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Lecture # 1 21st April, 2010

Rapid growth of world population over past 100 years. Reasons include
Increased birth rate Decreased death rate

Worlds population 6,815,986,343 ( U.S Census Bureau) 1 billion people in the next decade ( equal to current chinas population)

The current population growth rate is a burden. It affects the over all environment of the world. economy and

Understanding of the factors which affect the population growth is important.

Well be discussing
What is over population? The causes of rapid population growth The consequences of rapid population growth Actions and strategies to solve problems caused by overpopulation.

Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. Over-population is defined as the condition of having more people than can live on the earth in comfort, happiness and health.

Commonly, this term refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth. Overpopulation does not depend only on the size or density of the population, but on the ratio of population to available sustainable resources. It also depends on the way resources are used and distributed throughout the population.

In past, population growth was limited by infant & childhood deaths short life spans Improved nutrition, sanitation, and medical care facilities helps in reducing the death rates and continuing high birth rates. The life span of the people has improved.(120 years) This cause rapid increase in the population of Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Researchers from the University of California, in the US, analysed births and deaths in Sweden - a country with good records and seen as typical of industrial countries - over the past 240 years. They found a constant trend upwards in the age of the longest living people.

For instance, the longest lived person born in 1756 died in 1857 at the age of 101.

In the 1860s, the oldest age at death was 101.

This increased slowly throughout the next century rising to 105 by the 1960s. But it rose sharply over the next 40 years with the oldest lived person in the 1990s aged 108.

The longest lived person born in 1884 died in 1993 at the

age of 109.

It took the entire history of humankind for the population to reach 1

billion around 1810.

But just 120 years later (1930), this had doubled to 2 billion people After 45 years in 1975, it was 4 billion. The number of people in the world has risen from 4.4 billion people in 1980 to more than 6 billion today. Total population is likely to reach 10 billion by 2025 and grow to 14 billion by the end of the next century. (United Nations population Fund).

Compared to our past, both death rates and birth rates have fallen. But death rates have fallen faster than birth rates.

There are about 1.6 births for each death in more

developed countries ( MDCs). In less developed countries (LDCs), 3.3 births for each death.

According to critics, one out of five people living here today is not properly supported and believe that the world is already limited in resources.

If birth rates are not lowered down sharply, death rates

will increase automatically. But on the other hand, about 20 countries have negative growth rates (Japan, Ukrine, Russia etc).

Population Curve

S- Curve
A sigmoid curve is characterized by:
a lag phase---where the growth rate is negligible positive acceleration phase----where the growth rate is moderate logarithmic phase---where the growth rate is high negative acceleration phase----where the growth rate is declining. Stationary phase---- where growth rate is zero

Over a larger time scale of say 2000 - 3000 years, sigmoid pattern of growth can be visualized for a countrys population increase.

The logarithmic phase of growth increase the population at faster

rate. But the population - sooner or later - stabilizes itself attaining zero growth. The natural resources are limited to support a certain level of population. Beyond this level of increase of population, the growth is zero or negative.

J Curve

In J-shaped population growth form, the population grows exponentially and after attaining the peak value, the population will crash abruptly.

Causes of Overpopulation
Overpopulation can result from
an increase in births a decline in mortality rates an increase in immigration depletion of resources.

Decline in Mortality Rates

During the Industrial Revolution, there were great advances in science and technology. The success in reducing death rates was attributable to several factors:
increases in food production and distribution improvement in public health (water and sanitation) medical technology (vaccines and antibiotics) gains in education and standards of living

Food Production Distribution

The remarkable facts about the last 150 years has been the ability of

farmers to increase food production geometrically in some places.

Much of the world experienced agricultural success, especially in the last 50 years.

Between 1950 and 1984, for example, the amount of grain harvested
worldwide increased from 631 million tons to 1.65 billion tons. This represents a gain of 2.6 times at a time when the world population increased by only 1.9 times.

The technology has produced a broader variety of techniques:

new kinds of seed chemical fertilizers pesticides more sophisticated machinery

The use of pesticides in LDCs, for example was expected to increased between 400 to 600% in the last 25 years of the 20th century. During the past 10 years, the world's food production has increased by 24 per cent, outpacing the rate of population growth.

However, this increase was not evenly distributed throughout the world. For example, in Africa, food production decreased, while population increased. And world cereal production fell in 1993, according to the FAO, which predicted a food shortage in 20 countries during

However, most experts agree that there is no shortage of food, and that equitable distribution should be sufficient to meet all needs for

the future.
Lack of money to buy food is the problem of malnourishment.

Improvement in Public Health

People always have concerns about surviving daily living, such as meeting basic

needs: food, water, and housing.

