Environment Getting Worse

Environment Getting Worse

    • In the past decade in every environmental sector, conditions have either failed to improve, or they are worsening.

    Public Health

    • Unclean water along with poor sanitation kills over 12 million people each year. Water pollution is a serious problem everywhere.
    • Air pollution kills nearly 3 million people. Air pollution, already a serious problem in cities, is becoming worse as urban population grown and the number of motor vehicles rises.
    • Heavy metals and other contaminants also causes health problems

    Food Supply

    • In most developing countries, the population has been growing faster than food supplies.
    • Population pressures have degraded some 2 billion hectares of cultivable land- an area the size of USA and Canada put together.


    • Supply of fresh water is limiting, since the demand is soaring as population grows and per-capita use rises.
    • By 2025, when world population is projected to be 8 billion, nearly 48 countries containing 3 billion people will face freshwater shortages

    Coastlines and Oceans

    • Half of all coastal ecosystems are pressured by high population densities and urban development
    • A tide of pollution is rising in the world's seas
    • Ocean fisheries are being overexploited and fish catches are down


    • Nearly half of the world's original forest cover has been lost.
    • Each year millions of hectares of forests are cut, bulldozed or burned
    • Forests provide over 400 billion US$ to the world economy annually and are vital to maintaining healthy ecosystems
    • Current demand for forest products may exceed the limit of sustainable consumption by 25%


    • Earth's biological diversity is crucial to the continued vitality of Agriculture and Medicine, and perhaps even to life on Earth itself
    • Human activities are pushing many thousands of plant and animal Species into extinction
    • Two of every three species is estimated to be in decline

    Global climate change

    • The Earth's surface is warming due to greenhouse gas emissions, largely from burning fossil fuels.
    • If the global temperature rises as projected, sea levels would rise by several meters, causing widespread flooding.
    • Global warming also cause droughts and disrupt agriculture


    • During the 1990's the people in poverty increased by about 1 billion
    • By 2000 that number had risen to about 3 billion- almost half of the world's population

    Stabilizing Population

    • The last four decades have witnessed a profound change in Fertility rates and world population growth.
    • Demographic Transition: The transition from high fertility and high mortality to low fertility and low mortality has been substantially completed in the developed world and is underway in most of the developing world.
    • But in many countries of Africa and Asia, population continues to growing at 2% a year or faster and the average women, bears 4-6 children.
    • Even small increases in the fertility rates- which could occur if commitment to providing family planning services, information, supplies, etc were to diminish- would mean faster population growth.
    • Worries about a "population bomb" may have lessened as fertility rates have fallen, but the world's population is
    • Projected to continue expanding until the middle of the century.
    • While population growth has slowed, the absolute number of people continues to increase-by about 1 billion every 13 years.
    • Slowing population growth would help improve living standards and would buy time to protect natural resources.
    • In the long run, to sustain higher living standards, world population size must stabilize.

Last modified: Friday, 30 March 2012, 4:52 PM