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The main effects of Overpopulation

Many experts believe that we will be able to meet the nutritional needs of a rapid growing world population which is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 (Re.UN). This is plausible. Indeed an estimated one-third of all food produced for human use is lost or wasted each year (Re.FAO). However, at the same time, we cannot deny that an uncontrolled growing population is threatening our planet. And we must remind ourselves that overpopulation is felt first and hardest by the poor and vulnerable in developing countries. In the background analysis for this issue, we should be guided not by ideology but by figures which are indisputable and verifiable. The worldwide total fertility rate (TFR) is estimated at 2.4 (Re.PRB.org 2018). The three countries with the highest TFRs are Niger (7.2), Chad (6.4) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (6.3). If we consider the vast hunger issues our world is still facing today, such situation will obviously become a major source of conflicts. In fact, the main effects of overpopulation on the environment are well known: overuse of natural resources, deforestation, eutrophication and global warming. We must admit that in too many countries, and in the absence of political will, the family planning policy is clearly a total failure. The assistance from developed countries should focus on two directions. The first primarily concerns the schooling for girls: scholarship must be provided to students from poor families in a systematic and transparent way. The second direction leads to the introduction of financial incentives to couples who agree to have at the most one or two children. The fight against overpopulation will inevitably demand significant investments but also new international agreements to support and monitor the efforts of failed or fragile states.

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