POPULATION GROWTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL
DEGRADATION IN INDIA
The rapid population growth and economic development in country are degrading the environment through the uncontrolled growth of urbanization and industrialization, expansion and intensification of agriculture, and the destruction of natural habitats. One of the major causes of environmental degradation in India could be attributed to rapid growth of population, which is adversely affecting the natural resources and environment. The growing population and the environmental deterioration face the challenge of sustained development without environmental damage. The existence or the absence of favorable natural resources can facilitate or retard the process of economic development. The three fundamental demographic factors of births, deaths and migration produce changes in population size; composition, distribution and these changes raise a number of important questions of cause and effect. Population Reference Bureau estimated the 6.14 billion world's population in mid 2001. Contribution of India alone to this population was estimated to be 1033 millions. It is estimated that the country’s population will increase to 1.26 billion by the year 2016. The projected population indicates that India will be a first most populous country in the world and China will be second in 2050 (Population Reference Bureau, 2001). The increase of population has been tending towards alarming situation. India is having 18 percent of the worl–d's population on 2.4 percent of its land area has great deal of pressure on its all natural resources. Water shortages, soil exhaustion, deforestation, air and water pollution afflicts many areas. If the world population continues to multiply, the impact on environment could be devastating.
As the 21st century begins, growing number of people and rising levels of consumption per capita are depleting natural resources and degrading the environment. The poverty-environmental damage nexus in India must be seen in the context of population growth as well. The pressures on the environment intensify every day as the population grows. The rapid increase of human numbers combines with desperate poverty and rising levels of consumption are depleting natural resources on which the livelihood of present and future generations depends. Poverty, is amongst the consequences of population growth and its life style play major role in depleting the environment 3 either its fuel demands for cooking or for earning livelihood for their survival. The unequal distribution of resources and limited opportunities cause push and pull factor for people living below poverty line that in turn overburdened the population density in urban areas and environment get manipulated by manifolds, consequently, urban slums are developed in urban areas. The growing trends of population and consequent demand for food, energy, and housing have considerably altered land-use practices and severely degraded India's forest vis-à-vis environment also. The growing population put immense pressure on land extensification at cost of forests and grazing lands because the demand of food could not increase substantially to population. Thus, horizontal extension of land has fewer scopes and relies mostly on vertical improvement that is supported by technical development in the field of agriculture i.e. HYV seeds, Fertilizers, Pesticides, Herbicides, and agricultural implements. All these practices causing degradation and depletion of environment with multiplying ratio. The relationship between population growth, resource depletion and environmental degradation has been a matter of debate for decades. The argument has been between those who view population numbers per se as the main culprit in increasing pressure on the environment and those who place more blame on economic development, non sustainable agricultural and industrial practices, and excessive and wasteful consumption. In fact,...
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