Overpopulation is defined as the number of people exceeding the capacity of the environment in terms of resources to sustain them. Presently, overpopulation poses as one of the gravest problems at the global level. The population of the world has increased seven-folds, from 1 billion to 7.7 billion, in just the last 200 years. The mammoth number indicates the seriousness of the situation which should be attended by all the governments collectively and by international organisations on a priority basis. The burden on our planet Earth should be reduced in order to prevent any harm to its inhabitants or the planet itself.
This issue has been attributed to several factors such as:
-Low death rate
Due to advancement in the medical field, the death rates have lowered drastically. This technological advancement is seen as a leap in science but it has also largely contributed to the increase in population.
-High birth rate
With an increase in the success of fertility treatments, the birth rate has also risen.
-Lack of family planning
In most of the countries, family planning is not given much importance. There is a dire need to realise the benefits of planning before increasing the mouths to feed. As the number of people rises, more forest or rural areas are being urbanised.
Many people believe that the more hands they have, the more they’ll earn and get out of the cycle of poverty. They fail to see other consequences of having many children, like more mouths to feed, overcrowding in their homes, parenting problems, further distribution of their income, et cetera.
-The taboo on sex education
Lack of sex education in school or by parents is a major factor contributing to overpopulation. Many teenagers and adults do not have sufficient information about contraceptives that can be used to prevent early or unwanted pregnancies.
Villages and cities came into existence wherever they could find food to sustain them or land well-suited for practicing agriculture. Even today, if there’s a famine, a downfall in the population is observed whereas if there is a surplus, the opposite is observed. Thus, advancement in agriculture has led to overpopulation.
Apart from these, there are still many reasons due to which this problem is being amplified.
India is the second-most populous country in the world. Its population alone accounts for 17.7% of the world as per the statistics of 2018. India needs to introduce policies for population control which are effective while avoiding any extreme measures. One such extreme measure was forceful sterilisation of 6.2 million men during the 1976 emergency under the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s son, Sanjay Gandhi.
Some of the measures that can be introduced are tax and employment benefits for small families, compulsory sex education classes in schools, awareness about family planning, promoting adoption, removing taboo from female or male sterilisation surgeries, normalising and allowing easy abortion (which should be gender-neutral and only after consent is taken from the pregnant woman) and other steps.
Overpopulation threatens the future availability of resources. It has led to deforestation, global warming, unemployment, and has affected all natural phenomena. We need to practice population control and raise awareness about it.