This literature review examines the environmental effects of overpopulation in China. The review includes four main studies that analyze specific consequences: water and aquatic ecosystem impact, land and resource depletion leading to loss of green areas, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, and land desertification. The researchers used different methods and sources such as the Pressure-State-Response (USSR) model, an urban-rural population model, and existing research papers.
The studies show that overpopulation in China has negative effects on the environment, highlighting the importance of implementing strategies and policies to tackle this problem. The population in China is growing quickly, which endangers the environment. Water resources are becoming scarce as the Chinese population surpasses what the land can support. Additionally, as China’s population continues to increase, conflicts over land and agricultural development also rise rapidly.
The main explanation for climate changes is currently attributed to human activity and population density. Shies Hang’s study reveals that the southwestern region of China is undergoing desertification, which essentially means that the land is becoming resource-depleted like a desert. Each article employs distinct research methodologies to support its claims. Asian Hong et al.’s research utilizes the Pressure-State-Response (USSR) approach, landscape ecology method, and Remote Sensing – Global Positioning System (RSI-GAPS) 7.
The authors classify indicators into three categories: Pressure indicators, State indicators, and Response indicators. These indicators are represented by high or low numbers. A high number implies significant water degradation in the region, while a low number indicates the opposite. The researchers analyze the data using the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), which utilizes four specific indicators.
Joanna Sheen employs an urban-rural population model to make predictions regarding population density, which is also presented as a spatial demographic-economic model 8. In contrast, Shies Wang investigates the studied region and utilizes indicators such as aerial photos and satellite images, comparing and analyzing the results with previous images and research from the field 9. Hung Mining-Et et al., on the other hand, opt not to use any research methods and instead reference previous studies and scientific predictions in their paper 10.
One of the most significant outcomes of overpopulation is the increasing shortage of water resources. In six districts of China, part of the Jinn region known for its vital water source, aquatic ecosystem, and surface, investigators observed the impact of industrial development and human actions on water pollution and scarcity. The study revealed that water scarcity and erosion, adverse effects of a rainy climate, insufficient land vegetation, climate change, and the decline of agricultural production all contribute to the desertification of land. These consequences are directly linked to the activities resulting from overpopulation.
The study conducted by Mining-Et et al. revealed that the GIG level has seen a rapid increase, posing a threat to national security. Additionally, the growing production of GIG has exacerbated the already existing issues of water scarcity and air pollution. The study also emphasized that climate change, apart from being triggered by overpopulation, is influenced by inadequate sustainable development practices, inefficient resource management, and excessive energy consumption. Consequently, these changes have had adverse effects on water resources and agricultural output.
These consequences give rise to other concerns including food scarcity, decrease in water resources, and land desertification 13. The findings clearly show that the excessive use of natural resources poses a threat to environmental protection and conservation 14. Hong et al. share the same opinion as they state that the worsening water condition impacts China’s population and aquatic ecosystem 15. 10 Hung Mining-Et et al., 363-366 11 Asian Hong teal., 321 12 Shies Wang et al., 127-129 13 Hung Mining-Et et al., 363-364 14 Joanna Sheen, 39 15 Asian Homogenate., 319 In the field of environment, every factor is closely interrelated. Each of the four studies demonstrates the link between land desertification, migration, excessive resource use, and population poverty. In Wang et al.’s research, poverty is identified as one of the most devastating causes of desertification because farmers are forced to increase grain production in order to survive and provide for their families. This overexploitation results in the land becoming barren and rocky 16.
According to Sheen’s study, China must import grains to meet the population’s needs due to overuse of agriculture. The deterioration of the environment and growth of land desertification are closely linked to the increasing population and their activities in this region. Wang et al., Sheen, Mining-Et et al. have all conducted studies that show the phenomenon of desertification is occurring because of excessive agricultural use and high population density in rural areas. As a result, populations are moving to cities that have already surpassed their capacity to support people.
In essence, Sheen explains that urban development and excessive land exploitation result in a decrease in green spaces, leading to environmental deterioration. The growing population increases the demand for resources. China’s predominant challenge lies in the lack of environmental protection measures and enforcement. Wang et al. found that effective policing is crucial in addressing this issue (131). Sheen also emphasizes the need for policies and actions to combat climate change (36). In response, China invests in sustainable technologies and implements environmental measures and policies (35-36). Hong et al. stress that water conservation and protection are vital for the survival of ecosystems (22). However, there is a gap in research concerning specific policies for environmental preservation.
Studies have shown that overpopulation in China has numerous effects on the ecosystem. Shies Wang et al. conducted a study revealing that population growth has exceeded the land’s capacity, leading to various consequences. In the Lilliputian district, farmers were forced to deforest the area to increase agricultural production due to this overwhelming population growth. Furthermore, despite favorable environmental conditions for such occurrences in the region, limited natural resources and activities related to overpopulation along with rapid population growth and social instability contribute to expediting this process.
The emission of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere caused by overpopulation has repercussions that are more than 13.8 times greater than the country’s average for sulfur smelting in specific areas such as Biggie and Gunny, resulting in air pollution and land desertification. A research conducted by Asian Hong et al. in the Jinn region convincingly revealed that this locality possesses exceptional water quality due to successful environmental conservation practices, low population density, and substantial agitation.