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POPULATION GROWTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN PAKISTAN: A CAUSALITY ANALYSIS

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Author(s): Irfan Ullah | Mahmood Shah

Journal: Economics of Development
ISSN 1683-1942

Volume: 67;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: population growth | environmental degradation | Granger causality

ABSTRACT
Environmental degradation along with population growth has remained a vital issue both in developed and transition economies; although environment is degraded through different factors but population growth is the most prominent. Malthus and Neo-Malthusian pointed out that repaid population growth will exert pressure on available land resources and enlarge demand scarcity for food items. Population growth may harm environmental resources and lead to environmental degradation through pressure on land, soil degradation, deforestation, habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity, change the consumption pattern, solid and hazardous waste, water scarcity and water pollution, global warming, climate change and air pollution etc. High population growth hinders economic growth via high health related expenditures and high production cost. Pakistan is also facing poor environment condition and components of environmental degradation reflecting the state of land, air and water resources. Land degradation in Pakistan mainly emerged from deforestation and desertification, loss of fertility, salinity and soil erosion. The condition of air is also worsening, air quality data obtained for five capital cities confirmed presence of high concentration of suspended particulate and similarly both surface and ground water is continuously degrading.This paper is designed to investigate causality relationship between population growth and environmental degradation. The authors adopted causality test suggested by Engel and Granger in 1969. The empirical findings assume that population growth integrally degrades environment and subcomponents viz land, air and water resources. The unidirectional causality from population growth to environmental degradation implies that population growth is the main factor responsible for environmental degradation in case of Pakistan.Since population growth is the main factor responsible for environ­mental degradation, therefore first of all government should take serious meausures for controlling the high birth rates followed by environmental protection plan in order to ensure clean air, clean water, solid waste mana­gement. Various steps can be made to this reference; government should give incentives to use friendly environment fuel, and introduce industrial waste taxes in order to minimize the industrial wastes into surface water and take steps for the betterment of sewerage system both in urban and rural areas. Various incentives should be used at public and private levels in order to minimize the land degradation components, namely deforestation and desertification, sodicity and salinity, water logging, negative nutrient balances, soil erosion, and depletion of solid fertility. Environmental degradation affects most of micro- and macroeconomic variables notably economic growth; however, this exercise is left for future research.

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