Cities across Africa have been expanding at a rapid pace. Over the past two to three decades, fertility rates of African women have remained at "about 6.3 to 6.6 children per woman," which is noticeably higher than most other geographical regions worldwide (Arku 256). High birth rates within the population remained in check with high death rates, but due to modern medicine, nutrition, and hygiene practices, mortality rates among their people have been reduced. Yes, this rapid population growth may be seen as progressive, but only if the larger population can be safely maintained.
Growth has been so rapid in African cities that their government has not been able to fully regulate and manage the urban environment. There are many problems raised by this uncontrolled urban population growth such as "traffic congestion, atmospheric pollution, depletion of natural resources, increase of natural and man made risks, urban sprawl, and other negative environmental and social effects" (Arku 263). The relationship between population growth and environmental pollution is inevitable. The more people that live in a given area the more water, resources, and energy they need and the more "pollutants, garbage, and solid wastes" they pump out (McNeil 287).
African cities are now attempting to solve problems caused by their rapid population boom and adopting ideas to better manage their environment. If the population cannot be controlled then at least there are steps being taken to better manage it. Extensive public transportation systems, water treatment plants, and sewage systems are all crucial in maintaining large populations. Regardless of all policies and plans, however, rapid population growth has far-reaching detrimental effects on the environment in Africa and across the world.
Arku, Godwin. "Rapidly Growing African Cities Need to Adopt Smart Growth Policies to Solve Urban Development Concerns." Urban Forum 20.3 (2009): 253-270. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 23 Nov 2009.
McNeil, J.R. "Something New Under The Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth Century World." W.W. Norton: New York, 2001. Print.