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  • Writer's pictureRamesh Chaurasia

Unplanned Urbanization: The cause of all the urban concerns?

Unplanned Urbanization: The cause of all the urban concerns?

The escalating population and the deprivation in the rural areas due to the lack of rural development are compelling the rural population to migrate to the urban areas in search of better employment opportunities so that they can sustain themselves and their families. There are serious concerns associated with this increasing influx of the rural population in the urban areas.

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Pathetic living conditions

Dharavi slum in Mumbai is the largest slum in Asia with a population of over 4 lakhs and its population is continuously on a rise. There is overcrowding and congestion in the slums and the slum dwellers are forced to live in miserable conditions as they lack even the basic amenities of life including access to safe drinking water and sanitation and as a result, they are exposed to infectious diseases. The same is the case with other slums in our country and as the population of immigrants is on a rise, new slums and squatters are emerging in the urban areas.

The trap of poverty

The exceptionally high costs of living in the urban areas and the low levels of income trap people in the cycle of endless poverty. It becomes difficult for them to arrange even a single meal for a day and it has been reported that a majority of the slum dwellers, especially the children suffer from malnutrition. Poverty due to urbanization does not only deny the poor population the basic human rights that are the right to education and the right to adequate nutrition but also force them to engage in illegal activities like theft to make their ends meet. This is one of the primary reasons behind the growth of crimes in urban areas

Skyrocketing urban unemployment

Overpopulation of unskilled immigrants causes a surge in urban unemployment. This problem was exacerbated with the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. According to a report that I came across recently, during the first wave of the pandemic, the unemployment rate in urban areas surged to 20.9% and more than 40 crore informal workers were pushed to the verge of poverty.


The degradation of the environment and human health

The environmental effects of urbanization cannot be pushed aside. It leads to a further increase in the levels of air pollution which makes the population vulnerable to respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis. Not only that, the excessive waste which is not disposed off properly gives rise to multiple health hazards. Forests are cleared for human settlements and as a result, urban development increases the risk for environmental catastrophes like flash floods.

Ways to solve the problems

These concerns due to urbanization require our immediate attention and efforts have to be made to address them at the earliest. Following are some of the measures and actions that I feel should be taken in this direction to mitigate the social, economic, and environmental effects of urbanization:-

  • The development of agriculture and allied activities in the rural areas is imperative as this would ensure that there is no unemployment in the rural areas and they are earning the amount required to lead a quality life.

  • Skill-based and vocational training should be given to the rural populations who are migrating to urban areas so that they get jobs.

  • Efforts should be made to improve the living condition of the people living in slums. They should be provided with safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.

  • Provision of the necessities of life that includes healthcare facilities and education should be extended to every urban dweller.

  • Cities should be made sustainable by proper management of solid waste and making efforts to minimize air pollution like incentivizing the use of vehicles run by cleaner fuel, promoting the use of renewable energy, and providing cleaner fuel for cooking food to the urban poor.

Concluding words

The consequences of urbanization on the various aspects of urban life often get concealed. But I strongly believe that it is significant to dig deeper to understand the roots of the growing problems in the urban areas, that is the soaring unemployment, poverty, pollution, and threats to health and the environment. It is not urbanization that is the problem but unplanned urbanization that does not take into consideration and implement ways to address the various challenges.

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Author-Ramesh Chaurasia

A superior and highly experienced entrepreneur in the field of business for quite a long time now. Also, a philanthropist, author and public speaker who believes in working towards the overall well being and betterment of the society as a whole.

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