MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Countries around the world marked the world’s population reaching 7 billion Monday with lavish ceremonies for newborn infants symbolizing the milestone and warnings that there may be too many humans for the planet’s resources.
While demographers are unsure exactly when the world’s population will reach the 7 billion mark, the U.N. is using Monday to symbolically mark the day. A string of festivities are being held worldwide, with a series of symbolic 7-billionth babies being born.
The celebrations began in the Philippines, where baby Danica May Camacho was greeted with cheers and an explosion of photographers’ flashbulbs at Manila’s Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital. She arrived two minutes before midnight Sunday, but doctors say that was close enough to count for a Monday birthday.
The baby received a shower of gifts, from a chocolate cake marked “7B Philippines” to a gift certificate for shoes.
“She looks so lovely,” the mother, Camille Galura, whispered as she cradled the 2.5-kilo (5.5-pound) baby, who was born about a month premature.
The baby was the second for Galura and her partner, Florante Camacho, a struggling driver who supports the family on a tiny salary.
Dr. Eric Tayag of the Philippines’ Department of Health said later that the birth came with a warning.
“Seven billion is a number we should think about deeply,” he said.
“We should really focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life for every child,” he said. “If the answer is ‘no,’ it would be better for people to look at easing this population explosion.”