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Perspectives on increasing population Contest – Population dynamics its boons and perils

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Our current world places great value on resources. Many resource managers believe that, when handled properly, human resources can be the most practicable alternative in a world where natural resource scarcity is growing increasingly severe. This belief is widespread as the globe moves closer to a time of resource scarcity. However, the benefits of having a human resource come with some sustainability risks. The paper I wrote will go into it while taking a regional view and its broader ramifications on human sustainability.



The world population will surpass 8 billion on November 15, 2022, marking a watershed moment in human history. While it took 12 years for the world's population to increase from 7 to 8 billion people, it will take around 15 years—until 2037—to reach 9 billion people, indicating that population growth is slowing. However, some countries continue to have high fertility rates. The lowest per capita income countries also have the highest fertility rates. As a result, the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa's poorest governments have increased their population share over time (Countries, 2022).



(Shown in this video is the evolution of the Human Population within Time: Video Source: YouTube)


To comprehend population dynamics across time, we must analyze the demographic transition of population change proposed by American demographer Warren Thompson and track population growth. Since Homo Sapiens first arose in Africa 200 thousand years ago and then travelled overseas for the next 100 thousand years, the population has reached a million. By ten thousand years ago, the population had barely expanded to roughly five or six million individuals. Some researchers believe that this was the maximum number of people that could be fed by hunting and gathering and that increased human population numbers necessitated new methods of food production.

Before the demographic transition, there were two periods of population growth. The first occurred after the agricultural revolution, when many civilizations developed on the fertile flood plains, including the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Indus Valley civilizations, as agriculture provided a more dependable food supply and innovation in agricultural technology.

The population grew steadily until the mediaeval era, when the first stage of the Demographic transition theory, the pre-industrial revolution, began. This era, which lasted until the 18th century, was characterized by high birth rates and high death rates, which were often related to inefficient or absence of family planning, as well as poor and inadequate healthcare facilities.

As the developing world entered an era of the Industrial and Agricultural Revolution, advances in food supply and high agricultural yields, combined with modern medicine and healthcare systems, resulted in a decline in death rates with every throbbing birth rate, and it is safe to say that it coincides with a baby boom generation globally.

Better family planning and nuclear family fusion result in a large drop in birth rates across the developing and developed worlds, and lastly, stage 4 suffices to the fact that as the population level hits its peak, the birth and death rates are stable.

(In the gif Image It is quite evident the impact modern medicine and the Green Revolution had in a massive increase of Human Population post the world wars: Gif Source: Vox - Our world, explained)


After all these stages, we are now experiencing a global population of more than 8 billion people.



(The map above depicts the regions where there would be a high growth rate from 2000-2010 which would be towards the Indo -Gangetic Plains and Nigeria while the decline of population would be observed in Eastern Europe, Turkey and East Asia Pacific nations of Japan, South Korea parts of China also towards Asean nations Myanmar and Vietnam: Map Source: Faculty and Students of GREd foundation - GRED Foundation).


In the remaining article, we shall take into consideration the perils and pros of a large population in urban environments.

Increase in Population a Peril on Urban Environment

Cities presently house 55% of the world's population, owing to improved professional and economic prospects, which are now a forgotten fact. In all of this, there is no doubt that urbanization is an essential component of the economic growth process. India's towns and cities, like those in most other countries, contribute significantly to the country's economy. India's urban areas create more than two-thirds of the country's GDP and contribute 90% of government income despite having less than a third of the population (Challenges, 2020).


(A Sentinel Hub Timelapse created by me showing one of the largest slums in Cape Town in South Africa called Khayelitsha: Video Source: Sentinel Hub (sentinel-hub.com) and YouTube)


Slum habitation is the first big difficulty to consider; slums now account for one-quarter of all urban housing. In contrast to most other developing countries, Mumbai has more than half of its people living in slums, many of which are located near employment centres in the city's heart (Challenges, 2020).


Another significant concern is air pollution. More than 80% of individuals living in urban regions where air pollution is monitored are exposed to levels of air pollution that exceed WHO criteria, with low-income cities having the highest risk of respiratory diseases and other long-term health concerns. (United Nations, 2016).

According to the WHO's most recent global urban ambient air pollution database, 98% of cities in low- and middle-income countries with more than 100,000 people do not meet WHO air quality criteria. In high-income countries, however, that percentage drops to 56% (United Nations, 2016).

Between 2008 and 2013, the World Health Organization compared the levels of small and fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5 - particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns) in 795 cities across 67 nations. Pollutants such as sulphates, nitrates, and black carbon penetrate the lungs and cardiovascular system deeply, posing the greatest harm to human health. The data was then analyzed to identify regional trends (United Nations, 2016).

Although awareness is the one ray of hope, "Urban air pollution is increasing at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health," said Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health.



(In these two Earth Observatory Images of Smog patterns in Northern India and predominantly in Delhi called by Delhi and NCR areas Air pollution and more important Stubble burning during what harvest season in Punjab: Image source NASA Earth Observatory - Home)


Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “At the same time, awareness is rising, and more cities. are monitoring their air quality. When air quality improves, global respiratory and cardiovascular-related illnesses decrease.”(United Nations, 2016)



- Pawan Muddu


References:

Challenges, U. (2020). India’s Urban Challenges (pp. 3–5).

Nations, U. (2022). Population | United Nations. In United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/population

United Nations. (2016). UN News - UN health agency warns of a rise in urban air pollution, with the poorest cities most at risk (p. 11). http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=53914#.VznS55PhCYU






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