By Harsh Vardhan Singh

There is long antiquity of swot and discourse about the interactions between population growth and the environment. In the viewpoint of a British thinker Malthus, for example, a growing population exerts pressure on agricultural land, causing environmental degradation, and forcing the cultivation of land of higher as well as poorer quality. This environmental degradation ultimately leads to reduced agricultural yields and food availability, famines and diseases and death, thereby diminishing the rate of population growth. Population growth, because it is directly proportional to the pressure on the assimilative capacity of the environment, is also seen as a major cause of air, water, and solid-waste pollution.

The result, Malthus summarised, is an equilibrium population that enjoys low levels of both income and Environmental quality. Increase in the population leads to illegal public dumping, as the amount of garbage produced is directly proportional to the population whereas indirectly proportional to the dumping spots available to the people. Urban India produces 62 million tonnes of waste annually, and according to some predictions, it is found that this will reach 165 million tonnes till 2030.

photo credits- unsplash

Talking about air quality, emissions do increase as population increases, but not as fast. With the growing population of a city, the emission increases, but the per capita emission decreases. There are fewer tons of emissions per person in cities because cities are more efficient than living dispersed over a large area. If there are 10 times as many people in a city as there used to be, there will be only about 6 times as many local emissions over the same time period. So more people have a larger demand for goods and services, increasing the total emissions, but the per capita emission decreases due to urbanisation. When it comes to the liquid state, India lacks sufficient treatment capacity but also the sewage treatment plants that exist are neither operated nor maintained. The main reason pointing to all the above-mentioned problems is – more demand and less supply, and this all can properly be cured after proper population control guidelines, which the government is expected to issue on regular basis and also should inform the citizens regarding the effect of population growth on the environment which would definitely harm the sustainability and can cause hardships to the upcoming generations.

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