Sustainable Development Issues: Population

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Sustainable Development Issues:

Sustainable Development:

“Development that meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”.

WCED, 1987.

Population Growth:

“Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature”.

Rio Declaration, Principle I

“To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, states should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies”.

Rio Declaration, Principle 8

Population Growth Facts and Figures:

1990-2010; growth rate 30% 6 billion people added. The world’s population is growing at the rate of 1.10 % per year with 83 Million people are annually added. At this speed the population is expected to reach the figure of 10 billion people by around 2050 putting great pressure on environment.

Why population is a problem?

  • Excessive consumption of resources
  • Waste production.
  • Ecological footprint
  • Change in land form pattern.
  • Industrialization and consequent emission of harmful gases into the air and water; air, water and oil pollution.
  • Global warming.
  • Climate change.
  • Depletion of non-renewable resources.
  • Metallic minerals (gold, tin etc).
  • Non metallic minerals (salt, phosphates)
  • Fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas etc).
  • Degradation of renewable resources
  • Clean air.
  • Fresh water.
  • Fertile soil
  • Flowing water (30% of river water flow is now controlled through dams and barrages).
  • Biological diversity (forests, food crops, fisheries).
  • Low living standard.
  • Diseases and health problems.
  • Environment backfires.
  • Rapid floods
  • Loss of soil fertility
  • Decrease in agricultural productivity.
  • Extreme and unpredicted weather.
  • Change in wind and rainfall patterns.
  • Natural disasters and large scale migrations.
  • Poverty and other socio-economic problems.
  • Unequal distribution of wealth and resources.
  • Disruption of ecosystems.
  • Forces people to live in areas that are basically unsafe to live (floodplains of rivers, tsunami coasts).
  • Destruction of farmlad, ranclad and other protected areas.

The way forward:

  • To promote sustainable development.
  • Universal access to sexual and reproductive health care and family planning.
  • Investment in education.
  • The empowerment of women.
  • Systematic integration of population projections in development strategies and policies.
  • Planned urbanization.
  • Delocalization of resources.
  • Building new cities.
  • Reducing migrations.
  • Making people aware of the consequences of over-population.

Without planning, governments will be forced to operate in a permanent crisis mode, reacting to demographic and environmental challenges as they arise which is not only costly and less effective, but also unsustainable.

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