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ENVIRONMENT REPORT - November 23, 2001: Population and the Environment - 2001-11-22

This is the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

A new report says the growing population around the world is harming the environment. More people are using more of the Earth’s natural resources than ever before. Experts say poor people around the world will suffer most in the future unless environmental damage is stopped. They say more should be done to balance human and environmental needs.

The United Nations Population Fund is responsible for studying population growth. It released the report about the subject earlier this month. The report is called the State of the World Population, Two-Thousand-One. It examines the links among environmental conditions, population growth and efforts to help poor people in developing countries.

The world’s population is now more than six-thousand-million people. That number has increased by one-hundred percent since Nineteen-Sixty. The population is expected to increase to more than nine-thousand-million by the year Two-Thousand-Fifty.

The report says about two-thousand-million people lack food security. Water supplies and agricultural lands are heavily used. In fifty years, experts say more than four-thousand million people will be living in countries that can not meet people’s daily needs.

The report says all of the expected growth in world population will take place in developing countries. The forty-nine least developed countries are expected to increase by almost two-hundred percent in fifty years.

Yet, the U-N agency says people in the richest countries use much more of the world’s resources than people in developing countries. It says a child born today in the United States, France or Japan will do more harm to the environment during his lifetime than as many as fifty children born in developing countries.

The U-N Population Fund says international policies need to be put into effect to improve poor conditions, increase social development and ease pressure on the environment. It also says women need more control over their lives. It says empowering women would lead to smaller families and slower population growth. The U-N Population Fund says these measures would help improve the well being of growing populations while protecting the natural world.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Cynthia Kirk.