Access to safe drinking water is related to the incidence of epidemic diseases such as cholera and child survival. Less than 50% of the population had access to safe drinking water before 1990. By 1990, access to safe drinking water had increased by 75%. But between 1990 and 2000 the numbers of people without access to safe water are projected to increase.

Countries are approaching the limits of sustainable water use by their renewable

Second, the pressure to provide adequate housing increases as the population grows.

More than half of the developing world's population will be living in

urban areas by the end of the century. This growth outstrips the capacity to provide housing and services for others. The priorities for getting rid of poverty, improving food supply, ending malnutrition, and providing adequate housing coincide at all points with those required for balanced population growth.

Conquest of Disease
The biggest population story of the last hundred years has been the

conquest of disease.
Scientists have learned a great deal about the ways to prevent and cure many types of disease.

Thus, millions of people who would have died of disease a century ago are
more likely to live to old age. The most effective tools in the conquest of disease have been improved

knowledge about nutrition, vaccinations, better public health practices

and the development of new medicines.

In many nations the people know about proper nutrition for young children and adults. Unfortunately, in many LDCs the people lack the money and

skills that would allow them to use the knowledge about

nutrition they already have. As a result, infant death rates and therefore, overall death rates, remain high in many LDCs.

The second most important factor is vaccinations. As far back as 1800, scientists knew how to use vaccines to protect

people from infectious disease.

Use of that knowledge has reduced the rate of diseases like influenza, smallpox, polio and rubella in MDCs.

Again, lack of resources has prevented many LDCs from making

similar use of vaccinations to reduce the rate of infectious disease and death rates in their countries.

Moreover, vaccines are still not available for some dis-eases-malaria

is the most obvious example and the greatest concern in LDCs

Third, better public health practices

The germ theory of disease, discovered by Louis Pasteur in the 1870s clearly demonstrated that a person's health was also a

community problem.
Sewage dumped into a public water supply could cause disease throughout the community. With this understanding, the science of public health was born. Today, public health measures like waste treatment, water

purification, vaccination, and nutritional education are well

developed in MDCs. How-ever, public health measures are still absent in many LDCs. As

a result, disease continues to spread and cause high death rates.

And finally, with the advent of new medicines (infections to pneumonia), disease was less of a problem in MDCs.

In many LDCs, new drugs and medicines are simply not available.
Progress in medical science has, therefore, had a great effect on the population of most nations of the world.

Nearly everywhere death rates have fallen.

At the same time, birth rates, at least in the LDCs, have remained high. This combination of high birth rates and low death rates have led to the population explosion in many countries throughout the world.

Financial Incentives
In certain countries with low population rates, there are financial incentives to produce more children. In the United States, tax deductions were put in place to assist parents with the day-to-day costs of raising a child. In addition, social welfare programs have been implemented in the U.S., Canada and Europe that give more money to those people with a number of children they cannot financially support.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women receiving financial support from a welfare system have three times as

many children as women who do not.

A study conducted by the New York Health and Human Services Division has shown that there is a direct correlation between women achieving a higher education and the lack of using the welfare system.

The study further showed that women with a higher

education had fewer children.

The end of the population explosion worldwide will be determined by how much countries invest in family planning and slow down population growth.


Rapid human population growth has a variety of consequences. Population grows fastest in the world's poorest countries. High fertility rates have historically been strongly correlated with poverty, and high childhood mortality rates. Falling fertility rates are generally associated with improved

standards of living, increased life expectancy, and lowered

infant mortality.

Effects of Human Overpopulation

Inadequate fresh water for drinking water use Some countries,

like Saudi Arabia, use energy-expensive desalination to solve the

problem of water shortages. Depletion of natural resources--- especially fossil fuels Increased levels of air pollution, water pollution, soil

contamination and noise pollution---Once a country has industrialized and become wealthy, a combination of government regulation and technological innovation causes pollution to decline substantially, even as the population continues to grow.

Deforestation and loss of ecosystems----that sustain global atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide balance; about eight million hectares of forest are lost each year. Changes in atmospheric composition and consequent global

Irreversible loss of arable land and increases in desertification ----Deforestation and desertification can be reversed by adopting

property rights, and this policy is successful even while the human
population continues to grow.

Mass species extinctions from reduced habitat in tropical forests due to slash-andburn techniques that sometimes are practiced by shifting cultivators, especially in countries with rapidly expanding rural populations; Present extinction rates may be as high as 140,000 species lost per year. As of 2008, the IUCN Red List lists a total of 717 animal species having gone extinct during recorded human history

High infant and child mortality. High rates of infant mortality are caused by poverty. Rich countries with high population densities have low rates of infant mortality. Intensive factory farming to support large populations. It results in human threats including the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria diseases, excessive air and water pollution, and new virus that infect humans.

