Concytec: Our planet would reach 8 billion inhabitants, beating a world record. Good or bad?

Pop Science is a virtual program that is broadcast on Concytec’s social networks and in its recent edition it has reported that there is a high probability that our planet Earth will break a world record since the human population that inhabits it would be about to reach 8 billion at any time. According to a United Nations (UN) report, this step would become a reality around November 15 this year.

The question then is how would this be possible if today, compared to times past, people no longer had children like the grandparents of old? For the UN, the increase in the population is due in part to the decrease in the indices of mortality and the increase in the levels of vida gracias to the science lo cual will be reflected in the aseguramiento alimentario, the advances in health and the communications , among others.

On the other hand, this population growth will continue as long as fertility remains high. For example, in 2021, the average fertility of the world’s population stood at 2.3 births per woman over her lifetime, much lower than the 5 births an average woman had in 1950. Similarly, the UN points out that the life expectancy of women exceeded that of men by 5.4 years in the world, since they would have an average life expectancy of 73.8 years while men are 68.4 years old.

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The report also assures that by 2023, China will no longer be the most populous country for centuries but will be replaced by India. If we take into account that at the beginning of the 20th century the world population was about 1,800 million, and by the 1970s we reached 4 billion, we can conclude that the growth of the population in just 50 years has doubled. Another interesting fact is that the average lifespan today is 71 years, despite the fact that COVID-19 has reduced this expectation in 2021.

OVERCROWDING Is it good or bad?

Having a large population would have mainly negative consequences for the world, as it would require urgent attention to needs such as: producing more energy, consuming more fuels, growing and processing more food, as well as that fertilizers, water, the production of plastics and household appliances, the manufacture of cement, the use of mineral resources leading, in turn, to a gigantic production of waste and therefore greater contamination and pollution of the ‘environment.

Spaces are limited…

Knowing that the solid surface of the Earth, without the oceans, is 150 million square kilometers or 15,000 million hectares, if we subtract the 7 billion hectares represented by the territories of Antarctica, Greenland , snow-capped mountains and inhospitable deserts, we have 8 billion habitable hectares left. This means that each human would have 1 hectare to live on, more or less covering a football field. However, it doesn’t work that way.

In the case of Peru, our country currently has 33 million inhabitants. Only in Lima and according to an INEI publication (https://www.inei.gob.pe/prensa/noticias/lima-supera-los-10-millones-de-habitantes-al-ano-2022-13297/), this overall proportion of 1 inhabitant per hectare, is completely reduced. For example, Lima has just over 10 million inhabitants and in neighborhoods like Surquillo, the population density reaches 29,000 people per square kilometer, or 290 inhabitants per hectare. Or 34.4 square meters per inhabitant.

Finally, Concytec invites you to reflect on the negative impact of this global overpopulation and the best way to contribute to it is to avoid compulsive and senseless consuming, polluting and wasting energy that is so expensive to produce.

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