Written by Siddhi Latey (Weloquent)
“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed” – Mahatma Gandhi
The World Population Day is observed on the 11th of July. It seeks to increase awareness about the rising global population and its subsequent ecological impact. The galloping growth of population has been a matter of pressing concern in India as we are the second most populated country, following China. Overpopulation is the primary cause of major global problems such as global warming and climate change.
To combat overpopulation we must build awareness against it. The best way to do so is through educating people about the facts of overpopulation. So let’s start with busting some of these myths and replacing them with the respective truths-
Population Growth will Eventually Stop
Amongst the prevalent myths, this one is the most dangerous as it neglects an individual’s responsibility towards population control. We like to ignore what sounds unpleasant to us or what does not immediately impact our lives. However, unless conscious efforts are undertaken to curb the growth of the population it will keep rising. According to the UN's median projection for future population growth, we will hit 10.9 billion by the end of this century unless we take the necessary measures to stabilise its growth.
One Person’s Family Planning Won’t Change Much
Choosing to have smaller families is precisely the way to control the growth of the population and in this endeavour, every individual’s contribution has a visible impact. The UN’s worrisome projection of our population is derived from the assumption of how the number of large families will decline in the coming 80 years. It also calculates that if every family has one child less than what is predicted, there will be 1 billion fewer people by 2050.
Overpopulation is Not as Big a Concern as Larger Environmental Issues
There is no denying that environmental crises require immediate action to be taken. However, what is often not realised is that stabilising the growth of the population can play a significant role in addressing environmental and ecological problems. There is no need to crown one or the other as a more dire issue - we need to focus on both these aspects together.
In a 2017 study, scientists outlined that population growth was the primary driver behind ecological as well as societal threats. They have requested governments across the globe to acknowledge the severity of the impact of population growth urging them to take the necessary action to achieve the goal of a sustainable population.
Addressing Inequality will Resolve Problems of Inadequate Resources
It is often believed that unbridled indulgence by the privileged leads to inadequacy amongst the underprivileged. While the injustice in the distribution of goods is socially and morally unfair, it does not affect the over-consumption of Earth’s resources. The true offender is overpopulation. The uncontrolled rise in population is the major contributing factor that causes a depletion of the Earth’s natural reserves and resources tilting the scales towards ecological imbalance.
Some Religions are Solely Responsible for Skewing the National Population Demographics
One of the most politically propagated myths in India is that Muslims produce too many children thereby increasing the population growth of the country. In his latest book “The Population MYTH” Dr. SY Quraishi busts this myth by providing empirical evidence and data collected from the Four National Family Health Surveys (the last held in 2015-16 and the first in 1992-93.) The religious bias results in a blame game that lifts the responsibility from one stratum of the society and expects the other to shoulder the blame for the rising population.
To conclude, we must shift our focus from believing in unscientific and unsupported myths and instead work towards providing contraceptives to the masses, help them learn about family planning, and educate and empower women - each of which can play a significant role in controlling the growth of the human population. For a better tomorrow, we need an early start today!