On 25th September 2015, 193 countries of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable Development that contains 17 sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Old dry cleaner’s storefront
Photo by Michael Prewett / Unsplash

The first and the leading Sustainable Development Goal is to “end poverty in all forms everywhere”. Each country of the world is looking forward to eradicating economic conditions so that even the poor and vulnerable people additionally enjoy equal rights to economic resources, healthy living conditions, as well as access to basic infrastructure and technology. Moreover, there shouldn't be any doubt that poor nations and poor people are more severely at risk of the consequences of environmental harm than the rich.

Over the past few decades, average living standards have up and the gap between the terribly rich and the very poor has broadened. However, the question here arises “Why is poverty still prevailing in the world?”

Developing nation for the past 60 years.
Photo by Karthikeyan K / Unsplash

There can be a lot of reasons, however, we think the 2 biggest factors contributing to the economic condition are: Lack of education and improper implementation of poverty eradication policies at the grass-root level. More often than not, many international reports claim that poverty contributes to environmental degradation because of the absence of sufficient resources and improper knowledge, poverty-stricken people tend to overuse each resource offered to them once their survival is at stake.

But generally, we tend to forget that poor people are the foremost undefended ones once it involves the consequences of environmental pollution, global climate change, and global warming.

In our viewpoint, everybody needs to recognize that poverty and environmental problems are interrelated. Poverty among people puts stress on the environment whereas environmental issues cause severe suffering to the poor. People, whether they be wealthy or poor, consume water, food, and natural resources to stay alive. All economic activities are directly, indirectly or remotely based on natural resources and any pressure on natural resources will cause environmental stress.

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Environmental harm can prevent people, particularly the poor, from having good and healthful living standards because poor people rely more directly on the environment than the wealthy for their survival, they're mostly on the receiving end of environmental issues.

Poverty often causes people to put relatively more pressure on the environment which leads to larger families (due to high death rates and insecurity), improper human waste disposal resulting in unhealthy living conditions, more pressure on fragile land to meet their wants, overexploitation of natural resources and more deforestation. Insufficient information concerning agricultural practices may result in a decline in crop yield and productivity etc.

This image was taken beside a huge blue gate leading into a small school in Accra, Ghana.  GodLovesKids.com sponsors children at orphanages just like this one.  I took this on a missions trip in 2010.
Photo by bill wegener / Unsplash

On the other hand, environmental issues add more to the miseries of poor people. Environmental issues cause more suffering among them as environmental harm increases the impact of floods and other environmental catastrophes. Soil erosion, land degradation and deforestation result in a decline in food production together with a shortage of wood for fuel contribute to inflation. In short, the worst consequences of environmental deterioration, whether or not they be economic, social, or related to mental or physical wellbeing, are experienced by poor people.

More rigorous efforts ought to be undertaken by the governments of all countries to eradicate poverty and successively, to save deprived people from the dreadful implications of environmental harm. There ought to be more collaborative partnerships among all sections of the society so that even the people living in poverty are connected to the world through their participation in social, political, and economic spheres along with their active participation in environmental regeneration.