Population, poverty and environmental degradation: the Ghanaian experience

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The rapid growth of the urban centres in the country, in terms of numbers and space, is creating a lot of environmental problems for the country. Firstly, natural resources in the form of forests, grass1ans, and even wetlands are now giving way to human settlements and infrastructural development. A second major environmental problem associated with urbanization in Ghana is the creation of waste products. The management of which has been the bane of the country. As a developing country, Ghana has been constrained financially in managing the domestic waste in the cities efficiently. The residents are also helpless in handling the waste since most of them do not have the financial resources to either use environmentally-benign facilities or to manage waste in efficient manner. The result of all these is mirrored in the fact that our surroundings are engulfed in the heaps of rubbish and even faeces. However, there have not been many quantitative analyses of this issue iii this country. In this dissertation, data on 150 heads of households from 4 communities in Accra and Kumasi have been used to investigate the relationship between population density and the levels of income of residents on one hand and the environmental pollution in such areas on the other. The findings of the study have confirmed the notion that population pressure and poverty are major agents of environmental pollution in the urban centres in Ghana. The target groups of the study are the residents of the urban centres of the country and the policymakers of such areas. It is intended that the residents would take a cue from the revelations of the study in terms of the health problems associated with environmental pollution. it is also hoped that the policymakers, especially the chief executives of the district assemblies, who are agents of developments would consider providing environmentally- friendly, public waste disposal facilities, especially at places being regarded as deprived areas
A Thesis Submitted to the School Of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of The requirement for award of the Master Of Arts (MA) Degree In Economics, 2001