A popular lecture was organized at the occasion of World Population Day by Pushpa Gujral Science City on “Global population issues and their impact on environment”. Around 100 school & college students participated in the event through virtual mode. The theme of this year’s event is ‘The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on fertility’ under which the issue of ‘Rights and choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritizing the reproductive health and rights of all people’ is being discussed globally. . The United Nations has sent up the UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities, now known as United Nations Population Fund) and a population division to plan programmes to highlight and disseminate information on issues related to population.
Dr.Neelima Jerath, Director General Science City, in her introductory remarks at the occasion, said that Population growth has both negative and positive impacts on the society. Whereas at one hand population explosion can lead to overexploitation of resources, create resource crunch for present and future generations, affect age structure of a country, lead to local and international migration and can cause economic inequality thus compromising sustainability; however, on the other side, it can provide a country with a large work force which can help increase its commercial output and productivity, innovative potential, tax base and consumer spending, thus creating an impetus for the economy. Low population growth in high-income countries is likely to create social and economic problems while high population growth in low-income countries may slow their development. However, it is largely accepted that population growth constantly acts as a hurdle in effectively addressing the problem of poverty, hunger and malnutrition and in providing the better quality of health and education, with limited resources. Covid-19 has accentuated these challenges and also raised concerns on the timely attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is therefore important to understand that in order to have a better future for all on a healthy planet, attainment of the SDGs is critical. Hence, providing adequate education and training to the large young population would ensure them to be productive, effective and competent, thereby proving themselves as key contributors for the achievement of these SDGs.
Dr. Parmil Kumar, Associate Professor, Dept. of Statistics, University of Jammu was the key speaker at the occassion. Delivering his talk he said that the main objective of celebrating this day is to raise awareness of global population issues and its impact on environment, natural resources and human beings. Further, with gradual improvement in the access to healthcare facilities, level of education, availability of proper nutrition and diet etc., life expectancy has improved and death rate has declined. The increasing population reflects on health problems faced by women during pregnancy and childbirth making the need for family planning, gender equality, and maternal health more important than ever, he added.
Dr. Rajesh Grover, Director, Science City said that overpopulation is a crucial issue considering depletion of world resources at an unsustainable rate. Population explosion is leading to growing loss of biodiversity, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and shortages of water, food, and fuel-wood in many parts of the world. He stressed on the need to educate women and make them aware of the consequences of having more children on their health and society as well.