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). 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 birthday, 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...
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