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Overpopulation Problems


An increase in population at the rate of 600% in the last 2 centuries has led to gross overpopulation. Problems that such increased levels of population cause include scarcity of living space, in addition to a change or disruption in the ecological balance of the planet...

The term overpopulation refers to a condition wherein the total population of a particular region far exceeds the carrying capacity of the region. Although the term by and large refers to the ratio between population and the available area, the ratio between the population and available resources cannot be ignored. Overpopulation is one of the major problems the planet is facing today, and it directly or indirectly fuels other problems, ranging from pollution to global warming. Estimated figures suggest that the world population will cross 9 billion mark by the year 2050. If this happens, it would be very difficult to keep overpopulation problems at bay for a long time.

Causes of Overpopulation

Before we move on to overpopulation problems, we need to know about the various factors that are responsible for this incessant rise in population. Significant improvement in quality of life and basic health services has resulted in decline in death rate, and at the same time has caused an increase in the birth rate. Continuous migration of people from underdeveloped areas to developed areas has triggered an unnatural growth in population in developed areas, thus, putting immense pressure on available resources. Our failure in understanding the problems caused by overpopulation in urban areas is reflected in unplanned growth of newer towns and cities. More importantly, a look at the projected population growth is even more horrendous, which in itself stresses on the fact that we are not learning from our mistakes.

Problems Caused by Overpopulation

Overpopulation problems refer to a series of interwoven problems which are basically caused due to population explosion. The worst thing about these problems is that they act as major hindrances in the process of development. Though restricted to the urban areas as of now, these problems have already begun and it will be just a matter of time before they engulf the entire planet.

Scarcity of Resources

Available resources will not be sufficient to meet the demand of rising population. Only 3% of water on the planet is potable, so overpopulation problems will start with the lack of drinking water for millions of people across the globe. Land available for agricultural production is also shrinking, which means the amount of crop produced will decrease with time. If population increases and crop production decreases, a large part of population will be left to die of hunger. In fact, Thomas Malthus had predicted this problem of food shortage due to rise in population two centuries ago through his theory of population. Scarcity of resources will not just be restricted to food and water, it will also affect various other walks of life, including health services, jobs and many basic amenities.

Health Problems

The amount of waste produced by increasing population will hamper the waste management program in several countries. Untreated waste and poor hygiene will result in the spread of diseases. A large population will make the spread of contagious diseases even easier. Health resources available with us will not be sufficient enough to cater to the needs of the huge population in case of an epidemic, and the death toll will be difficult to handle. Entire planet will experience large-scale outbreaks of diseases, which will wipe out a large part of population by itself.

Environmental Issues

Increase in population will also increase the anthropogenic activities which cause global warming and related climate change. Larger the population, more will be the environmental issues that we will have to deal with like pollution and deforestation. We have proved time and again that we won't hesitate to encroach upon the natural surroundings and destroy them if we don't have a place to stay. This will result in loss of habitat for various species and cause a severe ecological imbalance on the planet. It would be foolish to expect that we will be safe from these overpopulation effects, as all lifeforms subsisting on this planet, including humans, are dependent on each other, either directly or indirectly.

These overpopulation problems would not have affected us if we had unlimited land and resources, but that is not the case. Already limited resources are being continuously divided into smaller and smaller portions, especially the land. Perhaps we are yet to understand the hazards of overpopulation, or maybe we will continue to turn a blind eye to them until it causes some serious calamity. The need of the hour is to identify the solutions for these overpopulation issues, and to come up with some measures to curb incessant growth of population. If we don't put in efforts today, tomorrow may not even give us a chance to ponder over the situation.



