With population rising, family planning needs supervising

Parul Budhraja Khanna

11th of July was declared as the “world population day”, in the year 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Today, must we rejoice this day or tremble with fear on the explosion of humans, burden of which our planet can barely take anymore! This international awareness campaign came into being for the sole purpose of bringing our notice to the problematic aspects that this upheaval of human population has caused. It is imperative that we start acting upon instead of just discussing the ways to combat the issues pertaining to the problem at hand. The seriousness with which we need to tackle the exponential rise in the human fraternity, is not only valuable for our wellbeing but also for the lives we intend to bring to existence in the near future.

Let’s address the elephant in the room for the sake of the future of humanity

Scientists, activists, healthcare influencers etc. can’t emphasize enough on the grave challenges we’re facing due to the escalation of our population. Yet, why do we choose to keep our mouths sealed about it? virtually all of the major problems that confront the world today (crisis relating to climate, energy, severe poverty, food, the global economy and political instability) relate in some critical way to population overgrowth. With this rapid rise of humans, we’re approaching scarcity of many essential resources that keep us alive. Such as; food, water, agricultural land, employment and so on. We’re literally pushing ourselves into a deep dark hole of chronic hunger and poverty with depletion of these indispensable amenities. We’re beguiling ourselves if we turn our backs to these issues because another petrifying fact is that with diminishing resources, we’re also creating a provocative environment for war. This conflict will arise with the increase in the number of environmental refugees simultaneously increasing with the demands of the population.

Family planning is a human right – are we exploiting our right?

World population day has been celebrated since past three decades. It was during the international conference on human rights in 1968 whereabout it was affirmed that “family planning is a human right”. It is also the theme and focus of this years’ world population day. Wherein, it is the basic rights of the parents to be able to decide the number and spacing of their offspring. Millions of women, globally, are still not given access to safe and effective family planning methods. Which is why it has been chosen as the prime coverage point for 2018. Fundamental human right is to have a voluntary choice towards safe and effective family planning measures. Gender equality and women’s empowerment highly depend on this choice. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in reducing the poverty.

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However, my dilemma is, are we really using this right for the betterment of our community? Because if we were making the right use of our right, then we won’t be in a situation of dwindling natural resources. Our habit of poor waste management is aggravating our condition even more. Rate of growth should not be the only measurement of overpopulation. Density of population should also be considered. Future population growth can only result to further degradation of our environment. The effects of global warming, will surely worsen due to the increased carbon footprint. There are over 100 million women in the world today who want to space or limit their pregnancies, but who lack knowledge of, or access to, modern methods of contraception. Precisely, we need to educate the masses on family planning and empower our women by giving them affordable access to the reproductive health services. Thereby, they can make an informed decision about their own life and the life they want to bring into this world.

How can we make our future sustainable?

We’re nearing a figure of roughly 8 billion human inhabitants on earth. Now, that number requires a lot of support and sustainability. First and foremost, there needs to be a decline in the social poverty which as discussed earlier can be achieved by limiting the population through increased access to reproductive health. For this we need to find ways to pull the attention of the people towards the campaign so that it is observed by the community at a global level. And therefore, significant investments to be made to fulfil the demands and supply of reproductive care. The emphasis here is more on the awareness of reproductive health because it is the chief cause of illness and high mortality rate of expecting women worldwide. Every year a good chunk of youth enters their reproductive age (about 1.8 billion of them). Hence, it is of paramount importance to impart knowledge about reproductive health to them. Certain other issues of significance include; importance of family planning towards the increasing population, gender equality, maternal and infant health, poverty, human rights, right to health, sexuality education, use of contraceptives and safety measures like condoms, adolescent pregnancy, girl child education, child marriage, sexually transmitted infections and much more.

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Fortunately, for all of us, there is one simple strategy that will help to address all these problems: education and empowerment of women and giving them universal access to family planning as well as reproductive health services. With that we can save lives, strengthen families, fight poverty, preserve the environment, and help achieve a world population that can live in harmony with the planet. Let us vow to celebrate, protect and empower youths of both genders by gifting them with equal primary education. We need to impart them detailed knowledge about the sexuality, STDs, so that they’re able to understand their responsibilities and prevent life threatening infections. We need to educate our youth on illnesses related to pregnancy as well as perils of premature childbirth, moreover, how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. There’s an urgency of effective laws and policies that would protect the girl child rights. Most importantly, we need to remove the conspicuous gender stereotypes from our society. Men and women both are from this very planet, both of them deserve equal rights and that’s when we will achieve thriving sustainable societies.

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