Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, maybe we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment. - Sir David Attenborough
Golden words, these, especially as the world population exceeded an astounding 7 Billion in 2012. The United Nations recently issued a report that anticipates world population to reach 9.6 billion people by 2050.
The World Population Day is observed as an annual event that marks the date when the world's population reached 5 billion (11 July 1987).
Population Explosion has huge implications on areas like overall sustainability, access to infrastructure & basic health services. The theme for the 2013 World Population Day is specifically to raise awareness on the issue of adolescent pregnancy and the essential role played by reproductive health to create an equitable world where every young person’s dreams are fulfilled.
It is estimated that around 16 million girls under the age of 18 give birth each year while another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions. This is largely the consequence of discrimination, rights violations, inadequate education or sexual coercion.
Some of the other areas that are resulting in increase in Population include:
Some of the ill effects of this exponential growth in Population especially in developing countries like India are extremely significant. With a total population of 1.21 billion as per the latest Census, the pressure on resources is immense. Here are only some of the pain areas:
The recently released 2013 Failed States Index (FSI) throws up some alarming statistics on World Population. The population of the 20 countries that had the worst scores in the 2013 Failed States Index currently total 813 million. According to the UN Projections, these numbers will more than double over the next 37 years & the constitution of these countries in the world population will increase from 11% now to 18% in 2050.
In many of these countries, forty percent or more of the population is below the age of 15, and hence will soon enter the reproductive stage. The list was topped by Somalia & includes countries like Sudan, Yemen etc.
Efforts are clearly required to keep the growth in check. Primary among them, especially in the Indian context being:
- Spread of Education
- Women’s Literacy & Employment
- Family Planning Facilities.
With sustained efforts, population growth rate is a variable that can be de accelerated.
The UN has set 2015 as the target year for achieving universal access to family planning and reproductive health services. There is a long way to go, however,on that front.
In the mean time, here is an info graphic, courtesy www.jackhagley.com. A graphic view of the world, had the world been inhabited by just 100 people, throws up some interesting statistics. The first that catches the eye, is that of 100 people 17 would be unable to read this info graphic on account of illiteracy.