1. Match bold words in the text to their synonyms below.

Increment; contamination; proceed; to impinge; the earth, danger, terrible, to cause, to deal with, infectious, handicap, starvation, nonaccomplishment, paucity, generally, environment, deficiency, forebode, to envelop, enormous, to bridle, to think over; mortality rate


2. Complete the table

Verb Noun Adjective
to estimate    
to subsist    


3. Complete the sentences according to the text.

1. Unnatural growth in population in developed areas is caused by…

2. The spread of contagious diseases will be induced by…

3. We wouldn’t have faced overpopulation problems if…

4. If the carrying capacity of a particular region is far exceeded then we face the term …

5. Identifying the solutions for the overpopulation issues is …

6. Unplanned growth of newer towns and cities reflects…

7. Crops will decrease with the lapse of time due to…


4. Match the following.

gross available urban sufficient continuous immense

1. unusually large; huge; vast

2. present and ready for use; at hand; accessible

3. immense, enormous, monstrous, gigantic, massive

4. ceaseless, consecutive, without interruption

5. adequate, enough, satisfying

6. relating to a city


scarcity disruption calamity failure amenity outbreak

1. an event that brings terrible loss, lasting distress, or severe affliction; a disaster

2. something that contributes to physical or material comfort

3. a small and inadequate amount

4. nonperformance of what is requested or expected; omission

5. to interrupt or impede the progress, movement, or procedure

6. a sudden violent spontaneous occurrence


to exceed to trigger to shrink to hamper to handle to subsist

1. to prevent the free movement, action, or progress

2. to exist; be

3. put in motion or move to act; to start

4. to manage successfully; to deal with; to have power or control over

5. to extend beyond or outside; to be greater than; surpass

6. to become reduced in amount or value; dwindle


5. Explain in your own words the meaning of the following.

a) to fuel the problem

b) to keep at bay

c) interwoven problems

d) walk of life

e) to cater to the needs

f) the death toll

g) to turn a blind eye to

h) the need of the hour


6. Fill in the gaps with the words below

issue amenity rate outbreak effort calamity increase

1. A hurricane would be a ____________for this low-lying coastal region.

2. This part of town has a lot of ______________ – good shops, parks etc.

3. This _______________ of flu is no worse than normal.

4. The _______________ in the population over the last ten years was 40,000.

5. The question of pay is not an important _______________ at the moment.

6. The ____________ of change was faster than expected.

7. The government's ___________ to improve the economy were unsuccessful.


7. Change the voice

1. The world population will cross 9 billion mark by the year 2050.

2. Increase in population will also increase the anthropogenic activities.

3. Migration of people from underdeveloped areas to developed areas has triggered an unnatural growth in population in developed areas.

4. Limited resources of the planet are being continuously divided into smaller and smaller portions.

5. The total population of the region far exceeds the carrying capacity of the latter.

6. Overpopulation has fueled a whole array of problems ranging from pollution to global warming.

7. These overpopulation problems would not have affected us if we had unlimited land and resources.

8. Tomorrow may not even give us a chance to ponder over the situation.

9. The effects of overpopulation can include the depletion of resources and environmental deterioration.

10. The hunters were hired to keep down the deer population.

11.Afghanistan is the country whose laws and norms are hindering the global effort to slow population growth.


8. Insert prepositions and translate.

1. Overpopulation does not depend only ___ the size or density ____ the population, but on the ratio of population ____ available sustainable resources.

2. Overpopulation can result ______ an increase in births, a decline in mortality rates due _____ medical advances.

3. Concern __________ overpopulation is relatively recent in origin.

4. A finite amount _______ land was incapable _______ supporting an endlessly increasing population.

5. Overpopulation is an issue that threatens the state _____ the environment and societies must make a change ____ order to reverse some of the environmental effects brought on _____ current social norms.

6. Religious and ideological opposition ____ birth control has been cited as a factor contributing _____ overpopulation and poverty.

7. Religious adherents vary widely _____ their views _____ birth control.

8. Disasters triggered _____ the growing population's demand _____ scarce resources will eventually lead ____ a sudden population crash.


9. Correct the mistakes.

1. The recent rapid increase in human populaition over the past two centuries have raised conserns that humans are begin to overpopulate the Earth.

2. Increases in life expectansy and resourse availability during the industrial and green revolutions leaded to rapid population growht on a worldwide level.

3. In demografy, population growth is uses informally for the more spesific term population growth rate.


Date: 2015-04-20; view: 303

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