The Environment of Poverty
Some of the world's most lethal killers stem from environmental problems, and poverty underpins many of them. So why does the world consciously choose to spend its aid money so ineffectively by devoting most of its environmental assistance to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in developing countries?
COPENHAGEN – Despite gains in life expectancy, expanded access to education, and lower rates of poverty and hunger, the world has a long way to go to improve the quality of people’s lives. Almost a billion people still go to bed hungry, 1.2 billion live in extreme poverty, 2.6 billion lack access to clean drinking water and sanitation, and almost three billion burn harmful materials inside their homes to keep warm.
Each year, ten million people die from infectious diseases like malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis, along with pneumonia and diarrhea. Lack of water and sanitation is estimated to cause at least 300,000 deaths each year. Malnourishment claims at least 1.4 million children’s lives.
Poverty is one of the main killers. It is why children do not receive proper nutrition and live in neighborhoods with unclean water and inadequate sanitation. And it is why an entirely preventable disease like malaria kills 600,000 people each year; many are too poor to buy drugs and bed nets, while governments are often too poor to eradicate the mosquitos that carry the disease or contain and treat outbreaks when they occurs.