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The Links between Poverty and the Environment in Urban Areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America

David Satterthwaite
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 590, Rethinking Sustainable Development (Nov., 2003), pp. 73-92
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3658546
Page Count: 20
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The Links between Poverty and the Environment in Urban Areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America
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Abstract

This article suggests that there is little evidence of urban poverty being a significant contributor to environmental degradation but strong evidence that urban environmental hazards are major contributors to urban poverty. The article considers the link between poverty and different categories of environmental hazards (biological pathogens, chemical pollutants, and physical hazards). It then considers the links between poverty and high use of nonrenewable resources, degradation of renewable resources such as soil and fresh water, and high levels of biodegradable and nonbiodegradable waste generation. This shows how environmental degradation is more associated with the consumption patterns of middle-and upper-income groups and the failure of governments to implement effective environmental policies than with urban poverty. The article also highlights how good governance is at the core of poverty reduction and how meeting the environmental health needs of poorer groups need not imply greater environmental degradation.

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