A crowded world's population hits 7 billion

Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:56pm EDT
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By Pawan Kumar

LUCKNOW, Oct 31 (AlertNet) - Wrapped in a white blanket, Nargis Yadav lies in the arms of her mother in a small rural clinic in north India -- one of half a million babies born around the world on Monday that will push the global population to the milestone of seven billion.

The U.N.-declared landmark underscores the challenges faced by many countries in providing for the growing numbers of people on an already over stretched and crowded planet.

Nargis was born in the populous state of Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorest regions in India, a country that could soon overtake China as the world's most populated nation.

Her parents, poor villagers who earn just over $100 a month, say they want her to go to school and be successful in life, but aid workers say this will be an uphill struggle, not only for her but others like her in the developing world.

"The child will face a lot of challenges," said Sona Sharma, director for advocacy and communications at the Population Foundation of India.

"Getting proper nutritional food, clean drinking water and even basics such as medical care such as immunizations to help her survive the first few years will be challenging."

With the world's population more than doubling over the last half century, basics like food and water are under more strain than ever, say experts, and providing for an additional 2-3 billion people in the next 50 years is a serious worry.

Water usage is set to increase by 50 percent between 2007 and 2025 in developing nations, while food security remains a challenge with 925 million people going hungry.   Continued...

<p>Vinita Yadav, a 23-year-old Indian, holds her newborn baby girl Nargis, who was born at 7.20am, in a community health centre in Mall, on the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Lucknow, October 31, 2011. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar</p>