Fatima Imam Baksh
The world’s population was just one billion in 1800, rising to 7.8 billion in 2020. The world’s population is expected to reach 10.9 billion by 2100 if allowed to grow at the same rate. With known subterranean deposits of all kinds, the world would be best able to sustain a population of 9-10 billion people, Edward O. Wilson, a prominent Harvard sociologist and biologist, says. Currently, the average population growth rate is 1.1%, which means that the global population is increasing by about 80 million people every year.After independence, the total population of Pakistan was 75 million in 1951, including 42 million from then East Pakistan and 33 million from West Pakistan. Since then, our population growth has been steadily accelerating at an average rate of 2.5% – except in 1979 and 1982 when this growth rate was further accelerated to an alarming 3.4%. However, since 2003, it has fallen to less than 2%, although it has doubled the growth rate of India and Bangladesh. At present, the global fertility rate is 2.5 per woman, 3.5 in Pakistan, 2.2 in India and 4.32 in Afghanistan. High fertility rates, early marriages, low mortality rates, low contraceptive use, lack of education, abject poverty and religious limitations are the main reasons for Pakistan’s rapid population growth.The population explosion is compounded by poor governance and neglect of education, health, agriculture and industry. This is definitely a recipe for disaster. Each year we add about 5.3 million people to our population, equivalent to Norway. Conservative thinking is also a major obstacle in this regard. Our rulers must realize that uncontrolled population growth is not economically viable.According to a World Bank report, about three billion of the world’s population live in cities that are rapidly expanding due to urbanization trends. This demographic transformation creates serious problems. At one point, Pakistan had surplus wheat for export. Today, with a production of 27 million tons of wheat, we have to import 3 million tons of wheat to feed our ever-growing mouth. Hence, the government needs to seriously stop the growth of this unbridled population. As well as increasing industrial and agricultural production through agricultural research and using modern science and technology to reduce the negative effects of population growth. As uneducated, unhealthy and unemployed youth become a liability, it is important to remember that a healthy, educated and skilled population will be an asset to any nation.