“A Study on the Relationship between Overpopulation and Depletion of Natural Resources that Affects the Economic Status of the Philippines” Essay
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In the year 1990, there were approximately 60.70 million people living in the Philippines. Population increased from 1990 to 2000 by approximately 15.81 million people. In 2012, the Philippines total reaches 103.78 million compared to the 2000 population of 81.16 million. The size of the human population is changing at an extremely high rate in the last years which makes the state the 12th most overpopulated country in the whole world. According to U.S. Agency for International Development (2000), it is foreseen that in the year 2030, the population growth will be unstoppable and will be doubled.
Population matters in country’s economy. The rapid population growth is revealed to have both affirmative and undesirable impact on economy and financial system of a country depending on how it is utilized. An overpopulated country is said to produce great number in terms of human resources.
Villegas (2010) stated that large population is “both a source of manpower and as a base for a domestic market on which the economic growth of a country can be sustained, despite periodic ups and downs in the global market.
” It also points positive impact on economies of scale and specialization, the possible spur to favorable motivation caused by increased dependency. However, overpopulation and rapid population growth hinders economic development. Theoretical analysis contends that high population growth creates pressures on limited natural resources. If population grows at 2% a year, supplies of housing, food and other goods must increase that much just to maintain the current standard of living. Water Resources
Water is a basic economic resource which is a natural endowment to man. Nowadays, it is becoming a scarce resource with the ever-growing demand for household and industrial consumption. As an economic resource, pricing of water is largely determined by the cost of extraction from its natural water supply source and the cost of distribution. Water is likewise a basic need for the survival of individuals and family households. Many health and morbidity problems are associated with the quality and availability of water for human consumption. With the ever increasing population, the demand for potable water in urban areas has also increased, while the water sources began to decline over time. Water pollution is a major reason for the decreased availability of and access to clean potable water.
This was the observation made by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Senior Research Fellow Dr. Danilo Israel whose review imputes poor management of freshwater water resources, particularly in the area of water pollution. He says that while freshwater is abundant in the country, estimates show that only 39 percent of classified inland surface water bodies are potential water sources for domestic use. Based on further estimates, he also said that only 1,907 cubic meters (the second lowest among Southeast Asian countries) of freshwater are available to every Filipino annually.
This predicament, according to Israel, is further exacerbated by water pollution. Access to clean and adequate water remains an acute seasonal problem in urban and coastal areas in the Philippines. The National Capital Region (Metro Manila), Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, and Central Visayas are the four urban critical regions in terms of water quality and quantity. If this trend continues, more Filipinos will not have enough access to safe-drinking water especially since demand for clean water constantly increases with population growth. As a consequence, the country may not attain the Millennium Development Goal that at least 86.6 percent of the population should have adequate access to potable water by 2015. Cleanfreshwater is a vital natural resource and without its ample supply, the lives and health of people could be put to risk.
Specifically, there is a positive relationship between water pollution and water-borne diseases. The World Bank, for instance, has estimated that exposure to water pollution and poor sanitation accounts for one-sixth of reported disease cases, and nearly 6,000 premature deaths per year. Additionally, just over a third or 36 percent of the country’s river systems are classified as sources of public water supply. Up to 58 percent of groundwater sampled is contaminated with coli form and needs treatment. Land Resources
Land resources refer to a delineable area of the earth’s terrestrial surface, encompassing all attributes of the biosphere immediately above or below this surface, including those of the near-surface, climate, the soil and terrain forms, the surface hydrology (including shallow lakes, rivers, marshes and swamps), the near-surface sedimentary layers and associated groundwater and geohydrological reserve, the plant and animal populations, the human settlement pattern and physical results of past and present human activity (terracing, water storage or drainage structures, roads, buildings, etc.) (FAO/UNEP, 1997). Arable land (suitable for growing crops) covers just three percent of the world’s surface. Based on historical data arable land decreases by 25 million acres annually – it is estimated that one hectare (one hectare equals 2.47 acres) of productive land is lost every 7.67 seconds.
