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 Family Planning Is A Human Right, Its 7.6 Billion And Is World Population Day 

Date of Publish - Wednesday, 11th July 2018

Almost half of the population of the world lives in rural regions and mostly in a state of poverty. Such inequalities in human development have been one of the primary reasons for unrest and, in some parts of the world, even violence – Dr.A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

Today is World Population Day, which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues and reaffirm the human right to plan for a family. It was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, following the massive interest generated by the Day of Five Billion on 11 July 1987, the approximate date on which the world's population reached five billion people.

The Theme for the United Nations World Population Day this year is “Family Planning is a Human Right,” to honor the 50th anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was first globally affirmed as a human right. It is hard to believe that family planning has not reached millions of families in some of the least developed parts of the world.

This year, we are 1.6 billion and counting! At the dawn of the age of agriculture, about 8000 B.C., the population of the world was approximately 5 million. Over the 8,000-year period up to 1 A.D., it grew to 200 million, although other estimates vary from 300 to 600 million, with a growth rate of under 0.05% per year. But the script changed dramatically thereafter with rapid growth in numbers.

Human population really exploded after the industrial revolution, with better healthcare and economic wellbeing. It had taken all of human history until around 1800 for humans to reach one billion, but the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in 30 years (1960), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987). The population grew from 1.65 billion to an astounding 6 billion during the 20th century. Incredibly, there were roughly half as many people in the world in the year 1970 as there are now.

China is the most populous country, followed by India, the United States of America, Indonesia and Brazil. The top ten includes Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia and Mexico, in that order. The Indian subcontinent is among the most densely populated regions and a growing population. India is expected to overtake China as the most populous country within decades.

The population growth rate is currently around 1.09% per year, marginally down from 1.12% in 2017 and 1.14% in 2016. The current average population increase is estimated at 83 million people per year. According to projections, the number of humans on earth will reach 8 billion in the year 2023, a doubling time of 49 years, and level off around 10 to 12 billion by 2100. On the positive side, the human population growth rates have been declining and it is expected to take more than 200 years to double again if it does happen at all.

Human population growth has had profound ecological implications with the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. Several reports have pointed out that humans have already exceeded the ‘carrying capacity’ of the planet. According to the World Health Organization, 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. Pollution of water with mercury, microplastics and pathogens is common even in developed countries while many developing countries lack basic sanitation facilities. Although people around the world are beginning to respond to climate change by reducing their carbon footprints, these measures seem inadequate without population control.

Author :
Rituraj Phukan


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