Friday, September 6, 2019

Population Change And Resource Cousumption Essay Example for Free

Population Change And Resource Cousumption Essay Introduction The Islands of the Caribbean has for centuries been enticing to travelers and a major tourist destination. The islands are very famous and popular for their stretches of beaches with soft sand and the easy life that the island offers. The islands are located at the south east region of North America towards the Eastern side of Central America. The Caribbean consists of over 7, 000 islands. The islands are a chain that is 2, 500 miles long and over 160 miles wide. These islands have enclosed the Caribbean Sea. The islands support a very exceptional diversity of ecosystem. These however have been endangered by water pollution, human encroachment as well as deforestation, McGranahan, G., S. Lewin, (1999). The map below shows the islands of the Caribbean. The Caribbean Population change The population in the Caribbean has been growing tremendously. It is approximated that the population has increased by 85% for the years between 1970 and 2001.This is approximately an increase from 285 million people to around 528million people. Over this same period, the annual population growth rate has fallen from 2.5% to 1.5%. This is largely attributed to urbanization, factors to do with social development and improved programs of birth control, Leakey, Richard and Roger Lewin, (1996). The majority of the population in the Caribbean is more concentrated along the coastline where the land terrain is gently sloping. Consequently the high population, along the Caribbean coastline can result to high pollution of the water supply by the facilities for sanitation which more often than not will be located close to the water sources. The figure below shows the population size in the Caribbean islands by country. Pos Country Population 1 Â  Cuba 11,382,820 2 Â  Dominican Republic 9,183,984 3 Â  Haiti 8,528,000 Â  Puerto Rico (United States) 3,955,000 4 Â  Jamaica 2,651,000 5 Â  Trinidad and Tobago 1,305,000 Guadeloupe (France) 448,000 Martinique (France) 396,000 6 Â  Bahamas 323,000 7 Â  Barbados 279,000 Â  Netherlands Antilles (Netherlands) 183,000 8 Â  Saint Lucia 161,000 9 Â  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 119,000 Â  United States Virgin Islands (United States) 112,000 10 Â  Grenada 103,000 Â  Aruba (Netherlands) 99,000 11 Â  Antigua and Barbuda 81,000 12 Â  Dominica 79,000 Â  Cayman Islands (United Kingdom) 48,000 Â  Bermuda (United Kingdom) 64,000 13 Â  Saint Kitts and Nevis 43,000 Â  Turks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom) 26,000 Â  British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom) 22,000 Â  Anguilla (United Kingdom) 12,000 Â  Montserrat (United Kingdom) 4,000 Source UNEP, (2000): Access to water in the Caribbean Water access in the Caribbean is insufficient. This is more so in the rural areas and among the poor population. By the year 2004, it was approximated that at least 9% of the Caribbean population or 50m million people had inadequate access to the supply of water, Shiklomanov, (2000). In addition it was also approximated that 132 million people translating to 23% of the population had inadequate access to sanitation. The accessibility of water supply still remains unpredictable to date considering the financial constraints of the local and central government in the Caribbean and the inadequate finances in the service providers sector. The Caribbean islands have over the years greatly caused water pollution due to poor sanitation. Â  For instance, in the Caribbean, only an approximate 50% of the population can be able to access the sewer system. This is quite alarming; with emphasis on the fact that even the existing sewer systems are not at most instances functioning properly.26 percent of the Caribbean population uses other different sanitation forms like septic tanks and variety of latrine types. The lack of fresh water in the Caribbean can be attributed to the problems of inadequate resources in the forms of finance and human capital. However, demographic and physical factors also contribute in that; there is a shortage of a base for natural resources and limitation of surface areas, Hopfenberg, Russell and Pimentel, David, (2001). For instance, there is limited space for fresh water, arable land, and convectional sources of energy and mineral resources. The Caribbean is also vulnerable to natural disasters, which compromise the availability of the water recourses within the islands. Types of Caribbean water use In the Caribbean, water is used both for domestic purposes and economic use. The water is used especially in the farming of bananas and cotton among other crops. The use of water per capita in the Caribbean varies from one country to another. It is also different in the various urban areas, rural areas. It also varies depending on the numbers of people with public taps, house connection or even where there lacks an improved water source. It is estimated that in average the water use in the urban areas is approximately 240liters per capita every day. This level of water use is as high as the water use in the United States. It is also two times higher than water use in Central Chile. The Quality of Water The quality of water in the Caribbean is poor even to those people that can access it. This is clearly indicated by the intermittent water supply within the countries in the Caribbean. There is also very low pressure of the water and in fact, the drinking water is of low quality. M. Wackernagel, M., Manfreda C., and Deumling D., (2002). However, there is some difference on water qualities some of the countries and cities, some of the cities and countries have good quality water and a consistent supply and are on par with the water quality and supply in the developed countries. Inspire of the high amounts of rainfall received in the Caribbean islands, the availability of fresh water is quite a big problem. The island commonly goes through severe shortages of fresh water. This is especially so because of the limited storage capacity for storing water to be used during the dry periods. Â  