ACCORDING to projections of the United Nations, the world population hit the mark of eight billion on Tuesday with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasizing that the milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet.
The UN attributes the growth to human development, with people living longer thanks to improvement in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine.
It is also the result of higher fertility rates, particularly in the world’s poorest countries — most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa — putting their development goals at risk. Population growth has also magnified the environmental impacts of economic development.
There are two facets of the significant development as some experts worry that eight billion humans is too many for planet Earth while others insist the bigger problem is the over consumption of resources by the wealthiest people.
In fact, Allah Almighty has bestowed the world with rich resources but globally some mighty countries and at national levels some segments of the society try to dominate these resources through all means and as a consequence we see conflicts and turmoil all around.
This is despite the fact that apart from the Divine guidance, mankind has also been striving to strike a balance through institutions like the United Nations but these too are being misused by the influential powers.
The smaller countries are being deprived of their legitimate resources either through wars or their exploitation through discriminatory trade and world order.
That the world is rushing towards a catastrophe became evident from what we witnessed during recent floods caused in Pakistan by the unprecedented impact of global warming.
There are reasons to believe the gap between haves and have-nots will increase in the absence of a mechanism to resolve political and economic disputes in a just manner.
The rising population is also a threat to countries like Pakistan that are caught in a vicious cycle of poverty due to internal and external factors.
It may be pointed out that after a peak in the early 1960s; the world’s population growth rate has decelerated dramatically as annual growth has fallen from a high of 2.1 percent between 1962 and 1965 to below one percent in 2020.
Unfortunately, this has not happened in the case of Pakistan which still has a population growth rate of 1.91% and as a result our problems compound with the passage of time.
There is greater realization about the negative impact of the population explosion but neither individuals nor the government has so far moved towards a viable solution which should be a source for concern for our planners.