The greatest causes of lost productive land are desertification and urbanization. New deserts are growing at a rate of 51,800 square kilometers per year. As the dwindling forest cover, logically increases rainfall runoff, which favors the floods, soil erosion and reduces the amount that seeps into the ground to recharge aquifers. Wetlands often disappear in bits and pieces as developers fill in small ponds or parts of swamps and deltas.
The cumulative effect, however, can be devastating for wildlife and people. In some states, more than 90 percent of wetlands have vanished. Wetlands not only support wildlife but also filter the drinking supply humans rely on. Half of the planet’s plant and animal species live in rainforests. Less than 2.5 billion acres of tropical forest remain from the four billion acres on Earth just a few hundred years ago. That translates to a huge loss of habitat, and the likely extinction of untold species.
Most of the deforestation has occurred in the last few decades. There are many causes of habitat destruction, including logging, mining, oil drilling, and exploiting other natural resources; clearing land for agriculture and cattle ranches; development for residential areas; and roads for people to do all these activities. If the present rate of destruction continues, today’s forests will be gone by the year 2081.
The total land area of the Philippines is about 30 million hectares, half of which is classified as forestlands, 47% as alienable and disposable lands, and the remaining 3% as unclassified forestlands. Logging has seriously depleted forest cover since the early 20th century. And there are more problems arising from the reduction of forest cover, as they will facilitate access to forest roads to pick up lumber, etc., They become drier and more susceptible to fires, which further reduces more wooded area and this, in turn, makes less rainwater to seep into the ground.
As human population expands, the damaging effects on the environment multiply. Fast depletion of natural resources is just one of the effects of overpopulation. In our relentless effort to quench our never ending needs, we have destroyed the habitat of so many flora and fauna that this planet had nurtured to near perfection, through billions of years of evolution. The central issue for us over the next few decades is not climate change or the global financial crisis – it is whether humanity can achieve and sustain the enormous harvest we need from this planet to feed ourselves.
The earth is only capable of sustaining a certain amount of life. As the population continues to rise, the supply of food will continue to dwindle. We can only produce a fixed amount of food with the resources we have. The rising number of humans also necessitates further land for them to use as habitation. Therefore, the more land used for us to live on, the fewer land is available for farming. It is a vicious circle which has no end if the population growth is not curbed. The food consumed by human is influenced by wide range of cultural and individual differences, mainly due to ecological as well as personal reasons.
The source of much of the food consumed by man is terrestrial agricultural, which represents the most manipulated of all the non-urban ecosystems. There are two main types of agriculture (1) Crop agriculture in which plant production is harvested for use by man and (2) Animal agricultural where a crop from highly manipulated ecosystem is fed to domesticated animals. Food consumption pattern is different in different regions. The most important feature is that rice to the staple food for most Asians. In general a strong and healthy human consumes about 1.4 kg of food every day. Such a food serves as a source of energy and replacement of uses. Statement of the Problem
The study focused on the relationship between overpopulation and depletion of natural resources that affects the economic status of the Philippines. Specifically, the study sought to answer the following questions: 1. How does overpopulation affects our natural resources such as: a. Water
b. Land; and
2. How the environmental impacts due to overpopulation do affects the economy of the Philippines? Objectives of the Study The study intended to investigate and to improve the understanding on the relationship between overpopulation and depletion of natural resources that affects the economic status of the Philippines. More specifically, the objectives are: 1. To evaluate the effects of overpopulation on natural resources such as water, land and agriculture. 2. To determine the effects of depletion of natural resources due to overpopulation on economy of the Philippines.
