With 2.8 billion people projected by the United Nations as new addition to the world population by 2050, concerns are mounting on how much of the numbers the planet can bear as human needs continue to stretch it further to its elastic limit.
From climate change to sundry challenges bordering on food security and the daily depletion of resources, the planet is already reeling from the effects of population bulge, yet experts who gathered in Lagos to commemorate the 2019 World Population Day, worried that the current fallouts of over population only signal more future catastrophes, if nations fail to adopt population control policies.
According to Director, Population Matters, Mr. Robin Maynard, there is need for governments to strike a balance between the planet’s increasing population and its limited resources.
“We need education; medicine and family planning to enable us to live sustainably and leave the right footprint on the earth. The religious leaders have a powerful part to play in talking about family planning to their congregation.
“Those in developed countries need to reduce their consumption patterns and harmonize a balance and support those in the developing countries to live differently and strike a balance with the environment. The younger generations should educate and challenge political leaders to do the right thing and make better choices for the sustainability of the environment,” Maynard said.
Director General, Nigeria Conservation Foundation, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, stated that for Nigeria to have any form of sustainable development “governments across levels will need to intensify efforts on the education of the girl-child so as to enable them make better decisions on limiting the number of children they will have in their lifetime.”
“The world population hit 7.7 billion in April 2019 and according to research, one billion people are being added to the world population every twelve years,” says Director, Foundation for a Better Environment (FABE), Mrs. Temitope Okunnu. According to her, lack of education for the girl-child; preference for the male child in families; economic underdevelopment; early child marriages; religion and traditional beliefs have all contributed to the population overload the world is witnessing.
Speaking on the impact of increasing human population on Lagos environment and possible solutions, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr. Abiodun Bamgboye noted that the influx of people into Lagos has been a source of daily concern to the state government as the livable spaces continue to shrink.
“Out of the 30 wetlands we have in Lagos, only two remain now. The rest have have been reclaimed for construction purposes and this has been having a direct impact on flooding because the wetlands serve as reservoirs for flood waters,” he said.
“We believe in giving the women a choice by giving them education, contraceptive and empowering them to make critical decisions. Nigeria has just 12% contraceptive use and that says a lot about the population. If the girl-child has access to the right information, she would be able to plan her future and perhaps decide to have a small family,” says Ms. Florence Blondel, Campaigns and Project Officer, Population Matters.