The arrival of baby Nargis, the world's symbolic seven billionth person, was greeted with much merriment, fanfare and publicity. Whether we deserve to pat ourselves on the back on reaching this milestone is a matter of debate though. As the population bomb keeps ticking, there are umpteen challenges that stare us in the face. The problems of health care, housing, education, sanitation and environmental factors are foremost and need to be addressed seriously. Restricting the size of the family should be made a priority. Our overcrowded towns and cities deserve better infrastructure to tide over the population explosion. Scarce resources which are depleting at alarming levels need to be consumed judiciously. With humankind infringing on the seas, oceans, forests and mountains to make a home, the day is not far off when exploring the need to make a home on a remote planet could become a possibility.

N.J. Ravi Chander,

Bangalore

That the population has reached the seven billion mark is both a challenge and an opportunity. Globally, people are living longer, healthier lives and choosing to have smaller families. But reducing inequities and finding ways to ensure the well-being of people alive today and the generations that follow will require newer ways of thinking and global cooperation.

Ravi Kumar Mishra,

Thanjavur

The picture of a grand-old Parsi woman along with her great grand-daughter (Nov. 1) was in refreshing contrast to the gory pictures of terrorist attacks, train accidents and other unpleasant happenings. It was appropriate on the occasion of the world population reaching the seven-billion mark.

S.R.S. Ayyar,

Thiruvananthapuram

It is time for India and other populous countries to adopt a one-child policy or at least incentivise couples choosing the option. Long queues at railway stations, overcrowded coaches, buses, roads, hospitals, scarcity of seats in schools and colleges and unemployment speak of the worrying conditions. The need of the hour is to invest much more in infrastructure and adopt policies that can encourage people to limit the size of their families.

Ankur Goyal,

New Delhi

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