Significance of the Study
The basic definition of economics is choice under scarcity. Economists like to study how scarcity of resources and the differences in the distribution of these resources affect decisions made by the people. This concept can be applied and is significant to a single person, a family or a country. Natural resources are not only in the Philippines, but also in the whole wide world are limited and scarce. Water, for example, a lot of people need it but there is a limited amount of it, and so they see a market develop for it. In addition there are things like land and labor. If people could all have whatever they wanted, there would be no need to ration or trade, and therefore, there will be no Economics.
Another, the management of natural resources is one of the most critical challenges facing the developing countries of today. The exploitation of high-value natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals and timber has often been cited as a key factor in triggering, escalating or sustaining violent conflicts around the globe. Furthermore, increasing competition and conflict for diminishing renewable resources, such as land and water, is on the rise. This is being further aggravated by environmental degradation, population growth and climate change.
The mismanagement of natural resources is contributing to new conflicts and obstructing the peaceful resolution of existing ones. This study is substantial to all the sectors of the economy, may it be the government, the private firms or the commoners and the residents of every country. This will give them the proper knowledge about how population affects the limited natural resources. Aside from being an informed citizen, this study aims and is significant to make a difference. This research is a qualitative research and not an action. There will be no particular question to be asked and no certain acts to do. But due to this paper, the readers will think and give ideas within themselves on how to preserve the natural resources and not ruining it. This is important to give standing to the issues concerning different aspects of the economy. Definition of Terms
Economics – A social science that studies how individuals, governments, firms and nations make choices on allocating scarce resources to satisfy their unlimited wants Macroeconomics – concentrates on the behavior of the aggregate economy Microeconomics – focuses on individual consumers.
Overpopulation – is a term that refers to a condition by which the population density enlarges to a limit that provokes the environmental deterioration, a remarkable decline in the quality of life, or a population collapse. Population density – denotes the number of inhabitants dwelling in a specific area, for example: 100 inhabitants per square Kilometer. Natural resources – is resources occurring in nature that can be used to create wealth.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – is the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year, equal to total consumer, investment and government spending, plus the value of exports, minus the value of imports. Gross National Product (GNP) – is the total value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a particular year, plus income earned by its citizens (including income of those located abroad), minus income of non-residents located in that country. Desertification – is the conversion of grassland or an already arid land into a desert through indiscriminate human actions magnified by droughts. Resources depletion – an economic term referring to the exhaustion of raw materials within a region
This chapter provides a framework for understanding the relationship between overpopulation and the natural resources.
Figure 1.1 The Variable and its Relationship Economics deals with the efficient allocation of limited resources to satisfy the unlimited consumption of the citizens. Governments intervene on balancing scarce resources through mechanisms such us price rationing system. They can facilitate economic activity in certain geographic regions.
There is a direct relationship between population and resources. Figure 1.1 shows different variables in the study, population as the independent and natural resources such as land, agriculture and water as dependent variable. This study will provide sufficient knowledge on the effects of great population in the Philippines to the limited and scarce resources that the country is facing. Moreover, it will suggest some solutions on how it will be efficiently allocated to the citizens of the country. Philippines, as one of the developing countries, contributes on the worldly economic activities, thus, making its own economy create a great impact on the economy of the world.
The Philippines is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the south by the Sulu and Celebes seas, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the north by Luzon Strait. The Philippine Islands lie off the southeastern coast of the Asian mainland, across the South China Sea from Vietnam and China. The shortest distance to the mainland, from the northern Philippines to Hong Kong, is about 805 km (500 mi). The Philippine Islands extend about 1,850 km (1,150 mi) from north to south (between Taiwan and Borneo Island) and about 1,100 km (700 mi) from east to west.
Malaysia and Indonesia, which each hold territory on Borneo, are the republic’s closest political neighbors. The Philippines covers a total area, not including its extensive coastal waters, of 300,000 sq km (116,000 sq mi). More than 7,100 islands and islets are included in the Philippine archipelago. The 11 largest islands make up more than 90 percent of the total area. Only about 460 islands are larger than 2.6 sq km (1 sq mi), and about 1,000 are populated.
