4 Effects of Overpopulation and Their Possible Solutions
Today, we suffer from a “population explosion.” This means that the world’s population has been booming rapidly, rising to unwanted numbers. Looking back at history, the world’s population in 3,000 BC was an estimated 200 million, but now the world’s population has gone up to 7 billion. As we reach an environmental tipping point, we must find solutions for this rapid growth.
Possible Effects of Overpopulation
- Food Shortage
- Increase in Malignant Diseases
- Higher Prices
- Higher Levels of Pollution
Due to the abrupt population explosion, numerous problems have evolved. These environmental problems have been growing at an alarming rate. While new technologies have increased many people's standard of living, this overpopulation also deprives other people of a decent standard of living. We must also ask ourselves, "Is this increase sustainable?" There are many environmental factors that contribute to overpopulation. Below is a detailed analysis of the four possible effects of overpopulation as seen above.
1. Overpopulation Could Lead to a Food Shortage
While the population has been rising as a result of increased food production, this production has limits. More mouths need to be fed. Without an increase in food production that matches the rising population, deprivation and hunger will be on the rise and each individual will have access to smaller quantities of food. This could cause war and the collapse of many developing nations.
What Does a Lack of Food Production Lead to?
- Starvation: Due to a shortage of food, more people will be hungry, especially those who are unfortunate in life.
- Possible war: Starvation could lead to corruption and potential violence due to rising tensions caused by the need to survive.
- Feeding programs: Most of the people who suffer from hunger are those who can’t afford their basic amenities. The government and other private sectors have been taking precautionary measures to slow this depreciation of resources.
- Charity works: Aside from feeding programs, some kindhearted people and organizations are making movements to help the lives of impoverished people. However, charity without education is not a long term solution.
- Government support: helping farmers with irrigation and production of crops and livestock will increase food production. This could terminate food shortage, but will likely cause more environmental damage to the atmosphere.
Countries Struggling With Overpopulation
2. A Population Boom Could Lead To More Malignant Diseases
Having a big population can lead to new viral diseases because the unhygienic practices of mankind will have ripple effects. Due to rapid population growth, disease-carrying organisms can diffuse and spread faster in overpopulated areas. Some of these are viral.
Diseases That May Spread Due to Overpopulation
- Cholera: Cholera is an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine. Cholera is typically contracted from infected water supplies and causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.
- H-fever: Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are a diverse group of animal and human illnesses in which fever and hemorrhage are caused by a viral infection.
- Typhoid fever: Typhoid fever is a serious disease that spreads due to contaminated food and water. Symptoms of typhoid include lasting high fevers, weakness, stomach pains, headache, and loss of appetite.
- The Flu: Influenza, commonly known as the "flu," is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza A or B viruses. The flu frequently appears in winter and early spring. The flu attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. It was one of the biggest killers on the planet. It could be again.
- Ebola: Ebola virus disease (EVD), also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) or simply Ebola, is a viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and other primates.
- Government programs: A country's DOH (Department of Health) is one of the main departments responsible for health-related issues in a country. They have various programs and movements in order to prevent widespread disease. Countries need to work together to create unilateral health and environmental standards.
- Proper hygiene: One of the simplest ways to avoid disease causing organisms is to be clean and hygienic at all times. Washing your hands before eating, taking a bath every day, and eating nutritious food are some of the few ways to prevent disease causing bacteria and viruses. These practices will boost your immune system and help you avoid unexpected ailments. That said, our planet only has so much water and we must use it responsibly.
3. Overpopulation Could Lead to Higher Prices
As the availability of medicine, food, and daily necessities fluctuates due to population growth and migration, poor families may not be able to afford these comforts. This would cause them to be more vulnerable. In order to solve this problem of increased demand, plenty of industries and businesses have been built. However, because of this move, another problem has evolved: pollution.
Effects of High Prices
- Famine: Causes high prices for food. Because of this, poor people are deprived starve.
- Deprived standard of living: Due to the high prices of commodities, a person's lifespan could decrease.
