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Population and environment in Bangladesh

The paper challenges the simplistic concept of population as an aggregate of consuming units, putting stress increasingly on the natural resources leading to environmental degradation. It argues that the inter-relationship between population and environment is more complex and multi-dimensional. Human beings are not always consumers they are also producers and some time they are conservators of nature and environment. The quality and quantity of the population of a country have inevitable interaction with its natural resources and environment. On the other hand, environmental changes due to both anthropogenic and natural causes have vital effects on population structure and on social systems.

The paper considers both the impact of population on environment and the impact of the environment on population in rural and urban areas and in the context of climate change.

Its central conclusion is that poverty alleviation, the reduction in both population growth and environmental degredation are fundamentally interlinked. It offers the following policy recommendations:

  • Population control through effective family planning
  • Mobilization of human capital for poverty relief and reducing the population growth rate
  • Enhancing resource availability for the poor in order to meet thier basic needs and hence avoid survival strategies that degrade the environment
  • Encouraging participatory approaches to poverty relief and environmental protection through education and human development
  • Ensuring access of the poor to common property resources and supporting them with micro-credit
  • Developing a better understanding and incorporation of indigenous knowledge and practices
  • Involving the poor in eco-specific intervention
  • Use of information technology as an aid to awareness raising and population reduction

The paper advocates the harnessing of existing experience with a view to achieving greater understanding of the inter-relationships between population and environment through the formation of a Population – Environment Network.