Reasons behind overpopulation in Pakistan
Pakistan which was the thirteenth most populated country at the time of independence, is now the sixth most populous country in the world. Home to 221.1 million people, the growing population of Pakistan is a social issue, imposing number of threats to the economy and environment. The leading causes of overpopulation in Pakistan being; poverty, child labor, little or no use of contraceptives and migration. The effects of this growing population are quite severe given that Pakistan is a developing country.
The natural resources available today, are too insufficient to combat the tremendous population sprawl — many people in Pakistan do not have access to safe drinking water while hundreds if not thousands of people are undernourished and lack basic sanitation facilities. It is “tragedy of the commons”, everyone is trying to get maximum benefit from the resources nature has to offer, yet no one is willing to conserve them for future use. Saying that human society is at threat that it set up for itself would be an understatement.
The economy is suffering with every birth. Pakistan has an economy based on agriculture sector, which is highly dependent on the availability of cultivable land, and freshwater for irrigation — their supply is however, stagnant while the demand keeps growing keeping in view the increasing population. Hence, it will eventually outgrow the supply, resulting in famine.
The unstable population growth in Pakistan is a threat to another precious resource, water. Karachi — the 11th most populated city in the world, suffers from water scarcity, affecting the agricultural production and resulting in food crises. This inefficient agriculture system all over Pakistan is the victim of water scarcity and its culprit too. It puts pressure on the water resources and eventually leads to water crisis.
Urban areas and population issues
The climatic conditions play a key role in it too. Karachi’s Hub Dam for instance, supplied water to most of the areas in and around Karachi but now it is running dry owing to the lack of rainfall, resulting in water scarcity. In short, these resources are limited all around the world and it won’t be long before conflict ensues over them. Hence, their sustainable management is needed.
This population explosion is adversely impacting the economic development of Pakistan as well, affecting people’s standard of living, mainly because the per ca-pita economic growth is reducing with the increase in population. There is a strong correlation between the persistent population growth and poverty due to the lack of employment opportunities and education facilities.
This poverty, hence, can be eliminated by the steady economic growth, and since population growth and economic growth do not go hand in hand in developing nations like Pakistan, population growth must be controlled as well to win the battle against poverty. Poverty and illiteracy are both the result and leading causes of increasing birth rates.
Furthermore, the population growth puts pressure on public healthcare services, which are already facing enough challenges in Pakistan as it is. Hence, the population sprawl will just add to their burden. The increasing population results in greater contact among the people making it easier to transmit diseases, whether it is common flu or deadly viruses like COVID-19.
overpopulation in Pakistan problems
To control the upcoming population explosion and to mitigate the impacts of overpopulation, Pakistan needs to focus on population control objectives and the national institutions must implement the policies that follow the guidelines given by international institutes — that are working for the well-being of global communities. Moreover, in Pakistan, mainly due to the religious implications, our youth considers family planning a taboo.
Hence, family planning programs should be reintroduced by the government so that people can have access to information and services available regarding family planning.