- Increase employment rate: Increasing the rate of employment and, at the same time, increasing employees' salaries will lead to an elevation of the standard of living for poor families.
- Eliminate hoarding and unscrupulous businessmen: some problems are caused by man's manipulative strategies. Some establishments are dishonest and sell overpriced products. Often times, they hoard products when their demand is high and their supply is also high. Later, they sell the products when the supply is low and the demand is high.
Population of Major Countries by 2050
4. Overpopulation Could Lead to Higher Levels of Pollution
Pollution's Definition: Pollution is the addition of particulate matters (substances) to the air, water and soil, which yield harm to man’s health and cause harmful effects to other life forms.
Because of overpopulation, more waste is generated each day. Below are some of the causes of these different types of pollution:
What Kinds of Waste Will Be Dangerous in the Future?
- Improper dumping: Dumping of sewage and garbage in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water can cause water pollution. This harms aquatic life. Some of this pollution is caused by oil spills and toxic materials leading to biological magnification”(the increase in the concentration of harmful substances to toxic levels as it moves higher in the food chain).
- Non-biodegradable products: Industries manufacture products which are non-biodegradable. These products last for years, or even a lifetime. These products include: detergents, plastics and other synthetic products.
- Vehicles/industrial emission: These release chemicals into the air, which eventually cause air pollution. Air pollution is widely caused by vehicular emissions, which might cause respiratory problems. Industry is one of the major causes of carbon dioxide emissions, which leads to climate change.
- Proper waste disposal: Obviously, we must dispose of garbage properly. This will reduce air, water, and soil pollution.
- Use biodiesel and eco-friendly gasoline: We cannot stop the emission of chemicals into the air; however, we can lessen it. By using renewable energy sources, we can lessened the emission of carbon dioxide and other chemicals into the air. For example, using biodiesel can lessen the smoke belching from vehicles.
What Factors Decrease the Size of the Human Population?
- Natural disasters (Floods, Earthquakes, Volcanic eruption etc.)
We should not wait for, or allow for, these things to happen. We can do something to help control population growth without these horrors. We must pressure governments to create comprehensive action plans.
What Must the Government Provide to Adjust for Overpopulation?
- Adequate food supply
- Adequate housing facilities
- Medical attention
- Employment opportunities
As I have cited above, these problems must be controlled or, if possible, eliminated. They will cause harm to the lives of people, if we fail to control them.
Since the time of the Bubonic Plague in the 1400’s, the population has been constantly increasing. Even WWII had only a minor effect on population growth. Between the time of the plague and the 21st century, there were hundreds and thousands of wars, natural calamities, and man-made hazards, but the population has not stopped growing. Developing nations face the problem of overpopulation more than developed countries. It affects most of the Earth and could lead to the depletion of natural resources. In the table below are more causes of overpopulation and a brief description for each.
More Causes of Overpopulation
Decline in the Death Rate
This causes a depletion of natural resources. The root of overpopulation is the difference between the overall birth rate and death rate in populations. It's not that we must allow our kids to die or lack medical help, but perhaps we should start having less children to combat this imbalance.
Better Medical Facilities:
The industrial revolution led to better technological advancement. This was the biggest reason why the balance has been permanent. Vaccines have saved billions, but those billions do not have the proper tools to live a sustainable lifestyle.
More Hands to Overcome Poverty
There is a psychological component as well. For thousands of years, a very small part of the population had enough to live comfortably, but the rest faced poverty. As we become more empathetic to the plight of others, we must also educate people on the dangers of overpopulation and teach environmentalism to growing populations.
Technological Advancement in Fertility Treatment
Technological advancement in medical science has led to the possibility for couples to conceive more easily. This leads to a rise in the birth rate. Once again, we must think harder about the size of families and our responsibility to the planet.
Lack of Family Planning
Most developing nations have large numbers of illiterate people who live below the poverty line. We must redouble our efforts to bring comprehensive education to all people.
Science and Technology by Lilia M. Rabago Ph. D , Crescensia C. Joaquin Ph.D, Catherine B. Lagunzad , PH. D