The Philippines has extensive mineral deposits of copper, gold, silver, nickel, lead, and chromium. Other important, but less plentiful, deposits of zinc, cobalt, and manganese also exist. Copper has been mined extensively and is the leading mineral product, but many of the country’s mineral resources remain unexploited. The Philippines has limited offshore petroleum and natural gas reserves. About 19 percent of the Philippines is forested. Logging has seriously depleted forest cover since the early 20th century. The Philippine waters are abundant with many varieties of fish, which are an important natural resource as a staple of the Philippine diet and an export commodity. Johnson (2012) stated that one thing all humans on this planet need to survive is resources. Resources like food and water are bare essentials for life. The countries that are experiencing the highest growth rates are all developing countries, with the exception of the United States.
This countries lack the technology that other developed countries have and therefore things we consider basic they have never used. We watch our televisions everyday while they may have never seen a TV before. They also lack the basics that we take for granted like indoor plumbing. Some countries water supply is the same as their sewage. India has one of the fastest growing populations in the world and the Ganges River shows their lack of resources available to the people of India. The Ganges is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. It supports over 400 million people with a population density of 1,000 people per square mile. India is an example of developing country that has a rise in its population growth rate.
It cannot support its population now; many of the people in India are forced to bathe in the Ganges because they have no access to any other water source. If this population continues to grow the river will continue to get more and more polluted making it unsafe for the millions of people that rely on it. This is not the only place in the world that the larger populations are supported by limited resources.
Along with the people in India relying on the Ganges over three fifths of people in developing countries lack basic sanitation, one third have no access to clean water, and a quarter lack adequate housing. More often than not the places where the population growth rates are the highest are the places least able to support the rise in population. Only the United States can continue to support one of the world’s largest populations because we are a developed country and the increase comes mostly from immigration.
These countries that continue to grow, despite being limited in resources, are the biggest areas of deforestation and depletion of natural resources. These areas lack strong government and are unable to enforce the depletion of resources. The United Nations predict that currently 1 billion people lack the basic needs that we take for granted every day. With a lack of technology developing countries will continue to destroy resources at an alarming rate while many struggle to survive every day. Freshwater is the most fundamental of finite resources. It has no substitutes for most uses and is expensive to transport. But freshwater sources are dwindling or becoming contaminated throughout the world.
Chronic or acute water shortage is increasingly common in many countries with fast-growing populations, becoming a potential source of conflict. However, existing technologies offer great potential for improving on the efficiency of its use. Based from the study of Walden Bello, the state of the economy, even some of the administration’s friends have pointed out, is a thin reed on which to rest. In a recent article, Peter Wallace, an influential consultant, deconstructed the 7.3 per cent growth rate recorded for the Philippines in 2007, showing that the figure is actually a statistical fluke that stems from the way the measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is computed.
The figure actually masks something negative: the fall of imports by 5.4 per cent. “So because we had less imports, GDP looked good,” Wallace says. “From where I sit, that does not indicate a strong, growing economy, the best in 31 years.” With no less irony, the World Bank agrees:
“Remarkably, weaker import growth made the largest 1arithmetical contribution to the growth acceleration in 2000-07 compared to 1990-99.” It added that this was not “consistent with sustained fast growth in the longer term.”
The reality, Wallace points out, is indicated by the same brutal numbers: more poor people in 2007 than in 2000, more people without jobs, a real decline in average family income, the shrinking of the middle class as more people jump ship and swim to other shores. “Notwithstanding higher growth,” the World Bank chimes in, “the latest official poverty estimates show that between 2003 and 2006, when GDP growth averaged 5.4 per cent, poverty incidence increased from 30.0 to 32.9 per cent. This level of poverty incidence is almost as high as it was in 2000 (33 per cent). Indeed the magnitude of poor Filipinos rose to its highest level in 2006: of a population of 84 million in 2006, 27.6 million Filipinos fell below the national poverty threshold of P15, 057.” If you pop the famous “Ronald Reagan” question to most Filipinos—“Do you feel better off now than four years ago”—there is no doubt about how they would answer. For many people, the main problem confronting the economy is spelled G-MA.
