The study examines the effects of rural poverty on environmental

degradation in Apa local government area of Benue State. The general

research objective was to find out the effects of rural poverty on

environmental degradation in Apa local government area. Other specific

set objectives were to; ascertain the relationship between poverty and

environmental degradation in Apa local government, find out the

effects of poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local

government and to suggest measures that can be employed to ameliorate

the problem of poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local

government. Structural functionalism was adopted to explain the

effects of rural poverty on environmental degradation. Data was

collected from 360 respondents using structured questionnaire,

documentary method and in-depth interview methods. The gathered data

was analyzed both quantitatively and quantitatively. The study found

out that, poverty and environmental degradation has a relationship as

the use of firewood and other natural resources affects the

environment in Apa local government area. Also, overexploitation of

available resources is the effect of poverty on environmental

degradation in Apa local government. The study reveals that

enforcement of environmental laws will help curtail the problem of

poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local government. Base on

the results, the study concludes that, the relationship between

poverty and the environment has shown that in a farming and fishing

community like Apa the source of the environmental degradation is

traced to not just poverty but natural processes. The study recommends

that; there should be proper orientation of residents on the dangers

of misusing the environment hence a well inform population will carry

out activities that will help preserve and not destroy the environment

and employment opportunities should be created by the government and

private sectors for poor inhabitants in Apa local government to

curtail the problem of poverty as it relates to the environment. The

study recommends that, there should be enforcement of environmental

laws that will help checkmate and serve as a barrier to those who have

no regard as to how they use the environment in Apa local government.


Contents                                                                         Page

Title page                                                                      i

Certification                                                           ii

Dedication                                                                      iii

Acknowledgement                                                         iv

Table of Contents                                                               vi

List of Tables                                                          ix

Abstract                                                                        x


Background to the Study                                                 1

Statement of the Problem                                                3

1.3 Research Questions                                                  4

1.4 Objectives of the Study                                             5

 1.5 Significance of the Study                                          5

1.6 Research Assumptions                                                6

1.7 Scope of the Study                                                  6

1.8 Definition of Terns                                                 6


2.1 Introduction                                                                        8

2.2 The Concept of Poverty                                                      8

2.2.1 The Concept of Environmental Degradation                          10

2.3 Causes of Poverty and Environmental Degradation in Nigeria  12

2.4 The Effects of Poverty on Environmental Degradation in Nigeria      15

2.5 Measures of Ameliorating the Problem of Poverty on Environmental Degradation in Nigeria                                    17

2.6 Theoretical Framework                                                       19

2.6.1 Structural Functionalist Theory                                           20


3.1 Introduction                                                                        23

3.2 The study Area                                                                      23

3.3 Population of Study                                                         24

3.4 Sampling Technique                                                          24

3.5 Method of Data Collection                                                   25

3.5.1 Questionnaire Method                                                      25

3.5.2 Interview Method                                                          25

3.5.3 Documentary Method                                                        26

3.6 Techniques of Data Analysis                                         26

3.7 Problems Encountered in the Course of Study                         27


4.1 Introduction                                                                        28

4.2 Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Respondents                    28

4.3 Relationship between Poverty and Environmental Degradation in Apa Local Government               30

4.4 Effects of Poverty on Environmental Degradation in Apa local Government          32

4.5 Measures that can be employed to ameliorate the Problem of Poverty on Environmental Degradation in Apa Local Government  34

4.6 Research Assumptions                                                        36

4.7 Conclusion                                                                  37


5.1 Introduction                                                                        38

5.2 Summary                                                                     38

5.3 Conclusion                                                                  40

5.4 Recommendations                                                             41

References                                                                              43

Appendix A                                                                      46

Appendix B                                                                              47

Appendix C                                                                              50


Table 1: Socio-Demographic Variables of Respondents                     30

Table 2 Relationship between Poverty and Environmental

        Degradation in Apa Local Government                             32

Table 3: Effects of Poverty on  Environmental Degradation in

Apa local Government                                                    34

Table 4: Measures that can be employed to ameliorate the

        Problem of Poverty on Environmental     Degradation

        in Apa Local Government                                         36



Background to the Study

        Poverty is a social phenomenon that has eaten deep into the fabrics

of every society ranging from its political, social and economic

organizations. It is therefore a social problem that has affected the

productive sector of every economy such as agricultural and industrial

sector to mention but a few. According to Aluk (2011) poverty is

defined as lack of command over basic consumption needs such as

clothing, food and shelter. World Band (2005), define poverty as

inability to attain a minimum standard of living. Environmental

degradation on the other hand is defined as how the environment is

affected through certain forces such as flood, deforestation,

overgrazing, and the use of harmful chemicals as well as environmental

pollution in the environment.

        Poverty is most pervasive in rural than urban areas. This assessment

can be justified by the examination of the level of concentration of

economic institutions and activities. It is indisputable that economic

institutions are only concentrated in urban centres, creating more

opportunities for job, good living and what can be obtained in the

rural areas (Ahmed, 2010).

        When comparative analysis of the level of income as it affects the

quality of life and standard of living of both rural and urban

settlements is made, a variation of the difference in the social

relationship in art of production, allocation of scarce resources and

distribution, what comes to mind is the question of those who benefit

more as a wide gap exist among the rural and urban dwellers as it

affects the circulation and control of goods and services and of

prices (Maxwell, 2006).

