Population is growing, maybe, if the figures are accurate
The Island's population is still growing year-on-year, according to the Department of Statistics.
Despite reports of an exodus of foreign workers in recent years, the fourth annual Environmental Statistics Compendium released this week states that the population of Bermuda increased in 2011 and 2012.
However the report also notes that all of its population figures except for 2010 — the one year it states the population fell — were based on population projections from 2000.
“Bermuda's population has continued to grow over time,” the report states. “This is attributed in part to natural increase, that is, when the number of births exceeds the number of deaths.”
Charts within the report state that Bermuda's population fell from 64,395 to 64,237 between 2009 and 2010, but the Island experienced consecutive years of population growth, jumping to 64,722 in 2011 and 64,867 in 2012.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Statistics was contacted about the accuracy of the figures, but had not issued a response as of press time last night.
Stuart Hayward, chairman of the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) said the growing population shown in the report demonstrates the importance of forward planning for the Island.
“We hope Bermudians appreciate that our population is still rising — yearly births are greater than deaths,” he said. “Even though we may be in a period when there is considerable out-migration of foreigners and locals, the number of people entitled to live in Bermuda is increasing.
“Also, while the rate of population growth may be slowing, growth is still occurring and should be factored in to social, economic and environmental decisions and policies.”
The 98-page compendium also includes the results of a study on Bermuda's air quality, which was tested at five separate monitoring sites across the Island between 2010 and 2012.
The survey found that East Broadway in Pembroke regularly reported levels of airborne particles above those recommended by the Clean Air Regulations 1993.
However the report notes: “Exceedances of PM10 (particular matter with a diameter of less than ten micrometers) can arise from natural sources (pollen, sea aerosols, dust) as well as from combustion of petroleum and other combustibles.
“The busy road at East Broadway fails the Clean Air Regulations limit for PM10 more often than other sites. The fact that the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) also exceeds PM10 highlights the potential natural sources that can contribute to PM10.”
The compendium also states that the value of fuel imported to the Island increased from $85.6 million to $96.6 million between 2011 and 2012 after two consecutive years of decline, while the number of vehicles on the Island's roads fell from 48,581 to 47,367 during the same period.
Mr Hayward said it was nice to have such a collection of information in a single document, but he had some minor issues with the data as presented.
“The compendium attributes the level of respiratory diseases to Bermuda being subtropical with high humidity,” he said. “Such an attribution would seem to discount the effect of airborne pollutants from vehicles and other local combustion processes. We would like to see more of the evidence that supports this thesis.
“And presenting data on fuel use by value (price) is far less helpful than by quantity. The cost of fuel consumed could rise even though the amount of fuel consumed was reduced.”
The Environment Statistics Compendium, released by the Department of Statistics this week, contains a wide variety of figures about the Island.
Here are a few of the statistics included in the overview:
* The number of Government private (GP) vehicles rose from 105 to 176 between 2008 and 2010, but subsequently fell to 165 in 2012.
* A total of 463.3 metric tons of fish were caught and recorded in Bermuda’s waters in 2012. Tuna and pelagic species were by far the most popular catch, representing 187.89 metric tons. The year’s catch was the result of a total of 356 registered fishermen in Bermuda spending a combined 85,729 hours at sea.
* 82,000 tons of waste was collected in 2012, 27,000 tons of which was household waste. Of the waste collected, 1,600 tons was recycled, 15,000 tons of horticultural waste was composted, 55,400 tons of waste was incinerated to generate electricity and another 10,000 tons of waste was land-filled.
* 71.72 percent of tourists in 2012 chose accommodations at one of Bermuda’s larger hotels with 27.62 percent staying in other types of accommodations. Only 0.66 percent stayed at a guest house.
* There were 5,947 reported cases of environmentally-related diseases in Bermuda in 2012, 5,091 (85.71 percent) of which were respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. More unusual ailments included three cases malaria and dengue fever in the last three years, all of which were contracted overseas.
* $716,493 of fertiliser was imported to Bermuda in 2012, a decline of 13.05 percent from the previous year. During the same period the total cost of pesticide imported to the Island rose by 21 percent to $1,818,202.