But for those who have spent time studying the Philippine economy, Arroyo is not the problem, but part of a bigger problem that extends far into the recent past. The collective responsibility of the last five administrations for our economic malfunctioning becomes stark when viewed in a comparative context. According to the latest Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with the growth in GDP per capita averaging 1.6 per cent per annum in the period 1990 to 2005, the Philippines’ economic growth record was the worst in Southeast Asia, with even all the so-called lower-tier ASEAN countries significantly to outstripping it. Chapter IV
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The world’s population reached over 6.60 billion in July 2007 and will reach 6.68 billion by July this year and 7.00 billion by July 2012 (according to CIA estimates). Countries with large populations and few food resources or poor food distribution programs could end up becoming desperate refugees moving to their neighboring countries. One out of every seven people alive, go to bed hungry. Every day, 25,000 people die because of malnutrition and hunger-related diseases. Almost 18,000 of them are children under 5 years
Figure 4.1 Population in the Philippines
The figure above shows the increasing population of the Philippines. From approximately 80 million, the population increases up to 100 million. As population increases, natural resources also get used up faster than they can be replaced. This can result on economic pressure and interrelated web of global environmental problems such as resources depletion. Problem no. 1 How does overpopulation affects our natural resources such as water, land and agriculture. Population and Water Resources
Population influences the freshwater resources, its quality and supply, in both rural and urban areas through demands for water and human activities such as irrigation. One major consequence of overpopulation has been the outstanding usage of freshwater, thus leading to a major freshwater crisis that will definitely affect the future of our planet. It is also domineering to see the whole issue in perspective and how the increasing number of people in the surface of the Earth is relative to the amount of waste being produced. Hence, the constant pollution of the environment, along with bodies of water has exponentially decreased the quantity of usable water for the future of our generations. This has critically been an issue because the oceans are mistaken for available water, but in actuality, the Earth has a finite supply of fresh water which in order to be converted from saline water to potable water, the amount of energy needed is prohibited.
Thus water has become quite a scare commodity that few countries and civilizations seem to take into consideration. The National Water Resources Board under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Philippines is responsible for ensuring the optimum exploitation, utilization, development, conservation and protection of the country’s water resource, consistent with the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management.
The country is endowed with rich natural resources – including water – which are essential for the country’s economic development and in meeting its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Water resources of the Philippines include inland freshwater (rivers, lakes, and groundwater), and marine (bay, coastal, and oceanic waters). Overall, there is sufficient water but not enough in highly populated areas, especially during dry season.
Citing the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Israel explains that the number of monitored freshwater bodies which failed the standard in terms of Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) has been increasing significantly at average annual rates of 22.90 percent and 22.30 percent, respectively, from 2000 to 2007. Likewise, he explains that many freshwater bodies, especially those in urban areas, have been contaminated with suspended solids, heavy metals and other harmful chemicals.
Population and Land Resources
According to Higgins (1982), carrying capacity presumes that there are critical levels of population that any given land area can support. This level is determined by soil and climatic conditions. The carrying capacity and population has a direct relationship. When population increases in a given area, the increased demand on production can induce stress and consequent degradation of the land resource. As population grows continuously, the space in a given place remains constant, thus, making it limited.
Land resources can also be limited because of land problems and imbalance. In the past 100 years the world has lost almost half its forest area. And, as indicated by reports of the FAO (Food and Agriculture) the Earth is losing on net every year 11.2 million hectares of virgin forest. This is reportedly the World Wildlife Fund, mainly due to its use as an energy source (about 2000 million people worldwide depend on wood as fuel) of agricultural and livestock expansion and mining and logging companies activities, often beyond control. Population and Agriculture
Some theories propose that population growth would outrun the ability to produce food, thus, leading this to famine, disease, and other disasters. The use of land, specifically in agriculture, is an essential part of humanity. We depend on agriculture to supply us with food, fiber and biofuels. Without a highly efficient, progressive, and productive agricultural system, our society would collapse and cease to function.
