Overpopulation - curse or bonus
World Population Day observes on 11July every year to highlight issue of growing global population and its impacts on our lives. Governing council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989 announced the event.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012
The purpose of the event was to give the world awareness of key population issues such as reproductive health, poverty, women empowerment, youth, environment sustainability, ageing, urbanization and basic human right of individuals to decide freely the number and timing of their children.
Rapid population growth is a matter of concern for the World. In October 1999, the human population of the world crossed 6 billion people and it will reach to 13 billion by the year 2067. The contribution of developing countries especially Asian countries is 80% of the total amount. A latest survey states that Pakistan's population has reached up to 174.59 million. By the year 2020, it is expected that our population will reach 208 million.
At present, China and India are the world's largest population nations with 1,370,536,875 and 1,210,193,422 respectively. The 2007 population estimates from the US Census Bureau and the United Nations Population Division set China's current population at around 1.3 billion people, and India's at around 1.1 billion. If population continues to grow at the estimated rate, such rapid growth in India between now and mid-century could lead to overpopulation
Fertility rate in developing countries are high. Most developing countries have limited resources to meet the increasing requirements of growing population. Rapid growth rate in developing countries has amplified the need of food, water, and basic health care. Billions of people around the globe live their lives under the dark shadows of diseases and starvation. According to the latest UNWFP report, more than 1.5 million children in India are estimated to suffer from malnourishment and 43 percent of children under five years of age are underweight. The proportion of anemic children has increased by six percent in the last six years, with 11 states reporting 80 percent child anemia rates.
Experts believe that in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, lack of access to family planning services, as well as cultural traditions that emphasize the role of women as child-bearers, make large families the norm.
For a healthy society, mother- child fitness plays a key role. In over populated countries, women's health is always at risk. They seldom receive the care they need to be safe and healthy throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Women living in developing countries are nearly 300 times more likely to die from complications during childbirth than women living in industrialized countries as they deprived of basic maternal healthcare facilities.
Maternal mortality related causes for a Pakistani woman is I in 80 compared to I in 61 in developing countries as a whole and 1 in 4,085 in industrialized countries. According to estimation about 358,000 mothers die each year from pregnancy related causes, including childbirth, and internal complications. In 2010, 7.6 million children died before their fifth birthday, nearly all from preventable or treatable causes.
In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund released a report on The State of the World's Midwifery. It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Pakistan is 260. This is compared with 376.5 in 2008 and 541.2 in 1990.
In Baluchistan, the maternal mortality is 785 deaths per 100,000 live births, which are nearly, triple the national rate. It should be noted here that in rural areas of Pakistan, maternal mortality is nearly twice than that in cities. (Wikipedia)
Overpopulation burdens the economy of developing countries. High fertility rate has directly link with their high poverty rate and a cause of slow economic growth. Poverty is the number one health problem; unfortunately, the poorest people have the most children. Control of population growth and investments in reproductive health, education, women's empowerment and gender equality are important for reducing poverty.
According to UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund), the countries in which poverty levels are the highest are generally those that have the most rapid increase in population and the highest fertility levels. Countries that have reduced fertility and mortality by investing in universal health care, including reproductive health, as well as education and gender equality, have made economic gains.
Environmentalists worried that growing rate of population is a hazard for environment. They claim that most of the current problem that humans are experiencing in terms of climatic changes to rapid resource extraction is all caused due to human population growth. Utilization of natural resources is a cause of damaging the environment. The Population Connection revealed that with the growth of population since 1950, 80% of the rainforests have been cleared, more than 10,000 wildlife and plant species have been lost, greenhouse gas emission has increased potentially by 400% and more than half of the surface land of the Earth has been used for commercial purpose, which still continues.
A blogger writes, "It is a fact that we are using and sometimes abusing most of the resources we have, or better say we had. Deforestation for human living space, wildlife poaching for human benefit, industrialization to support human needs etc are just a few of the habits that we have adapted in the recent past without realizing how it would affect the Earth and affect us in the long run".
Overpopulation is a major cause of urbanization. At present, the world is going through the largest wave of urban growth in history. Speedy urbanization is causing rapid increase of poverty in urban areas. One billion people live in urban slums, which are typically congested, contaminated and treacherous, and deprived of basic amenities of life such as clean water and sanitation.
The majority of the world's population lives in a city, and this percentage keeps on growing. One hundred years ago, two out of every 10 people lived in an urban area. By 1990, less than 40% of the global population lived in a city, but as of 2010, more than half of all people live in an urban area. According to the World health Organization (WHO) By 2030, 6 out of every 10 people will live in a city, and by 2050, this proportion will increase to 7 out of 10 people.
Overpopulation is a cause of unemployment because there are not adequate jobs to support the population. This leads to high level of criminal activities because the people especially youth.
World population day on 11 July 2012 is an opportunity for every country to make sure every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.