Is Overpopulation a Real Problem

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Introduction

Overpopulation refers to a situation in which the number of human beings in the world exceeds the Earth’s carrying capacity. It has been estimated that Earth’s carrying capacity is between four and sixteen billion people. Presently, the total world population is more than seven billion people. This shows that the population of the world is growing at a disquieting rate. Oil prices, malnutrition, starvation and unemployment levels have increased in numerous countries. These may be indicators that overpopulation is a real problem. In this paper the idea that overpopulation is a serious problem in the world will be supported. Three arguments to support the belief will be provided. Finally, I will provide two solutions to the overpopulation problem. 

Arguments

It has been established that the increase of the population density affects the economies of countries negatively. Increased population put strain on available resources. Moreover, overpopulated countries cannot produce enough food to feed their population and they cannot sell the surplus (Stancheva n. pag.). Thus, such countries have low Gross Domestic Products (GDP) per capita. Furthermore, countries that are overpopulated normally depend on foreign debt to feed their residents. However, reliance on foreign debt complicates the predicament of these countries. It adds more strain on the governments of overpopulated countries that already have inadequate resources. Unemployment is also a problem that accompanies overpopulation. Overpopulated countries cannot create enough employment opportunities to match the rate of population growth. These arguments show that overpopulation is a real problem for countries.

Secondly, overpopulation has many negative impacts on the environment. Increase in population results in a decrease in farmland, forests and vegetation cover (Stancheva n. pag.). Moreover, overpopulation increases the quantity of wastes and pollutants that find their way into animal habitats and water systems. These pollutants kill wildlife and pollute water. Additionally, they can cause an increase in the spread of diseases like diarrheas. Overpopulation also makes man to clear land to create space. Notably, overpopulation results into development of urban areas. On the other hand, urban areas are associated with rapid depletion of earth’s resources. In Nigeria alone, approximately 351,000 hectares of arable land is cleared each year to create space for urban development. Nigeria is one of the highly populated countries in the world. All these activities take place due to overpopulation. They result in environmental degradation and this is a real problem faced by the world due to overpopulation. In fact, researchers from the State University of New York (SUNY) recognized that overpopulation is the key environmental problem in the world.

Complications in governance and politics are also challenges brought about by overpopulation. Many governments find difficulties in governing overpopulated countries. Furthermore, it is obvious that many overpopulated countries face challenges like civil wars, bad economic conditions and low quality of life. These challenges make the governance of overpopulated countries problematic. This happens because it is difficult to plan and implement development policies successfully. In addition, increase in foreign debt also complicates governance of overpopulated countries. Note that overpopulation is one of the reasons for increase in foreign debt. Thus, overpopulation is a real problem.

Nonetheless, there are arguments that oppose the notion that overpopulation is a real problem. The proponents of the idea that overpopulation is not a real problem argue that the aforementioned claims are misleading. First, they note that the current world food production is higher than at any point in the past. Moreover, the percentage of people who face starvation has reduced considerably (Kissell n. pag.). In 1970, 35 percent of the world’s population faced starvation. However, in 1990, only 19 percent of the world’s population faced starvation yet the population had increased considerably. By 2010, only 13.6 percent of the world’s population faced starvation (Kissell n. pag.). Moreover, the proponents note that the development of agricultural technologies ensures the adequate food production. They note that carrying capacity is the ability of the Earth to sustain the population supported by the present technology. Nonetheless, overpopulation is a challenge in the world and effective strategies have to be developed to solve the problem.

Solutions to Overpopulation

Increased access to basic education is one strategy that solves the problem of overpopulation. It has been identified that the sections of the population that does not have access to basic education are the contributors to the overpopulation problem (Kulkarni n. pag.). Lack of education or inadequate education makes people believe in theorems which result in an increase in population. Provision of education to the poor can be instrumental in population control as it can make them recognize the dangers presented by overpopulation. The adoption of family planning strategies is the other mechanism that solves the overpopulation problem (Kulkarni n. pag.). Promotion of family planning can assist countries control their population sizes. Family planning programs can be enhanced with sex education to help reduce the rate of population growth. This strategy can help in the elimination of the problems presented by overpopulation.

Conclusion

Overpopulation refers to a situation in which the number of human beings in the world exceeds the Earth’s carrying capacity. It is associated with many problems thus it is essential to control world population. The goal of this paper was to show that overpopulation is a real problem. Three arguments to support the notion that overpopulation is a problem were presented, namely, it affects economies, the environment and it complicates governance. However, some people argue that overpopulation is not a real problem. Nonetheless, this paper supports the belief that it is a problem and can be solved through increased accessibility to basic education and family planning.  

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