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Environmental Degradation In Rural Bangladesh Environmental Sciences Essay


Today, as people in developed countries generally like a high standard of living, at the other end of the spectrum, the poor in growing countries are battling to pay the bills. 22% of the population in growing countries live on significantly less than $1. 25 daily and 75% of the people stay in rural areas (THE PLANET Loan provider, 2012). This group of rural poor are the greatest subjects of environment degradation. In this article, by looking at the case study of Bangladesh, we will get a deeper understanding into why the poor puts great pressure on the environment. Subsequently, we will uncover why environmental degradation impacts the indegent most severely leading to the reinforcement of environmental degradation. Thereafter, we will explore some possible methods to help growing counties like Bangladesh to break out from the vicious circuit of poverty and environmental degradation.

Environmental implications of poverty

Although most researchers have attributed poverty as an integral factor for leading to environmental degradation, we have to note that other factors such as revenue motives, and institutional failures are also accountable for environmental degradation. Nevertheless unlike other factors, poverty and environmental degradation shares a unique romantic relationship that triggers them to reinforce one another in a vicious circuit. We'd first look at how poverty causes environmental degradation.

In Bangladesh more than 40% of the population lives below the international poverty series and are susceptible to food insecurity and natural catastrophe (Aid Performance, 2009). 85% belong to the rural poor (Drakenberg, 2006). Bangladesh encounters some environmental problems including deforestation, land degradation, polluting of the environment, water lack and contamination, as well as lack of biodiversity. The indegent play a essential role in influencing these areas of environmental degradation.

Firstly, poverty leads to deforestation. The existing natural forests in Bangladesh are reducing at a rate varying from 2. 1% /season to 3. 3% /yr (Rahman, 2012). That is due to exploitation of forest resources for commercial logging, energy timber collection as well as agricultural land enlargement. Commercial logging provides a practical income for the indegent as the timber logs could be sold for cash. This economic profit could encourage more trees and shrubs to be felled resulting in unsustainable deforestation. Bangladesh has a higher fertility rate, due to desire to have more children to help in the fields and for cultural support in old age. The growing society requires more trees would need to be felled to provide gas for their cooking food needs. There may also be a need to increase food creation for the bigger population causing large tracts of forest to be cleared and converted into agricultural land for growing of plants. Deforestation, with lack of forest cover is responsible for ground erosion and lack of fertile top dirt decreases agricultural efficiency.

Secondly, poverty plays a part in land degradation. Land degradation arises due to earth exhaustion, salinization and desertification. Likewise, due to populace growth with poverty, multiple cropping with a shorter fallow period was done to increase food source. To improve land output, farmers use fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides heavily. These methods of extensive land use may succeed in increasing agricultural output for a while. However in the long run the dirt would slowly but surely lose its nutrition, land is degraded and desertification creeps in. Though irrigation is effective in ensuring stable water supply for crops throughout the year, mismanaged irrigation anticipated to lack of understanding of rural farmers could lead to reverse osmosis and accumulation of salt (Duraiappah, 1996). This causes a backlash and earth production drops.

Thirdly, poverty affects water resource. Irrigation reduces surface water which might lead to a water shortage when there is insufficient normal water for the top rural population. In the north-western part of Bangladesh, aquifer level of ground water was lowered when removal of ground normal water for irrigation is not sufficiently recharged and in conjunction with high rate of evaporation (Mahbuba Nasreen, 2006). Furthermore, Bangladesh faces problem of normal water contamination scheduled to fertilizers and pesticide run-off from the farmlands. In 2002, more than the 65% of the country's society were vulnerable to arsenic poisoning. 61 of the 64 districts experienced arsenic levels which were found to be above the nationwide accepted standard of 0. 05 mg/litre (Mahbuba Nasreen, 2006).

Lastly, poverty plays a part in air pollution. The indegent be based upon biomass and firewood for gasoline. The burning of the fuels degrades the air quality and can cause breathing problems. Although there are alternative fuels that are less bad for the environment, the indegent have yet to gain usage of them and might not have the ability to afford.

Moreover, credited to too little education, the rural while may well not have the data on how to protect their living environment. They remove more resources from the forest to meet up with the needs of the growing population, not taking into consideration the externality cost of reference loss since usage of the forest is free and unrestricted. To them, the immediate needs are of goal plus they don't tend to plan far for the future because of the uncertainties of life. Because of this, the poor haven't any qualms about the unsustainable land use methods and lack perspective for long-term ideal tool management. This attitude is harmful to the permanent sustainability of environmental resources and unplanned use of resources will probably cause environment degradation. The way of thinking of the poor has led to loss of biodiversity where flora and fauna as well as wetlands are overexploitation. In Bangladesh, inland and seaside shoot fisheries have dropped and about 30% of inland seafood species have become endangered (Drakenberg, 2006).

Environmental degradation reinforce poverty

Firstly, the rural poor are most susceptible to environmental degradation because they count closely on the delicate natural resources for his or her everyday living. 55% of rural women are farmers in the field, and they rely on the environment for fuel timber, water and food. Desertification is harmful to the poor as it impacts their way to obtain basic needs from forest resources. Over removal of normal water for irrigation causes lowering of floor water level and water becomes salinized, leading to a severe lack of normal water. In Bangladesh, rural women are in charge of collecting fuel solid wood, food and water for family usage from forest. Deforestation and drinking water shortage causes shrink in food and water availability and women have to work harder and travel further to search for resources. This enduring task is challenging on their health and scarcity of food may lead to malnutrition (Jahan, 2008). The indegent being reliant on natural resources for basic needs and agricultural land for food, emerges almost no food security due to the fragile mother nature of the environment. When their agricultural land becomes less fertile anticipated unattainable land use techniques, the family's income is considerably reduced; the indegent remain in their vicious routine of poverty and their basic needs and diet could be jeopardized.

