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World Population Day: history, facts and risks of overpopulation

We have already used about half of the world’s land surface.

By Rakesh Agrawal

PopulationToday, July, 11 is the World Population Day and the world’s population is increasing by leaps and bound as according to the Population Reference Bureau , 237,211 more people are added to the planet every day as every second worldwide, five people are born and two people die, leaving three more humans to inhabit the earth. Already, the world population is 7.3 billion and grows by 80 million a year.

This raises serious doubt on the carrying capacity of the mother earth as considering renewable resources and the Earth’s capacity to absorb carbon, toxic chemicals, and other forms of pollution, two Earths will be needed by 2030 to sustain us. Its warning signs are everywhere, as rivers and lakes shrink, water tables fall, carbon emissions rise, deserts expand, forests shrink, and fisheries collapse.

And, we are fast becoming a “single-specie” planet as we have already using about half of the world’s land surface to grow our crops, raise livestock, construct our roads, and build our towns and cities.

Any populist leader projects this burgeoning population as the biggest problem facing the humankind, but Population Media Center, a non-profit organization that works on health and human rights issues to improve access to information and improved ability to make choices, finds population as the part of the solution.

Its recipe is simple. By empowering people by meeting their human rights, health enhancing ways, such as providing girls with equal rights and an education and protecting the environment, we can stabilize population

Even today, girls and women in many parts of the world live in a sub-human condition, the United Nations calls the world leaders to invest in teenage girls. “In some parts of the world, a girl who reaches puberty is deemed by her family or community as ready for marriage, pregnancy and childbirth. She may be married off and forced to leave school,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

The UN releases sis figures to substantiate this fact:  There are more young people today than at any other time in human history, a whopping 1.59 billion young people live in the developing world, where they are more likely to face poverty and lack access to health care and education, half of these young people face alarming vulnerabilities – because they are girls, violence against women and girls is one of the world’s most prevalent human rights abuses as half of all sexual assaults are committed against girls aged 15 or younger.

Studies show that about 20 per cent of women experienced sexual violence as girls. Too often, these crimes go unpunished. Then, sexist attitudes and practices like child marriage exits as one in every three girls is married before 18, these ‘wives’ often become mothers, even if they’re not yet physically or mentally ready.

So, the solution to ending these human rights abuses is known: Empower girls.

But, as Gandhi said, earth has enough for everyone’s needs, but not greed, it’s our greed that’s killing us. After all, only humans amongst all living species earn money, but only humans die of hunger and malnutrition!