Is there a divide between rich and poor when we think of the environment? Absolutely. They are divided in many other ways, so the environment is no different. The field of environmental justice deals exclusively with these issues, arguing that environmental risks and benefits should be equally distributed among all populations.
There are numerous differences between the two groups indeed. Often, the economically disadvantaged groups live in areas where there is less enforcement of the regulations and laws, as well as less knowledge about those laws. Higher income often means higher level of education, and more financial means for "shopping a way out" of exposure to dangerous chemicals in products. It also often means better insurance to deal with health problems since the poor are often uninsured.
This issue is a global one. A recent La Monde article explores this issue even further, studying the divide between the two groups. Check it out for more info.
Photo: Haitian Flag by carrib. Haiti is one of many nations that continues to be devastated by environmental degradation.