Increased chance




of new epidemics

and pandemics--- For many environmental and social reasons, including overcrowded living conditions, malnutrition and

inadequate, inaccessible, or non-existent health care the poor are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases.

Starvation, malnutrition or poor diet with ill health and dietdeficiency diseases (e.g. rickets). However, rich countries with high

population densities do not have famine

Low life expectancy in countries with fastest growing populations.

Unhygienic living conditions for many based upon water resource depletion, discharge of raw sewage and solid waste disposal. However, this problem can be reduced with the adoption of sewers. For example, after Karachi, Pakistan installed sewers, its infant mortality rate fell substantially.

Elevated crime rate due to drug cartels and increased theft by people stealing resources to survive

Conflict over scarce resources and crowding, leading to increased levels of warfare. Less Personal Freedom / More Restrictive Laws. Laws

regulate interactions between humans. The higher the

population density, the more frequent such interactions become, and thus there develops a need for more laws

and/or more restrictive laws to regulate these interactions.

Overpopulation is degrading the Earth's oceans and other water sources, and by doing so will not only lessen our water supply for the future, it will also hurt the animals living in the water. In Greece, they had worried about soil erosion from too many trees being cut down in their mountainous region. Deforestation also caused water runoffs, flood, and droughts in

In Rome, the air and water had been dangerously polluted.

Increase of population caused using up more landfill space, releasing more chloroflourocarbon gases, and more toxic waste to be dumped out in the ocean.

In aquifers or natural underground reservoirs such as in

the Gaza Strip between Israel and Egypt, the natural water has been depleted by more than 50 percent.

Under the Great Plains in the United States, the Ogallala Aquifer, that supplies one-fifth of the crop land in the United States with water, was half emptied in

the late 1980's.

If this aquifer is completely drained it may collapse

causing sinkholes in the land above, and never allowing

it to be refilled again.

Besides water, overpopulation is polluting the air we breath, and causing many unwanted results such as the greenhouse effect, acid rain, and the depletion of the

ozone layer.
The greenhouse effect had probably started around the

industrial revolution when a large amount of carbon

dioxide was released.

Acid rain is a direct result of air pollution which occurs when too many people are

releasing toxins into the air.

Fossil fuel that is burned is released into the air as a gas and reacts with sunlight, oxygen and moisture in the atmosphere. This changes compounds like sulfur dioxide into sulfuric acid, and nitrogen oxide into nitric oxide. It precipitates to the ground and pollutes water and the land, killing fish, damaging forests and crops, and corroding metals. Main causes of air pollution are the needs of too many people for the use of cars and industrial plants, both which release many harmful fumes into the air.

Not only will low water supplies affect a human necessity, it could also cause "water wars." Ethiopia, for instance, wants to build dams along the upper part of the Nile river. This action, however, could prevent enough water from getting

down to other countries that rely on the Nile such as Egypt.

Also the Turkish government wants to build 21 dams along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This strategy would cut 40 percent of

the water flow from those rivers to Syria and 80 percent of the
water flow to Iraq.

Overpopulation is destroying the land and therefore could end the life of all the creatures on Earth. There are many examples that there is not enough land.

For instance, there is not enough landfill space. Every year, the United
States alone creates 13 billion tons of waste. This is 50 tons a person.

In 1988, Ohio started running out of landfill space. To solve this problem the government decided to make it easier to open new larger landfills. This allowed the owners of the landfills to lower their prices so businesses will want to use their landfills. Doing this could make people recycle less, take up more landfill space, and ruin the earth


Overpopulation also threatens the Earth's agricultural resources. An example of this is desertification of land. It occurs when fertile land is turned into infertile land. This can happen from overgrazing of cattle as in the

southwestern United States, or erosion where the topsoil is

carried away. Even irrigation can cause desertification if too much water is used, flooding the land, and not allowing crops to grow there anymore.


There are several mitigation measures that have or can be applied to reduce the adverse impacts of overpopulation.

Birth regulations
Overpopulation is related to the issue of birth control Policies (one child policy ) like the People's Republic of China are necessary to control the earths population. This reduction in population helps in increasing economic growth of the world.

Education and empowerment

Extra taxes for parents who have large families Extra benefits for the parents that have only one or two children Raising the age of marriage Increasing the industry and wealth in a country this allows it to "afford" the increased population

Many philosophers, including Thomas Malthus, have said at various times that when humankind does not check population-growth, nature takes its course. But this course might not result in the death of humans through catastrophes; instead it might result in infertility.

What can/should be done in order to prevent the world population from exceeding the carrying capacity? Is it fair? - Is it workable? - What is the cost? Who pays? - Will people accept it (acceptable to religiousbeliefs, personal or cultural values) - Can it be carried out - Is it effective?