        Many studies have established that there exists a strong social

relationship between poverty and environmental degradation. This is

because factors like level of income, quality and prices of goods and

services affects the living standard of people in rural areas thereby

affecting their activities towards the environment. Also, most of the

poor people particularly in developing countries rely on natural

resources for their livelihood, and these people are very vulnerable

to causing environmental problems.

Apa local government area is predominantly a rural based society with

75% of her population depending on agriculture as their main

occupation. Base on the agrarian nature of her economy, crops, and

tubers are highly produced with more than half percent of the

population of women and children constituting the chunk of the labour

force. For some time now efforts have been made by the government,

corporate bodies and irrigation organizations to curb the incidence of

environmental degradation in the area through deliberate policies and

programmes aimed at poverty alleviation among the rural people yet,

poverty remain the major constrain militating against the development

of the rural people.

        It is for this reason that this study is design to investigate the

effects of poverty on environmental degradation with reference to Apa

local government area of Benue State.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nwagbara, (2012) in his assessment of poverty, environmental

degradation and sustainable development assets that the poor have

traditionally taken the brunt of the blame for causing society’s many


Anijah-Obi (2001), observes that poverty, a deplorable state of human

welfare, is closely linked to environmental degradation. The poor are

both victims and agents of environmental damage. Poverty may be

created by negative and unjust social conditions such as structural

inequality. Those who are poor and hungry will often destroy their

immediate environments in order to survive. They are responsible for

cultivating tired soil and cutting down forests. They throw waste into

gutters and streams, because they lack the basic necessities of life.

They lack resources and materials necessary for living within a

minimum standard conducive to human dignity and well-being.

        In Apa local government, the poor depend extensively on firewood for

cooking which requires the falling of trees without replacement. There

are two major streams in the local government that serves as a source

of both industrial and domestic water supply to its inhabitants this

are the Ochi-Chi and Okpeje streams.    Activities of fishing with

chemicals, dumping of refuse in stream and water channels, open

deification, and mining of the soil for lime stone and granite

constitute some of the major environmental problems propel by human

activities. All this in no small measure have continued to cause the

outbreak of cholera disease and other health challenges of its

inhabitants which mostly affect the poor due to their inability to

find alternative to both source of water that is already contaminated

and environmental pollution caused by indiscriminate waste disposal.

Hence, the need for this study to examine the effects of poverty on

environmental degradation in Apa local government area of Benue State.

1.3 Research Questions

The following research questions are advanced to guide this study:

How does poverty cause environmental degradation?

What are the effects of poverty on environmental degradation in         Apa

local government?

What measures can be employed to ameliorate the problem of      poverty on

environmental degradation in Apa local government?

Objectives of the Study

        The general objective of this study is to examine the effects of

poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local government area of

Benue State. The specific objectives are to;

Ascertain how poverty cause environmental degradation

Find out the effects of poverty on environmental degradation in         Apa

local government

Suggest measures that can be employed to ameliorate the problem         of

poverty on environmental degradation in Apa local government

Significance of the Study

        This study will be significant in the following ways; firsts and

foremost, the findings of this study will serve as a policy document

to the government, policy makers and environmentalist in curbing the

effects of environmental degradation on rural poor dwellers.

        Secondly, it will be of importance to the academic environment as it

can be use as a reference point in giving out information on poverty

and environmental issues in the society.

        Thirdly, the study will add to the already existing body of

literatures in the area of poverty and environmental degradation.

        Last but not the least, the study will aid further researchers who

intend to carryout similar studies on the same topic to have a

background situation of what they intend to study.

Research Assumptions

The following research assumptions are to guide this study:

Ho. There is no significant relationship between poverty on

environmental degradation in Apa local government

Scope of the Study

        The scope of this study shall be delimitated to Ogantelle towns of

Apa local government where there are higher levels of farming and

degredation. The major areas of Apa such as, Auke, Iga-Okpaya, Oiji,

Igoro, Ikobi, Ojope, Ogantele, Oba, Edikwu 1 and Edikwu II ward were

covered with a time span ranging from 2010 to 2013.

1.8 Definition of Terns

Poverty: According to Sachs (2009), poverty can be defined in terms of

three distinguishable degrees. These are: Extreme poverty, moderate

poverty and relative poverty. Extreme poverty means the household

cannot meet basic needs for survival. Moderate poverty on the other

hand generally refers to conditions of life in which basic needs are

met, but just at the base level while, relative poverty is construed

as a household income level below a given proportion of average

national income. Put differently, poverty can be defined as the

inability of one to provide for his or her basic needs of life such as

food, clothing and sheathe.

Environmental Degradation: Environmental degradation implies a gradual

reduction in environmental quality to the extent that its ability to

meet the environmental needs of the present generation is reduced and

that of the future generation is in jeopardy. According to Fritsch et

al. (1990), environmental degradation is defined as a man-made

environmental change having negative impact on human society. It can

also be defined as processes induced by human behaviour and activities

(sometimes combined with natural hazards) that damage the natural

resource base or adversely alter natural processes or ecosystems.



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