Humanity hits eight billion mark

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A baby born somewhere on Tuesday will be the world’s eight billionth person, according to a projection by the United Nations.

“The milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

The UN attributes the growth to human development, with people living longer thanks to improvements 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.

But while some worry that eight billion humans is too many for planet Earth, most experts say the bigger problem is the overconsumption of resources by the wealthiest people.

“Some express concerns that our world is overpopulated,” said United Nations Population Fund chief Natalia Kanem.

“I am here to say clearly that the sheer number of human lives is not a cause for fear.” The current population is more than three times higher than the 2.5 billion global headcount in 1950.

However, after a peak in the early 1960s, the world’s population growth rate has decelerated dramatically, Rachel Snow of the UN Population Fund told AFP.—AFP

 

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