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Asia's Emerging Environmental Problems and Some Possible Thoughts on Developing Solutions

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  08,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15058) @2003
Authors:   Ramesh Kanwar

Recent trends in global population growth rates show that growth rates have been declining recently but by 2050 the planet could have more than 9 billion people. Increased population rates have added more than 2.3 billion on earth between 1970 and 2000. If we look at the global picture on availability of water supplies and capacity of land to produce food, we see a frightening outlook. The impact of increased population on the environment will be severe. While as much as 95 percent of the world population growth is projected in the developing countries where, by the year 2050, 87 percent of the world population is expected to live in the developing countries and most of this increase will be in Asia. More than 21% of world population lives in South Asia. India and China together have more than 36% of the world population to feed This will add enormous stress on the available soil, water, energy resources for domestic, industrial, and agricultural use. Although world food grain production has increased significantly but much of improvement in increasing grain production has occurred in Asia (particularly India and Pakistan) as a result of green revolution and the availability of increased water use for irrigation. In spite of these grains, 830million people remain under nourished - 45% in India and China alone. Although average food production has kept pace with the increased population but environmental quality has deteriorated steadily because of intensification of agriculture and lack of investment on sanitation and to maintain potable water for drinking. One of the most important questions facing today society is, how to produce enough food to feed the increasing human population in the world. Another parallel question facing the society is, how much water would be needed to produce enough food to feed the increasing population. Answers to these questions are not easy.

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