In pictures: Population explosion
We are seven billion today. Never before have so many people lived in one place. And never before has there been so much pressure on our air, our water, our natural resources, our food supply. Today's population of seven billion will rise to at least 10 billion by 2100, but could top 15 billion if birth rates are just slightly higher than expected, the United Nations Population Fund says. Every year, about 80 million people join the world's population. But how can we sustain so many people when every 15 seconds a person dies from drinking unsafe water or unsanitary conditions. In Western Europe, Japan and Russia, today's birth of the seven billionth person will be an ironic milestone amid worries about low birth rates and ageing populations. In China and India, the two most populous nations, it's an occasion to reassess policies that have already slowed once rapid growth. For governments, it's a time to assess whether they have policies in place to improve the environment, protect natural resources and ensure jobs and a share of prosperity for all.