Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Essay on Population Explosion

Essay on Population Explosion in Pakistan

In this essay paper I will introduce the concept of overpopulation and its definition in the literal sense. Then I will discuss its effects on the Pakistani economy and its impact on the agricultural sector. This will be followed by an analysis of overpopulation being source of other social evils. Then overpopulation will be discussed in the international scenario followed by a brief analysis of the causes of overpopulation. That will be followed by the efforts required at the individual and collective spheres. Finally the future course of action would be discussed with some recommendations and a brief conclusion.


Population explosion is a global problem. It is equally true of Pakistan. Everyday we come across the oft-repeated phrase, “Population Bomb is ticking”. A state based on Islamic ideology should be an ideal state. Since its inception Pakistan had to face the problems of illiteracy, poverty, pollution, unemployment, lawlessness & terrorism, inflation, loans, corruption, defective tax structure, government instability and many more chronic problems. Unless we achieve a control on population, these related problems will not be easily solved.

Pakistan and Overpopulation

At the time of partition, the area, which today comprises Pakistan, had a population of 33 million. The following table shows population of Pakistan at different times since its inception.



Year Population (in millions)
1947 33
1972 66
1998 130.5
2000 140
Table-1 Comparison of population at different times

According to experts, under the same growth rate, the population of Pakistan would be greater than that of China by the year 2035.

Even after fifty-six years of its independence, Pakistan is still struggling to find a respectable place in the comity of nations. All the efforts made in the past seem to have gone in vain. Every sector of life today tells a sorry tale. The problem that could be blamed for all this sorry mess is overpopulation in the country. Overpopulation emerges as the main villain in Pakistan for a number of reasons. Every other problem mentioned earlier seems to have grown from the demon of this overpopulation.


Literally speaking, overpopulation arises when the resources in a country fell short of meeting the needs of its people. A number of factors could lead to the emergence of overpopulation.

Birth rate is the most common indicator that the countries today use to keep a check on population . Pakistan today suffers from a high birth rate in the country. But the birth rate was high even in the past and still overpopulation was nowhere to be seen. What factors today have translated the high birth rate into overpopulation? The advancements in the medical field have led to a sharp decline in the death rate. The life expectancy has increased due to the use of imported health technologies. So, a decline in death rate has in other words led to the problem of overpopulation. Pakistan is a developing country and as many others like it is trying hard to survive in the capitalist world. A huge population of around fifteen crores, that could have been an asset to the country is today a huge liability. Fast increasing population is thus a source of constant danger for Pakistan.

Impact of Economy

Overpopulation has badly hampered the economic growth in the country. High population is responsible for a decline in the per capita income . This leads to a decline in the purchasing power of the people. As the demand for goods decreases then by “Demand & Supply” law, the investment in the country will also suffer. Such a stagnant economy will lead to closing of factories and businesses and in return add to joblessness and poverty. Even if the country somehow is successful in attracting foreign investment, still overpopulation will not allow these investments to have a positive effect on the country’s economy. Greater population means more number of hungry souls to feed. With the number of productive earning members in a family small compared to unproductive members, there is felt a drag on limited income of poor families. This is the problem of “Dependency ratio” which is acutely felt in poor countries.

For years, social services in the country have suffered even after sincere efforts by successive governments. The fact remains that more schools, hospitals, and parks are of little comfort if the population keeps on increasing at an alarming rate.

Impact on Agricultural Sector

Agriculture is another sector, which has been adversely affected by the rapid increase of population. About 70% of Pakistan’s population is employed in the agricultural sector. Overpopulation is even having an adverse effect on agricultural outcome. More population means smaller farms, and that leads to a decline in productivity. Availability of cultivable land in 1990 was 0.17 hector per person and the estimated availability of cultivable land by the year 2025 will be 0.07 hector per person. The same would happen with the forests and also with the availability of fresh water.

People having smaller farms have no other choice but to migrate in hope for a better life. This leads to urbanization, which itself is a major social problem .

Overpopulation Causing other Social Evils

Over population has contributed towards an increase in a number of social evils. Lawlessness, crime and corruption are all the result of population explosion. The fight over resources has divided the society into two groups i.e. those who have all and are not willing to share it and the second group that is fighting for its mere survival. This fight between haves and have-nots has the inherent seeds of conflict in it, which if erupted could imperil the peace and order in the society. Overpopulation in cities has also contributed to toxic pollution. A greater number of vehicles on the roads mean the availability of large quantities of poisonous gas for people to inhale. Sewage problems and lack of clean drinking water can also be attributed to the population problem.