It is not possible to construct large water reservoirs since the land resource is scarce. More over, the heavy down pours accompanied by very steep topography, soil that is easily eroded, river channels that are short, all can contribute to heavy siltation of the water reservoirs reducing the capacity of water storage even further. In the Caribbean, people often depend on ground water though only limited quantities of this important resource is available. The fact that the islands in the Caribbean are surrounded by salty water makes fresh water unavailable even from underground sources. Water problems and the potential solutions in the Caribbean The lack of access to quality safe water The problem of water safety in the Caribbean can be solved. This can be done through the desalination of the sea water that surrounds the island so that there is a constant supply of quality and fresh water. However, this would call for the use of high technology which is very costly and expensive. The technology may not be available in the Caribbean but it would be a good solution to the water shortage in this area. In the recent past however, the Caribbean has improved in terms of water access, for instance it is estimated that water access has increased from 33% of the people in the year 1970 to an approximate 85% in the year 2000.This then implies that almost seventy seven million people are still lacking the supply of water in their houses. Lack of Access to Sanitation Sanitation is very important to any healthy population; a proper sanitation system should be put in place to ensure that the waste from the Caribbean island is disposed appropriately. Since most of the people live along the coastline, the sewer systems should be located away from these areas to prevent or even stop polluting the surrounding water sources, Kurlansky, M. (1992). Â  For example, a large portion of the population uses septic tanks and latrines, the rest of the people do not have safe access to sanitation. Some of the people in the Caribbean use underground water resources and this can be contaminated by poor sanitation facilities. Failure to treat sanitation waste In the Caribbean, only the sewage and waste of at least 14% of the homes gets treatment from the local plants. The rest of the waste finds its way down to rivers, oceans, lakes and the aquifers at located underground. This is a health hazard and risks the aquatic life within the region. It has the potential to damage the ecological system. To curb this problem, all the sewage and related waste should be treated with the available sanitary plants. More of such facilities should be put up to immediately stop the waste from draining to the water bodies. This way the available water sources will be clean and free of contamination. Service provision The authority of provision of sanitation and clean water rests in the hands of either the national or regional companies or the municipalities. Consequently, the municipalities that are larger have established municipal or even inter-municipal utilities for the public use, Ron N., (2006). The finances from these utilities are kept separately from the larger finances of the cities. This has caused misunderstandings and mismanagement of the public facilities. The system should be streamlined so that there is no confusion in the provision of the utilities and that efficiency and effectiveness is maintained. It should be cleared up on the roles and responsibilities of the various authorities that mange and regulate these essential utilities. Ground water Lack of water reservoirs in the Caribbean call for the use of under ground water sources. These sources do not have enough water supply but they help to put the water problems at manageable levels. However, the ground water is threatened by pollution and over exploitation, Kurlansky, M. (1992). The available aquifers have been over used or polluted by the agricultural activities and mining. The under ground water sources should be taken care of and at all cost not be polluted. The aquifers are of utmost importance in the Caribbean and the government and other non-governmental organizations should come to the aid of these resources. Population control The population in the Caribbean is over concentrated within the costal areas. The resources within this coastal region are over stretched and very vulnerable to pollution and over use. Â  Efforts should be done to see that the population is evenly distributed or that the facilities and especially sanitation in the over populated areas increased. By over stretching the facilities to beyond the possible limits, the Caribbean is putting the future of its population’s health at a risk, Rogozinski, J (1999). Conclusion The Caribbean is a fascinating series of island with a lot of economic activities especially tourism. The islands however are faced with a population problem and the scarcity of quality and clean water sources. Most of the available sources like the underground aquifers are over used or even polluted. The sanitation facilities within this region are very wanting and a lot has to be done to keep water problems at a distance in these very attractive islands, Shiklomanov, (2000). Â  References Rogozinski, J (1999): A Brief History of the Caribbean, New York Kurlansky, M. (1992): A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny, Addison-Wesley Publishing Ron N., (2006): The Little Green Handbook: Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Our Planet, Picador, New York Wackernagel, M., Manfreda C., and Deumling D., (2002): Ecological Footprint of Nations Hopfenberg, Russell and Pimentel, David, (2001): Human Population Numbers as a Function of Water Supply, Environment, Development and Sustainability Shiklomanov, (2000): Appraisal and Assessment of World Water Resources, Water International UNEP, (2000): Global Environmental Outlook, Earth scan Publications, London, UK Leakey, Richard and Roger Lewin, (1996): The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind, Anchor, McGranahan, G., S. Lewin, (1999): Environmental Change and Human Health in the Caribbean, Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.