Yes overpopulation is a problem for more things than pollution from cooking fires in the third world. In fact that may be the smallest problem.
Population concentration in big cities creates both local and global problems and the increased affluence of that population have a much bigger effect.
BTW; Each African, Chinese or Indian produce a lot less pollution than each American or European, but they are catching up.
When rain forest is cleared to produce beef for Big Macs in newly rich countries it have a double, if not triple effect;
- Reduced forest cover reduces the CO2 absorption, even if the area is grass covered.
- Cattles produce large amounts of methane, which is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2.
- Runoff from grassing land pollute rivers, lakes and the sea with phosphate causing algae blooms and reef bleaching.
When the forest is cut and land cleared by burning, especially in areas with peat and/or brown coal, the immediate effect on local pollution and climate is drastical, but once replanted with Palm Oil the long term effect is less, except on the fauna and flora.
We can do little with natural oil seepage or volcanoes, but we can do something with man made pollution.
With a thousand ships within port limits at any time, all using their diesel generators for power supply and bearing in mind the small area that is Singapore territorial waters, the closeness of even more ships at anchor in adjacent Malaysian and Indonesian waters, plus the large number of ships passing through Singapore Strait every day, it is inevitable that there will be an effect on the local particle pollution.
When you add in the density of cars and the large number of refineries and petrochemical industry, it is amazing that the PSI Index stays in the good range most days. (Burning season in Indonesia exempted)
But the problem is not just particle pollution that affect local areas of high shipping traffic. The big picture the emission of greenhouse gasses that affects the world climate over time. That is what is being debated in Paris and at IMO, as well as particle, SOX and NOX emissions.ate