World Scenario

The world has crossed the six billion mark in population . After years of industrialization and technological advances, the world still suffers in providing basic necessities to the masses. Apart from few exceptions in Europe having a negative birth rate, overpopulation is a common problem of many nations around the world. Many of the countries have tried hard and to some extent they have been successful. China, around three decades ago, was facing shortages in food but today it is the largest growing economy in the world. The “One Child Policy” has done wonders for this new economic power. China has also proved the fact that through proper planning a huge population could be transformed into an economic asset.

Causes of Overpopulation

Following is a brief discussion of some of the causes of overpopulation in our country:
  • Warm climate (puberty attained by females at an early age)
  • Early marriages
  • Joint family systems
  • Polygamy
  • Lack of recreational facilities
  • Belief that God is ‘Raziq’ (belief that every child brings its food with him/her)
  • Love for male issues (couple going for more babies)
  • Illiteracy, people think that more children mean more working hands
  • Misinterpretation of Ullemas
  • Unawareness about the use of contraceptives

Efforts put in by Government

Family Planning Association, a private venture, started work in 1953.
Government started providing family planning services at its health centers in 1960.
A National Planning program was formed in 1965.
American Aid for family planning started in 1974.
Provincial Governments initiated Family Planning Programs in 1983.
Community health center started by Government in 1993.

Future Course of Action

It is right time that we nip the evil in the bud with proper planning. Education is the key to success against the menace of overpopulation. It will not only generate awareness against the hazards of overpopulation among the masses but will also create a healthy environment for birth control methods to flourish. Poor literacy rate in Pakistan is certainly adding to the difficulties, already being faced by the health workers in their fight against the problem.

The role of media is also an important factor. With most of the population illiterate electronic media could prove to be a huge success in getting the message across. Print media too needs to emphasize the problems of overpopulation on a more regular basis. Availability of birth control methods in the remote areas of the country should be ensured. The role of lady health workers should be expanded and the good office of every union council should make their supervision compulsory. “Devolution Plan” was devised to make the participation of people at the grass roots level. Now it is time that we solve the problem of overpopulation with a greater participation and support of these local councils. But this task will be not as easy to accomplish, as it may appears to be.

According to a report by Population Action International Washington, a great reason for population increase in Pakistan is that the Government has made a very insignificant investment in social sector owing to religious problems and secondly women having no say and freedom . A conservative society like ours is certainly not ripe to carry out a war against overpopulation. Therefore, the role of religious leaders emerges as an important aspect if we are to succeed against this menace. Big landowners in rural areas too command a lot of respect among the masses. It is time that they join in against the fight for a better future. Once these two classes are on the side of the government, there is no way that the government will not be able to solve the problem. Another factor that has for long proven to be a hurdle in solving population problem is the poor state of our womenfolk in the society. The rights of women must be restored and the discrimination against them must be stopped. Many women in the country are aware of the problems generated by having large families but they have little say in deciding about the strength of the family. In a male-dominated society as ours women often fall victim to the blind wishes of their male partners. Women often die in labor and owing to the lack of gaps between the successive births. Their health also deteriorates to an alarming stage.

Recommendations and Conclusion

  • Family planning facilities be made a part of health facilities
  • There should be a greater role for local and provincial governments
  • Role of NGOs and doctors in disbursement of Aid received for family panning
  • Males should be urged to cooperate more
  • Status of women to be raised in society as done by present government by giving more seats in assemblies
  • Better health and educational facilities for women
  • Issue to be taken as a national crisis
  • Role of media to be encouraged especially in rural areas
  • Government programs should involve Ullemas and NGOs
  • Greater participation of landlords
Problem of overpopulation is very serious because it leads to frustration, which means chaos. Chaos means anarchy and anarchy endangers the state.

Pakistan is today standing at the crossroads. It will either perish forever or will emerge as a stronger nation. What are needed is a vision and a sincere leadership that could transform dreams into reality. The problem of overpopulation has now started to haunt us and unless we tackle it pragmatically our dream of a bright and glorious future will just remain a pious wish. It needs a multi-pronged attack to deal with overpopulation. A strong Pakistan should be our first priority and if we have to make certain hard decisions for its accomplishment no one should hesitate to lead and pull the trigger. Indeed, Pakistan comes first even before our personal vested interests.

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