The term “overpopulation” describes an undesirable condition in which the population of a given species increases to the extent that the available environmental resources are unable to satisfy or to meet the needs of every member of the species (Chen, 2014). Human overpopulation occurs where the number of persons living within a specific geographical area is higher than the available resources. There are various causal factors, impacts and solutions to the problem of overpopulation. This paper evaluates the causes and impacts, as well as solutions to the problem of human overpopulation.
One of the prime causal factors for human overpopulation is the reduction in the death rate. If the number of people born is lower than the number of people who die each year, the population increases gradually. Factors such as the discovery of agriculture and better ways of treating illnesses, over time, has led to a significant reduction in death rates within different segments of the human population (McLeish, 2009). This has caused an imbalance in the birth rates and death rates in different societies, leading to overpopulation. The growth of the Chinese population is a good example of this trend. The second factor is the establishment of better medical facilities and invention of medicines that help in curing diseases that initially used to claim the lives of many people. For instance, Malaria used to kill many young children several centuries ago since there were no effective ways of treating it (Chen, 2014). However, Malaria is easily cured today using medicines that are available everywhere. Some illnesses that could not be cured, such as cancer, are now being detected at early stages of development and cured using the recently establishment medical facilities. The impact of better ways of treating diseases is the reduction in the death rate within population segments (McLeish, 2009).
Further, overpopulation in various human population segments has been caused by the innovation of better ways of tackling poverty. Agricultural innovation and emergence of trade are examples of ways through which people have been tackling poverty (McLeish, 2009). Today, people who face the danger of dying due to poverty receive assistance in form of food and other basic needs from the international community, unlike several centuries ago when they could not get such assistance (McLeish, 2009). This has contributed to the reduction in the number of deaths caused by extreme poverty. Further, technological advancement has led to the emergence of ways of treating fertility. Today, people who are infertile may conceive or sire after receiving fertility treatment. In some cases, overpopulation is caused by immigration of humans into a given area. For instance, people from different parts of the world have been migrating to the US. Immigrants may cause overcrowding in the areas where they inhabit (Chen, 2014). Lastly, overpopulate sometimes caused by lack of or failure to use family planning.
There are several key impacts of overpopulation. Firstly, it leads to the depletion natural resources such as food and water. Ultimately, the depletion leads to undesirable conditions such as starving and illnesses caused by lack of enough basic resources (Northrop & Connor, 2013). Secondly, overpopulation leads to environmental degradation (Northrop & Connor, 2013). For instance, people in the overpopulated areas cut more trees to build houses and for other purposes. The use of too many cars causes pollution. In some cases, overpopulation causes conflicts and wars that emerge as people fight over limited resources. Such conflicts and wars are common in Africa, especially in the areas where people suffer from extreme poverty (Northrop & Connor, 2013). Further, overpopulation leads to an increase in the rates of unemployment. This occurs due to the lack of adequate jobs for all the people living within a given geographical area. Ultimately, the rise in unemployment rate leads to other problems such as rise in the crime rate. Lastly, overpopulation leads to a high cost of living. Overpopulation leads to a higher level of demand for commodities, beyond the supply, leading to a rise in the prices of the commodities (Chen, 2014).
One of the solutions to the problem of overpopulation is to provide better education to people. Educating people enables them to understand the importance of not having excess children (McLeish, 2009). Also, education enables people to understand the importance and ways of using family planning. Enhancing the awareness of people about family planning is also essential (McLeish, 2009). As people become more aware of it, they understand its relevance and how to use contraceptives. Formulating taxation policies that help to prevent overpopulation can also be a valid solution in some cases. Government can provide tax benefits to people who do not have many children, or to impose higher taxes on couples who bear many children. A good example is the Chinese one-child policy (Chen, 2014). Providing sex education to people is also vital since it enables people to understand the importance of engaging in responsible sex.
Overall, overpopulation is a problem that has been experienced in various segments of the human population across the world. The causes of the problem include reduction in the death rate, better medical facilities and medicines, better ways of tackling poverty, technological advancement, immigration and lack of failure to use family planning. Its effects include environmental degradation, natural resources depletion, conflicts and wars, unemployment rate increase and increase in the cost of living. Solutions to the problem include better education, concessions or tax benefits, knowledge of sex education and enhancing awareness of family planning.