The Global Challenge


                                       As the New Century begins, Natural Resources are under increasing pressure, threatening Public Health and Development.

Many areas are afflicted by,

     Water shortages

     Soil exhaustion

     Loss of forests

     Air and water pollution

     Degradation of coastlines etc.


                                       As the world's population grows, improving living standards without destroying the Environment is a Global challenge.

       Most developing countries with rapid population growth face the urgent need to improve living standards.

       As we exploit the nature to meet the present needs, we are destroying the resources needed for the future.


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 grow 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



    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 


    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.




       World Population [2000 A.D] ; 7 Billion {700 Crore}

       Indias Population[2000 A.D] ; 1 Billion {100 Crore}

       Indias Population[2004]         ; 102.8 Crore

       Indias Population is expected to exceed Chinas population in 2035.

       Expected Population in 2035   ; 146 Crores

       Current Annual Growth Rate   ; 1.94


Most populous States in India

       U.P                         166  million

       Maharashtra             97  million

       Bihar                        83  million

       West Bengal            80  million

       Tamil Nadu             63  million


Lakshadweep has the lowest population of 61000


       LiteracyRate in Tamil Nadu          73.45 %

       Literacy Rate in India                    64.8  %

       CBR in Tamil Nadu                       19/1000population





Professor, Dept. of Community Medicine

Stanley Medical College, Chennai