Category: International observances

Extreme Poverty: A Threat to Human Security

It is believed that wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are typically violated.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG) is to end extreme poverty by 2030 which seeks to ensure social protection for the poor and eradicating it remains one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. The world wonders if the goals are in view, if the goals are soundly on track to sweep out poverty in line with AGENDA 2030; or if the goals are indeed extremely ambitious according to FORBES.

While poverty has been historically accepted in some parts of the world as inevitable, especially the developing nations, for the population now grows faster than the available resources, nonetheless making wealth scarce for many, which inevitably calls to action: social protection systems need an urgent implementation to help alleviate global sufferings.

During the 1970s, World Bank’s policy was meant to use funds to raise the productivity and living standards of the poor, yet in spite of these intensive reduction strategies, the poverty level in several countries of the world still remains pathetically low.  Recent researches have also demonstrated that several families are in constant dire need of basic amenities.

World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than 1.90 dollars per day, and moderate poverty as less than $3.10 a day. It has been estimated that in 2008, 1.4 billion people had consumption levels below $1.25 a day, while 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day. Another research estimates that 1.44 billion people live in extreme poverty as UNICEF’s figures show almost 385 million children survive on less than $1.90 a day.

Reports by World Bank data further reveals worldwide inequality and poverty, the data reveals half of the 767 million people living on less than 1.90 dollars a day in 2013 were under 18, these unarguably indicates that much effort is indeed needed to meet the SDG 1 to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

With this year marking the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly on 22nd December 1992, 17th October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, this years’ theme: Coming Together with Those Furthest Behind To Build An Inclusive World Of Universal Respect For Human Rights And Dignity, reaches out to all developing nations to ensure that NO ONE IS INDEED LEFT BEHIND.

Despite the tremendous progress in reducing extreme poverty, rates remain stubbornly high still in low-income countries especially those affected by conflict and political unrest.

Unless action is taken, Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to more than 86% of the world’s extreme poor, for the number of people living in extreme poverty is concentrated in some of these most unstable and populous parts of Africa, raising the risk of political violence and devastating disease outbreaks.

With global estimates of child poverty inaccurately unavailable, some reports, however, reveal that Sub-Saharan Africa houses the largest share of the world’s extremely poor children.

According to the UN, Nigeria is the third most populous country in the world. Currently, with some new report (JUNE 2018) reveals that the country with an estimated population of 198 million, has overtaken India (1.3 billion) as the country with the highest number of poor people in the world.

Nigeria has about 7 people going into poverty every minute. An obvious reason, Nigeria’s population is growing faster than its economy.

SOME CAUSES OF POVERTY

  • Little or no access to employment
  • Inadequate access to good food and clean water
  • Conflict, war and violence. Nigeria’s eight-year conflict with Boko Haram has resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 civilians. Approximately 2.1 million people have been displaced by the conflict while 7 million need humanitarian assistance.
  • World Bank estimates that climate change like drought, flood and earthquakes have the power to push more than 100 million people into poverty over the next ten years.
  • Zero education. UNESCO estimates that 171 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty if they left school with basic reading skills cum quality education.

Today, more than one billion people live without necessary amenities, the number of people, who lived below the federal poverty line has gone way beyond the sky. With flat incomes stuck at historically high levels, one might assume that chronic economic insecurity which has obviously resulted in poverty might just be the new normal.

SOME STEPS TO CUT POVERTY AND INCREASE ECONOMIC GROWTH

  • Develop and implement rapid and sustained economic growth policies and programs, in areas such as health, education, agriculture, gender equality etc.
  • Invest in and implement agricultural programs.
  • Create and improve access to jobs and raise incomes.
  • Provide access to technology and innovation
  • Encourage countries to engage in trade as a path out of poverty, for trade is key to growth and prosperity.

FACTS ABOUT GLOBAL POVERTY

  • Nearly half of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day due to poverty while another 1 billion live in poverty.
  • 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
  • More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhoea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kill an estimated 842,000 people every year globally and approximately 2,300 people every day.
  • In 2011, 165 million children under age 5 had stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition.
  • As of 2013, 21.8 million children under 1 year of age worldwide had not received the three recommended doses of vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
  • A quarter of the world lives without electricity, approximately 1.6 billion people.
  • According to Oxfam, it would take $60 billion annually to end extreme global poverty.

