A Comparative Analysis of Environmental Issues between Rural and Urban Communities in the Upper West Region of Ghana
Keywords:environmental quality, environmental protection, citizens, economic welfare, poverty
This paper examines citizens’ concerns on environmental issues in rural and urban communities in a developing country, specifically rural and urban communities in the Upper West Region of Ghana. The objective of the research is to determine whether respondents’ attitude towards environmental issues differed with respect to socio-economic condition. The methodology involved a proportionate sample frame of 318 respondents, who were randomly selected and interviewed from 22 urban and rural communities. It was found that environmental degradation is a serious problem and respondents are very concerned about their environment. Environmental quality was quite bad or quite good. Respondents indicated that environmental problems can affect the health of future generations. Rural community respondents preferred livelihood activities to environmental protection whilst urban community respondents preferred environmental protection to livelihood activities. Urban respondents as compared to rural respondents are willing to sacrifice the use of modern technology to protect the environment. Urban respondents as compared to rural respondents are willing to pay for environmental protection. Respondents indicated that it is government’s responsibility to protect the environment and individual citizens or citizen groups are effective, quite effective, or effective in creating awareness on environmental issues. It was concluded that urban communities are more concerned than rural communities about environmental issues; environmental problems bother rural and urban communities in different ways; citizen participation in environmental issues could generate greater awareness on environmentalism at the local and grassroots level; and, environmental degradation is recognized as a threat to human health and wellbeing.