What overpopulation can do

SPYBITS - The Philippine Star

There’s no question the most overpopulated country in the world today is China with over 1.3 billion people. Its phenomenal economic growth has created an upsurge in consumption and increased demand for energy – resulting in the construction of coal-fired power plants to provide electricity for homes and thousands of factories built in many cities. Experts say China consumes half of the world’s supply of coal and tops the list of nations in terms of carbon dioxide emissions – exacerbating the problem of pollution coupled with environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources.

A few days ago, China’s environment minister declared the Ministry of Environmental Protection as one of the world’s “most embarrassing” departments, citing a study showing life expectancy for the Chinese going lower by five-and-a-half years due to severe pollution. Last March, thousands of ducks and pigs were found floating in a Shanghai river – a major water source for the 23 million residents of the city. Apparently, the animals died of some kind of poisoning and the owners just dumped them in the river to save on burial expenses.

Two weeks ago, thousands of dead fish were also found floating in a river in Guangxi due to the discharge of toxic chemicals like cadmium and thallium from factories. Several environmental inspectors were also meted jail terms for accepting bribes and failing to enforce environmental laws. The depletion of China’s water and other resources is probably the reason why the Chinese are homing in on other areas other than their own, several observers noted. 

The air quality is also getting worse, with residents in many cities including Beijing advised again last month to stay indoors because air pollution levels were 20 times higher than normal. A 2012 environmental report says a third of China’s rivers are seriously polluted, and that only 27 out of 113 major cities have acceptable air quality standards. China is now planning to impose new limits on the purchase of new cars in eight more cities to control traffic congestion and lessen air pollution levels, with restrictions already imposed in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Guiyang.

Experts agree that overpopulation is a major contributor to China’s pollution problem, with the newfound economic growth and wealth increasing energy demand and consumption that seriously impact China’s environment and ecosystems, aggravated by the influx of the 600 million “emerging working class” population to the cities in search of jobs.

In the Philippines, one of the biggest arguments provided by pro-Reproductive Health bill proponents is the impact of overpopulation on the environment, with millions of squatter families in Metro Manila alone aggravating the problem of pollution especially on water resources, exacerbated by flooding due to the indiscriminate dumping of garbage (including human waste) along waterways that also cause all kinds of waterborne diseases.

Several years ago, a World Bank study said P47 billion in tourism revenue is lost due to water pollution and poor sanitation; P17 billion in lost fishing catch and P3 billion in unnecessary health costs – not to mention lost business productivity due to population-related illnesses. A 2012 WB report places the economic losses due to water pollution at P67 billion per year. Meantime, the RH bill continues to be debated before the Supreme Court. Are we going to discuss the issue to death and wait until we are all dying due to overpopulation, poverty and pollution like what is happening in China today?

Ambassador Thomas doing the rounds

Outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas has been doing the rounds in his last few weeks in the country to bid farewell to several businessmen, assuring them of America’s continued assistance in raising the profile of the Philippines as a viable investment destination among Americans. He recently had breakfast with PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan and was at a power lunch with business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and sportsman-magnate Jorge “Nene” Araneta (seen in photo).

The “farewell rounds” of Ambassador Thomas also served as a briefing for top businessmen regarding America’s continuing commitment to promote stability in the region with the continued presence of the US especially in the Philippines. 

De Lima receives international recognition

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) director general Lilia de Lima recently received the Robert G. Storey International Award for Leadership by the Academy of American and International Law (AAIL) during the group’s golden anniversary and worldwide reunion in Dallas, Texas. Founded by Dean Robert Storey who is also the first president of the Center for American and International Law (CAILAW), the award is presented to past AAIL participants who exhibit leadership and integrity, have made significant contributions to the international legal community and displayed commitment to justice and the rule of law.

Under the leadership of De Lima (in photo with CAILAW president Michael Marchand), PEZA has attracted billions of dollars in investments, generated at least five million jobs and accounts for over 86 percent of total exports from PEZA ecozones.


Email: [email protected].

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