The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

PLASTIC DOES IT

PLASTIC DOES IT

Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15 focus on conserving and protecting under water and land ecosystems.  World Environment Day, 5th of June every year drives this action for the protection of our environment, raising awareness on everyday environmental issues from marine pollution to global warming to sustainable consumption and to wildlife.

For many years now, global consumption of plastics have unimaginably increased, more often than not, from land-based sources and as plastic is composed of major toxic pollutants, it has the potential to cause great harm to the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution; with “Beat Plastic Pollution” as the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, the world, gradually, is rising to the occasion of combating plastic pollution and exploring sustainable alternatives.

WHAT IS PLASTIC?

Plastic is material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or natural organic materials that are soft and so can be molded into solid objects, which includes resins, resinoids, polymers, cellulose derivatives, casein materials used in place of other materials, as glass, wood, and metals. Sometimes, plastics do not easily breakdown into simple components.

Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely afflict wildlife, wildlife habitat or humans.

Although they decompose over a period of time, an average of 100 to 500 years. They however, with their immense pollution kill our planet, choking our oceans and poisoning food and water. Plastic is listed as the number one threat to marine ecosystem.

All over the world, the statistics are ever growing. Tons of plastic debris has been established at a 78% waste, many of the harmful chemicals posing serious health risks to man, land and marines. While plastic constitutes about 85% of all debris floating on the ocean’s surface, ecologists and oceanographers speculates there may be underwater trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Its effects on soil fertility and ultimately food supply, an immense woe.

Since the 1950s, an estimated 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced, of which an estimated 9% has been recycled and another 12% of plastic waste has been incinerated. Scientists estimate that several plastics are thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. Plastic accounts for around 10% of the total waste generated. Annually, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide while more than one million bags are used every minute. It is sad to know that about 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in oceans.

One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world and that number will top half a trillion by 2021, some other statistic reveals.

Mind boggling?

In 2016, a global population of more than seven billion produced over 300 million tonnes of plastic, signifying that even as the human population increases so does the quantity of solid wastes generation. The ultimate sad facts are swirled by currents, the litters accumulating over time at the center of ocean, poisoning oceans and land, injuring marine life, and affecting human health.

With these mind-blowing facts comes WASTE RECYCLING. Waste recycling is not new, particularly in the developed world. But in the developing countries like Nigeria where it is common place to see flooded cities during rainy season due to blocked drainages, gutters and canals arising from the mountains of refuse that litter every part of the country, emphasis must be thus be stressed on plastic products recycling. Plastic recycling includes melting down plastic water, soft drink bottles and then casting them as plastic chairs and tables. Recycling of waste plastics is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different in form from their original state.

THE DAMAGE

Some of the major long-term effects of plastic pollution are; land pollution, air pollution and amongst the most seriously affected are the coastal communities which ultimately calls for increased expenditures for beach cleaning, public health, waste disposal, litter removal and waste management.

Beyond these woes, it’s time to rethink how we use plastics, for by 2050 there could be more plastic in the world’s waters than fishes. Researchers have identified 400 species of animals whose members either ingested plastics or got entangled in it. Year in year out, the plastics that are constantly thrown into the ocean are responsible for killing one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals. Did you know that every year, up to 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans?

Given the character of this major issue, proactive measures need to be taken to give lasting solution to plastic pollution such that our planets become forever protected. No need for plastic discs anymore, the internet has so become more than friendly. Mugs should come in handy anywhere and everywhere. Stakeholders should encourage the reuse and recycling of waste, especially plastic bags, bottles and containers. It’s time for us to do the rethink, let’s have a redesign, let’s improve our waste collection by sorting and reprocessing. The need is urgent, and we must continue to develop and use multiple strategies to have a waste-free environment.

Our planet is beautiful! Let’s save it!!