Freshwater Supplies and Pollution

  • Keynote Paper


I had seriously thought of beginning this global account of freshwater supplies and pollution with a porcine analogue to the human population explosion. Projection of the latest fifteen-year period for which figures are available, indicating a pig population doubling-time of about twenty years up to 1967–68, suggests that the global balance in numbers between pigs and men will shift in favour of pigs by the year 2060 (cf. United Nations, 1970). Each pig being more or less equivalent to two humans in terms of food consumption and physiological waste production, a still more meaningful shift in these terms will take place approximately one pig doubling-time earlier, namely about the year 2040. These facts prepare the ground for a question posed at the end of this paper—namely, are we really solving our problems today? They also help to establish a proposition pertaining to human populations that, for some reason or other, seems acceptable only when applied to some animal other than man, namely: that the world population explosion of pigs will persist on its seemingly inevitable course only as long as humans want to have more and more pigs around them. In a like manner, the world population explosion of humans will persist on its seemingly inevitable course only as long as humans want to have more and more humans around.


Chemical Oxygen Demand Freshwater Supply Great Lake Basin Population Problem Meaningful Shift 
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© Nicholas Polunin 1972

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