Likewise near to the coastal areas, the indegent rely on wetlands for take fishery as their main source of food and income. With the damage of wetlands for change to shrimp cultivation area, it significantly reduces the vulnerable food way to obtain the poor and increased salinity over coastal land endangers their health.

Secondly, environmental degradation impacts the indegent most severely because they are the group that is constantly on the live in places facing land degradation as these polluted areas are cheaper to reside in. Being unable to afford to move to an improved land, the indegent are exposed to Arsenic air pollution from contaminated drinking water resources (Mahbuba Nasreen, 2006). THE ENTIRE WORLD Health Business (WHO) estimated that, 37 million people in developing countries suffer persistent poisoning anticipated to exposure to dangerous pesticides from employed in fields that use chemical type fertilizers and pesticides extensively (Jahan, 2008). The poor also have to make do with cheaper source of fuel for baking and heating. Using up fuel solid wood and dung triggers respiratory infections impacting on women and children, causing child mortality.

Vicious cycle of poverty and environment degradation

Source: Poverty and environment, 2000, Figure 9. 2 Vicious Circuit of Poverty and Environment Degradation in Expanding Countries, pp. 201.

As seen in the context of Bangladesh, farmers hard-pressed by inhabitants progress and increasing poverty overexploit natural resources and lengthen cropping onto fragile marginal lands which results in a loss of sustainability and environmental degradation. Drop in agricultural output on degraded lands then triggers poverty which in turn forced many farmers to continue degrading their land further to extract subsistence output (Duraiappah, 1996). Overtime, this sensation creates the 'vicious circle' between poverty and environmental degradation as seen in the diagram above.

Urbanisation further aggregate environmental degradation and worsen life of the rural poor. Administration may allocate more money to aid the growing industry of executive, electronics and it which would create more money for the current economic climate (US ESCAP, 2010). Conversely, the agriculture sector would get less money and manpower is reduced with young men moving to work in cities. This results in the elderly and women to control the marginal agricultural lands. Urbanisation triggers polluting of the environment from vehicular and commercial emissions, lack of biodiversity from individuals disturbance to natural habitats and deforestation which plays a part in global warming. The indegent at the acquiring end become victims to these problems.

In many developing countries, governments generally do not solve the sustainability issues when there is little general population pressure plus they find no political rewards in improving environmental quality. Nevertheless for producing countries to attain environmental sustainability, support from the federal government is obviously essential. As highlighted, the poor are the biggest victims of environmental degradation; conversely poverty can exacerbate ecological problems. To make sure permanent environmental sustainability, possible measures needs to focus on poverty alleviation and environmental management.

Possible measures to attain sustainable development

Source: National lasting development strategy, 2008, Body 3. 1 schematic representation of the eye-sight, strategic priority areas and cross-cutting areas, pp. 6.

In 2008, Bangladesh's administration arrived with a countrywide lasting development strategy (NSDS) to guide the united states towards alleviating poverty and environmental problems. As shown in the stand above, the strategy aspires to achieve ecological development by making sure sustainable economic growth, agricultural and rural development, cultural security and environment management (DOE, 2008).

Having sustainable economic growth methods to accelerate expansion while making sure environmental sustainability. Bangladesh strives to ensure economic progress with higher private investment, increased inflow of FDIs and effective trade regulations (DOE, 2008). It includes the agricultural areas in the economical progress by giving them with electricity, roads, and telecommunications to boost connectivity with urban areas. One possible course for sustainable economic growth is to market investment in renewable energy resources such as solar energy, wind energy and hydroelectricity. Bangladesh has numerous sunlight all year round, blowing wind and high energy waves; this may become profitable and reduce polluting of the environment from fuel burning up (M. S. Islam, 2011).

Agricultural and rural development options ensure food security for the growing people without creating environment degradation. Crop efficiency can be increase with agriculture diversification and improved technologies. To reduce reliance on irrigation and lower risk of salinization, storage space of surface water is increased and rainwater harnessed. To avoid deletion of sea fisheries resource, angling is controlled avoid over exploitation. To improve forest biodiversity, forest guarded area could be long and rural folks could be informed with knowledge on lasting reference use (DOE, 2008).

Social security is achieved with sanitation, shelter and empowerment through education. It requires provision of casing facilities, clean drinking water, electricity, medical services and ensuring food security for all (DOE, 2008). Also, primary and extra education is made available and compulsory for any, permitting empowerment of the indegent.

Environment management defends the environment and its resources. To control water shortage and contamination, normal water conservation is urged and pollution resources are determined and managed. Loss of biodiversity is addressed by monitoring unsustainable usage of natural resources. Also, medical and traditional knowledge are to be integrated to effectively conserve the ecosystem. Most of all, environmental sustainability factors have to be integrated in plans concerning forest, normal water, land, agriculture, industry and energy (DOE, 2008).


As mentioned, poverty and environmental degradation has close interlinks and reinforce each other. Poverty is a key contributing factor to various environmental problems of deforestation, land degradation, air and drinking water pollution, and lack of biodiversity. Therefore, environmental degradation gets the greatest effect on the poor, leading to them to be ever more vulnerable and needing to further degrade the environment to meet their basic needs and ensure success. To achieve ecological development in expanding countries like Bangladesh, possible options would have to aim for both poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. Also these measures works best if backed by strong authorities support and properly planed and organized. Bangladesh's elaborated NSDS shows a strong commitment to resolve environmental issues and ensure a much better quality lifestyle for current and future generation. Nevertheless, it is still too early to determine the effectiveness of the strategies; time will inform if Bangladesh is able to break free from the vicious circuit of poverty and environmental degradation.

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