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Population density and cleanliness

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At 08:49 AM 3/1/01 -0800, venugopal <gvvs@nird.ap.nic.in> wrote:
>"Dr. Sanjeev Sabhlok" wrote:
>> Tell me also about Japan's and Germany's environment (their density is much
>> higher than India's). I hope you know that India is very low in population
>> density when you look across the world.

>No, I am sorry, Dr Sanjeev, it is not factually correct to say that India is
>"very low" in population density if one looks across the world. It is also
>incorrect to say that Japan's and Germany's population density is 'much
>than that of India. In reality, Japan's density at 332 is of course higher
>India's at 278 per square kilometre, which is not 'much higher' and
>Germany's is
>227, which is lower than ours!

Thanks, Venugopal. I stand partially corrected. We are certainly growing
big **and** dense in India! I did not check the latest figures while
commenting, but the overall point I made is valid nevertheless, as you
substantiate soon enough, that there are 23 countries (about 10% of the
total) with higher population density than India:

>As per 1994 figures published by Population Division of United Nations
>Secratariat, 222 number of  countries' population densities are listed out in
>descending order, of which India figures at serial number 24 from the top.
>Some of the countries having higher population density than India are
>Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangladesh, Taiwan,Netherlands, Japan and Belgium.

Just visited Hong Kong in December. Environment was quite clean, much
cleaner than Australia, for instance, and definitely cleaner than the USA.
Also in Singapore. Haven't visited Japan and Belgium or Taiwan yet, but I
hear they too have very clean environment. 

My point being made was simple which is not affected by this partial
correction of the facts I cited: there is close to zero correlation between
population density and environmental cleanliness. On the other hand, good
economic policy and cleanliness, relative political honesty and
cleanliness, are VERY strongly correlated. What are the key things to a
good environment policy then? Surprisingly, the same as needed to reduce
our population: good economic policy and good (honest and competent)
political leaders, who will allow the technical expertise and competence to
prevail over the interests of those who grease their palms.

My view is that we must always seek to identify key (significant) variables
in an explanatory equation. Thus, the coefficients of population size or
density will be found to be statistically insiginficant in explaining the
quality of environment (cleanliness, not greenhouse gases), in a country.
India being perhaps the dirtiest and filthiest country (I am certain of it,
though I know of no study to prove it) in the world with less population
density than Japan, for instance, simply proves this overall point. I hope
you agree. While other variables apart from those I mentioned may enter the
equation, definitely population density is not one of them.

Thanks for the correction of facts, though.

Sanjeev Sabhlok
President and Managing Associate
IndiaConsut Assotiates, Melbourne.

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