Poverty is a condition of having insufficient resources or income. It is a lack of basic human needs such as adequate and nutritious food, clothing, housing, clean water and health services. Extreme poverty can cause terrible suffering and death. The world's poorest people - many of whom live in developing areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe - struggle for daily food, shelter and other necessities. They often suffer from severe malnutrition, epidemic disease outbreaks, famine and war. In wealthier countries - such as United States, Canada, Japan and those in Western Europe - the effects of poverty may include poor nutrition, mental illness, drug dependence and crime. Extreme poverty, which threatens people's health or lives, is known asdestitution or absolute poverty. A condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country when compared to worldwide averages is known as the relative poverty.
The cycle of poverty, illness and limited opportunities becomes a self-sustaining process that passes from one generation to another.
Some favour the argument that poverty leads to environmental degradation while others argue that environmental degradation will lead to poverty.
The increase in population and poverty has made an impact on natu-ral resources and the environment in many regions. In many parts of the world, environmental degradation - the deterioration of the natural environ-ment, including the atmosphere, bodies of water, soil and forests - is an important cause of poverty. Environmental problems have led to shortages of food, clean water, materials for shelter, and other essential resources. As forests, land, air and water are degraded; people who depend upon these natural resources are adversely affected. As we know, global environmental degradation may result from a variety of factors, including over population and the resulting over use of land and other resources. Drastic environmental degradations may result in poverty.
Various measures to eradicate poverty in human society include the following:
a) Achieving self sufficiency by intensifying agriculture, augmenting green revolution, increasing crop productivity through modern genetic and bio technological approaches.
b) Increasing land and water resources. Expanding the area of able cultivable lands, transforming dry lands into productive lands through irrigation water sheds development.
c) Prevention of land and water pollution by minimizing the usage of chemical pesticides and adopting biological control strategies for pest eradication.
d) Establishment of industries and technologies and creating more avenues for employment and man power utilization.
e) Anti- poverty programmes and social security scheme by the Governments.
f) Establishing more primary health centres, hospitals and orphanages for destitutes and diseased.
g)Enforcement of strict family planning methods.