Send to

Choose Destination
Integration. 1992 Jun;(32):24-7.

Population pressure, poverty and the environment.



Using the agricultural revolution as a starting point, human population has grown 50 times since then. The amount of environmental and ecological damage inflicted by humans before the agricultural revolution pales in comparison to the damage done afterwards. It took until 1800, or approximately 9800 years from the beginning of the agricultural revolution, for world population to reach 1 billion. It took only 187 years to reach 5 billion and current projections estimate that it will take only 11 years to add the 6th billion. If the governments of the world do not work together during this decade and bring a family planning message to every couple of reproductive age, the results will be catastrophic. Every year 40-50 million acres of forest are cut down. On average, the people living in developing countries are cutting down forests twice as fast as they can grow back. Deforestation, combined with intensive agriculture, is turning the world's farm land into desert. Soil erosion and desertification threaten 1/3 of the total land surface which is home to 1/5 of the population. While high consumption levels in developed countries and industrial pollution worldwide do have a huge impact, the fact remains that increases in population place increased burdens on the ecology's carrying capacity. While the former problems urgently need to be addressed, reducing population growth rates eases pressure on all the aspects of the environment. China suffers from every kind of ecological problem and its reliance on high sulfur coal as a primary energy source threatens to undo all the efficiency improvements made in developed countries. Water shortages are common in China as they are in many other countries, again a problem that would be less severe if population growth were reduced. Urban areas are the fastest growing and least prepared to handle the increased demand for drinking water and sanitation control. The cost of universal family planning is only US$9 billion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center