Overpopulation Environmental Problems

Is It Getting Too Crowded For Comfort?

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TheWorldCounts, 16 May, 2015

Is It Getting Too Crowded For Comfort?

According to one survey, every year, around 70 million people relocate to the cities from rural areas, creating an unprecedented migration that may have several undesirable repercussions to health, economy and environment. Last year, 54% of the world’s population lived in rural areas, as compared to 34% in 1960. It is estimated that by 2017, a bigger percentage of the world will move to the cities.

Urbanization by itself is not the problem. Improper planning of how the cities will accommodate its population is. Currently, many cities are failing drastically in urban planning, unable to cope with the number of new arrivals. This rapid and unsustainable urban development patterns can pose a serious risk to our health and our environment.

Related Articles – The Needs of 7 Billion People

What are the negative effects of Unsustainable Urbanization?

Ideally, the increasing population in urban cities should bolster an economy, with the number of bodies available to take on jobs. But it’s not an ideal world. In developing countries, what this means is an influx of unproductive citizens trying to find better opportunities in the cities, without the skills required to make a significant contribution. They are totally reliant on government support. The government may not have the budget to support the needs of the increasing population – and the result is less than desirable.

Here are situations that can result from unsustainable urbanization.

  • The growing number of people in the cities puts a strain on Waste Management efforts. If a city cannot effectively cope, this will mean poor waste management which will strain the condition of our environment further. It can cause disease especially in the poor areas.
  • An estimated 400 million city dwellers face the risk of flooding due to the rising of sea levels caused by Climate Change. The risk is higher in less developed regions.

Related Articles: Rising Sea Level Effects

  • Some cities do not have the resources or infrastructure to accommodate their ever increasing population. The result is that many people do not have access to basic necessities such as water and proper sanitation. Slum areas proliferate in developing countries and the number of those homeless are rising.
  • Increased air pollution can be expected with the additional vehicles. In 2012, 3,069 people died prematurely in Hong Kong due to air pollution. 151,300 got hospitalized due to pollution related sickness.
  • In March 2014, air pollution levels in Paris reached critical levels. In response, the French government made public transport free for 3 days to encourage citizens to leave their vehicles at home.

Related Articles: How Does Pollution Affect Humans?

  • The number of vehicles on the road causes traffic congestion which cuts down on productivity. People spend more time travelling.
  • Storm surges now affect more people than ever, with a lot of people living in coastal city areas.

How can a more Sustainable Urbanization happen?

We need to revisit our city planning methods to address this problem specifically. Smaller cities near the mega cities needs to be developed to evenly distribute the population. The compact cities will remain fully connected to the resources it needs – and from the get-go, we can make it green.

This can have several positive results:

  • It will alleviate traffic congestion in the mega cities
  • Easier to manage Waste Disposal
  • Socially cohesive neighborhoods will develop from these cities
  • Less air pollution

Related Articles: What Does Carbon Footprint Mean?

The reality of the situation is staring us right in the face and we can only predict its outcome. In your own small way, do your share where you can. Know about the current environmental concerns and see where you can make a small but significant difference. Read The World Counts Stories.

There are green companies and fair trade products that you can shift to, to help the environment and keep your families healthier and safer.

Sources

  1. http://www.globalopportunitynetwork.org/resources/risks/urban_breakdown.pdf
  2. http://www.brinknews.com/turning-risk-into-opportunity-for-unsustainable-urbanization/
  3. http://www.worldsocialscience.org/activities/world-social-science-fellows-programme/seminars/sustainable-urbanisation-ii/

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