As the population grows and grows continuously, we are demanding more and more from the agricultural systems, pushing them to their limits. At this rate, we would have to double, or triple the agricultural production in our economy. The rapid increase in population, urbanization, and industrialization has also adversely affected the quality of water, especially in densely populated areas and regions of industrial and agricultural activities. The discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater and agricultural runoff has caused extensive pollution of the receiving water-bodies. Problem no.
2 How the environmental impacts due to overpopulation do affects the economy of the Philippines? As the population grows, it pushes the GDP per capita of a nation down. While the government tries to meet the needs of its people, with increase in population, the demand for resources keeps growing. With not enough food to take care of its men, such countries can’t even think of producing surplus to export and with this starts the vicious cycle of relying on foreign debt. With more people and less resources, there is unemployment that leads to poverty and increased crime rate.
Shrinking habitat is giving rise to increased conflict between man and animals. As the borders between forests and human settlements gets blurred by the day, human beings are being exposed to viruses that are carried by wild animals who have the immunity that we lack. This is precipitating in newer and more virulent strains of microorganisms causing serious diseases in human beings.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The human population has been increasing at an extremely high rate in the last century and unfortunately, not much has been done to slow down this process. Undoubtedly, overpopulation is a global issue. It is global because it pertains to all of humanity, but global also means that it affects the whole world, i.e. the environment. Almost all human activities impact negatively the environment in one form or another, and as human population expands, the damaging effects on the environment multiply. As the population grows, it pushes the GDP per capita of a nation down.
While the government tries to meet the needs of its people, with increase in population, the demand for resources keeps growing. With not enough food to take care of its men, such countries can’t even think of producing surplus to export and with this starts the vicious cycle of relying on foreign debt. This puts the country in debt at stretches the government’s already meager resources. Furthermore, when a country is overpopulated, there is a high rate of unemployment because there just aren’t enough jobs to support the population. This results in a high level of crime because the people will need to steal things in order to survive.
As natural resources become scarce, the production is bound to decrease. However, in a crowded society, demand remains strong. This causes the prices of goods increase, in order to balance supply and demand. However, a price change cannot suddenly reduce the need for a large population of. Therefore, prices remain high and continue to grow even as people consume expensive products. The depletion of natural resources is one of the most critical problems of the global community is facing, especially after the sharp increase in world population over the last century. Each person has a number of vital (food, drink, clothing) and non-life (education, employment, recreation) needs, which all require the consumption of Earth’s resources.
When the number of people applying to these needs becomes extremely high, the shortage becomes a critical problem in extreme cases can cause a “Malthusian catastrophe” According to the theory of overpopulation advanced by Enlightenment demographer Thomas Robert Malthus, Malthusian catastrophe is an event which results from a period of unchecked population growth. Many determining factors build the success or demise of a country. Our forefathers have created that successful nation with blood and sweat, through trials and tribulations. It is up to this generation to ensure the advantageous outlook of this country for our future offspring. This population difficulty casts an impending downfall for our country and must be stopped. Research and analysis need to be performed, consequently summarizing the most favorable actions to be taken.
These actions then need to be embraced by state and federal governments, who in turn need to be aggressive in enacting firm and dynamic policies to thwart this crisis. Food shortage will be prevented or lessened if we quickly stabilize population and find some as-yet-discovered agricultural advancement. Overpopulation causes rural farming people to outgrow their lands, so the grown children move to cities. Urbanization eats up farmland, reducing crop production. Also growing seasons are becoming hotter, so many crops fail due to heat and drought. Overuse of the soils caused by overpopulation leads poor nourishment for crops and eventually desertification. Overpopulation draws on available water to the point that there is not enough to water crops.
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