in India | Foundation for Sustainable Development. ” Welcome to FSD | Foundation for Sustainable Development. N. p. , n. d. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://www. fsdinternational. org/ntlopps/country/india/environment>. Gadgil, Madhav, and Ramachandra Guha. “Development and Change. ” Ecological Conflicts and the Environmental Movement in India. Online: The Hague, 1994. 101 – 136. Print. Nagdeve, D. A.. “IIPS-Envis Center on Environment and Population. ” IIPS-Envis Center on Population and Environment. N. p. , n. d. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://www. ipsenvis. nic. in/Newsletters/vol3no3/DANagdave. htm>. Pimentel, David, Bonnie Berger, and David Filiberto. Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues. California: BioScience, 2004. Print. Ruck, Barbara . “Poverty and the Environment. ” World Vision. N. p. , n. d. Web. 29 Oct. 2011. <https://worldvision. org. nz/PDF/resources/Poverty_and_the_Environment. pdf>. Shah, Anup. “Poverty and the Environment a???” Global Issues. ” Global Issues : social, political, economic and environmental issues that affect us all a???” Global Issues. N. p. , n. . Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://www. globalissues. org/article/425/poverty-and-the-environment>. Sharma, V. “Malaria and poverty in India. ” Current Science 84. 4 (2003): 513 – 515. Print. Sinha, Kounteya. “53% Indian kids under 5 lack healthcare – Times Of India. ” The Times Of India. N. p. , 8 May 2008. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://articles. timesofindia. indiatimes. com/2008-05-08/india/27762755_1_india-ranks-healthcare-diarrhoea-and-pneumonia>. “Solutions to World Poverty. ” World Poverty. N. p. , n. d. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <http://world-poverty. rg/solutionstopoverty. aspx>. “Solutions to World Poverty. ” World Poverty. N. p. , n. d. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. <http://world-poverty. org/solutionstopoverty. aspx>. South Asian Voice . “Problems of Indian Development: Environmental Issues, Preserving the Environment, Ending Poverty. ” South Asian Voice . N. p. , n. d. Web. 28 Oct. 2011. <india_resource. tripod. com/environ. html>. Talukdar, Diganta. “Poverty and Health: Major challenges for India. ” Citizen Journalism News Platform – merinews. N. p. , 22 July 2010. Web. 6 Nov. 2011.