As at December 2017, the world population was at 7.6 billion and by statistics of the United Nations it will further increase to 11.2 billion by the next century.
At that staggering figure, it is evident that the problem of overpopulation is at hand. Most people may not fully grasp that most of the challenges facing the earth now eg. terrorism, famine, wars, global warming are as a result of the exponential increase in the population of the world.
However, to try to understand overpopulation, it is important to understand what it is, it causes and effects and what are the plausible solutions to this scourge.
Overpopulation is an undesirable condition where the number of existing human population exceeds the opportunities available on Earth. Overpopulation thus occur when a species’ population surpasses the carrying capacity of its ecological niche (Wikipedia).
Several factors can be attributed as causes of overpopulation, the most crucial that should be examined is the birth to death ratio, which by the laws of nature should always be in balance; but with recent advancements in science and technology, has ironically tilted the scale creating an imbalance where more people are born than they die – to put it plainly.
Also, the socio-economic factor should be taken into account: Increases in agricultural productivity, poverty levels and pressure from families to have more children thereby stretching the resources of the family. With the ability to provide food, it has allowed families to feed more mouth at the expense of the little income made.
Literacy also play a crucial role in overpopulation. Developing nations like Nigeria, India, and Brazil face the problems of overpopulation more than developed nations like USA, France and Sweden. Most developing nations have large number of people who are illiterate and live below the poverty line and have no knowledge about family planning.
Developed nations have already started adopting stringent measures to control continuous increase in the number of its citizen. One of which is the China’s one family, one child policy which it introduced in the late 70s and initiated in the early 80s but has since under a new policy in 2013 amended so that families could have two children if one parent, rather than both parents, was an only child.
Although this is not a model that would be received by the Nigerian populace with open arms, it would be important for the government to start thinking of ways that this can be done in the nearest future if it doesn’t want to be faced with diseases, high crime rate, famine, urban congestion and the breakdown of civilized life.
Effective methods that has been proposed to control overpopulation include delayed marriage, provision of optimum medical facilities, legislative actions such as ban on child marriage and labour, legalizing safe abortions, women empowerment, spreading awareness, poverty eradication, improvement on quality education and actual development.