While we see the mother earth suffering and started kicking us back, we have been torturing her more and more. Overpopulation is one among the major reasons for exploiting earth and nature. Let us see what overpopulation is, what are the causes and effects of overpopulation and also methods to control overpopulation.
Overpopulation: an overview
Homo sapiens commonly known as human beings have evolved 130,000 years ago. Initially the growth was very slow, the life expectancy was low and death rate was high because of diseases, climate change, lack of proper sanitation, illiteracy, poverty and lack of vaccination. But by early 1800’s there has a steady and quick growth of population. This was because of the improvements in the health, growth of science, awareness of hygiene among the people, discovery of vaccines, literacy, proper waste removal and effective nutrition. All these increased the life expectancy reducing the death rates. Now the human population is growing at a rate of 78 million people per year i.e 7 billion people exist now. As per the experts the population will touch 15 billion by 2100.
“Humans are 10,000 times more than common than we should be.” Over population is one of the gravest issues affecting mankind. Overpopulation can be defined as a situation where in which the number of humans existing exceeds the normal carrying capacity of the earth. It is not just population density but a crisis in which more number of people are present to use the resources which are scarce. Over population is the major reason for other environmental issues like global warming, pollution, resource scarcity, deforestation and soil erosion.
CAUSES FOR OVER POPULATION
- Decline in death rates : Decline in the death rate is one of the major reasons for over population. This is mainly due to advances made in science and technology. People have longer and healthier life span through proper vaccinations and medications.
- Lack of family planning : A large number of people in the developing countries though literate, lack proper awareness in family planning. Lack of proper education, cultural and religious pressure and lack of awareness about contraceptives are the major reasons behind weak family planning. In most of the remote villages, child marriages are common which leads to disproportionate child births.
- Advanced fertility treatments : The first IVF treatments were done on rabbits in the year 1934. By 1940 these IVF treatments were conducted in humans also. IVF is fertilization of an embryo outside the human body. After a lot of opposition from the public the first IVF baby was born in 1978. This was a major turning point in the history of mankind. Millions of couples were benefitted by IVF which lead to the increase in population.
- High literacy rates : Awareness among the people was increasing due to the high literacy rates. Most of the people in the modern era started following a healthy lifestyle through balanced diet and proper nutrition. This increased the life span of the people creating healthier generations.
- Immigration : A large number of people prefer to stay in developed countries considering the overall benefits, education, salary, medical and employment opportunities. So certain area gets crowded and the resources start getting scanty. Here there is not much change in population but the density of population changes.
- Agricultural advancements : Agricultural revolution, industrial revolution and tool making revolutions made a lot of advancement in the field of agriculture. This lead to the drastic increase in food production which finally ended up in over population.
- High birth rates : Due to the advanced medical facilities the birth rates are high. If the number of birth was equal to the number of deaths then the population would be under control. But on the contrary, birth rates have increased and death rates have decreased. This has caused an imbalance in population.
EFFECTS OF OVER POPULATION
- Water pollution and scarcity : More than 80% of the industrial waste and urban sewage is dumped in to nearby lakes. This causes the water resources to get contaminated and get polluted. On the other hand increase in demand of water due to over population will lead to scarcity of water.
- Deforestation : More number of forests is being cut down completely for commercial and industrial purposes. This can eventually lead to global warming.
- Rise in unemployment : An overpopulated country gives rise to unemployment. This means that the employment opportunities are disproportionate to the jobs available.
- Soil erosion : Loosening of soil is caused due to overgrazing of cattle, cutting down trees for building houses and roadways. This loosening of soil leads to soil erosion.
- Threat to wildlife : Over hunting has already caused threat to the wildlife. Some of the animals have already become in the list of endangered species. This is because the availability of food is in no way to a match to the population. Increase in the demand of food due to overpopulation has negatively affected the wildlife.
- Noise and light pollution : More and more use of automobiles and abundant use of lights lead to noise and light pollution. The gases emitted by these can also react with the ozone layer causing its depletion.
- Rise in the cost of living : There is a huge difference between the demand and supply due to overpopulation. The supply of various commodities is becoming scarce so people have to pay more for its purchase. The increases the cost of living.
- Air pollution : Now a day’s more number of people has started using cars. The traffic in the roads during working hours has almost come to a standstill. So the emissions from these cars contribute a lot to air pollution. Due to the rise in the number of industries, the chemical released through the air ducts have increased. This is another major reason for noise pollution.
METHODS TO CONTROL OVERPOPULATION
- Imparting proper knowledge to the people regarding the side effects of overpopulation should be organized regularly. People should be aware of the increase in population and decrease in resources.
- Proper sex education should be given to children from school. All people should be aware and have good knowledge about contraceptives and other alternatives. People should be aware of family planning also.
- The government should emphasize on a general principle “We one, ours one”. Proper incentives should be given to people to follow this motto. This can control population to an extent.
To conclude, overpopulation can prove to be harmful to human resource. It can also lead to other major environmental issue like global warming and ozone layer depletion which will wipe out humans completely from earth. As the saying goes “Its better late than never” i.e if we start working collectively towards reducing the population now, the future generations will be benefited thus saving the mother earth.