New Delhi: Our planet is now home to 8 billion people. November 15, 2022 will be etched in history as the global population reach 8 billion, signalling major improvements in public health that have lowered the risk of dying and increased life expectancy. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) believes the moment is also a clarion call for humanity to look beyond the numbers and meet its shared responsibility to protect people and the planet, starting with the most vulnerable.
It took about 12 years for the world population to grow from 7 to 8 billion, but the next billion is expected to take approximately 14.5 years (2037), reflecting the slowdown in global growth. World population is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.
Asia and Africa drove much of the growth and is expected to drive the next billion in 2037, while Europe’s contribution will be negative due to declining population. Interestingly, India, the largest contributor to the 8 billion (177 million), will surpass China, which was the second largest contributor (73 million) and whose contribution to the next billion will be negative, as the world’s most populous nation by 2023.
Here are some key facts related to India:
1. India’s population growth appears to be stabilising. The Total Fertility Rate — more or less the average number of children born per woman — has declined from 2.2 to 2.0 at the national level. A total of 31 States and Union Territories (constituting 69.7% of the country’s population) have achieved fertility rates below the replacement level of 2.1.
2. The main reasons for decline in fertility include: Increase in adoption of modern family planning methods (from 47.8% in 2015-16 to 56.5% in 2019-21) and a reduction in unmet need for family planning by 4% points over the same period. This indicates significant improvements in access to family planning related information and services. In summary, it shows that India’s national population policies and health systems are working.
3. India is a youthful nation with the largest cohort of young people anywhere in the world, with major potential to achieve its demographic dividend. While many parts of the world are ageing, India’s youthful population can be a global resource to solve global problems.
What does rise in global population mean?
Talking about stabilised growth, Poonam Muttreja, Public Health Expert and Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India said,
We know that population growth is stabilising across the world. We should now focus on eliminating the unmet need for contraception, so that women can decide if they want to have children and if yes, when, how many and at what intervals. For countries with large populations like India, the challenge is to plan better for a happy and healthy future for all.
Ms Muttreja called to “broaden our view on the multidimensional relationship between the population and the planet.” She said,
Global evidence shows that a small portion of the world’s people use most of the earth’s resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past 25 years, the richest 10 per cent of the global population has been responsible for more than half of all carbon emissions.
UN has called for solidarity in advancing sustainable development for all. In an official press release, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said,
Unless we bridge the yawning chasm between the global haves and have-nots, we are setting ourselves up for an 8-billion-strong world filled with tensions and mistrust, crisis and conflict.
The World Population Prospects 2022 report states that the relationship between population and sustainable development should be considered within the context of climate change and other global environmental challenges that have a direct impact on sustainable development.
It further adds that for countries with continuing high levels of fertility, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those related to health, education and gender, is likely to hasten the transition towards lower fertility and slower population growth.
Andrea Wojnar, UNFPA Representative India and Country Director Bhutan said,
The reproductive health and rights of women and girls are key to ensuring societies thrive amid demographic changes. When we’re talking about population trends, we’re not just talking about census data or surveys–we’re talking about a woman’s right to make choices about her body and her future. The reproductive rights and health of women must be protected irrespective of demographic trends. Issues like climate change and access to health care disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, especially women and girls. This day should incite the global community to commit to cultivating a world in which all 8 billion of us can thrive equally.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.