The term social problems is a generic term applied to a range of conditions and behaviors which are assumed to be manifestations of social disorganization and this conditions warrant changing through some means of social engineering. Social problems are matters that directly or indirectly affect almost all members of the society. They are considered to be either problems or controversies that are related to moral values of a people. Social problems can be classified into 4 main groups which include; politics, pollution, climate change and poverty.
Refers to a process by which groups of individuals use power and influence to work together in collective decision making. The term is mostly applied to the behavior common within governments however politics has been observed in many other group interactions such as academic, corporate and religious institutions. Politics can be termed a social problem because most of the decisions made by governments and other institutions may not necessarily favor the poor in society. Powerful leaders are known to use politics to satisfy their selfish interests through misappropriation of public funds which in turn slows down development processes as seen in many third world countries.
Pollution refers to adding contaminants into the environment. These contaminants are known to cause disorder, instability, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem. Pollution can be as a result of chemical substances or energy, such as heat, light or noise. Pollutants, which are the elements of pollution, can be naturally occurring or as a result of foreign substances or energies. Pollution is a major social problem everywhere because of the presence of human economic activities such as industrial activity and day to day activities. Industrial activity is the main source of pollution contributing to over 70% of world’s water and land pollution. There is however a certain degree of pollution that is accepted as normal industrial practice.
3. Climate change
Climate change refers to the change in statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to even millions of years. It can be change in the average weather or change in the distribution of events for instance greater or less extreme weather (rain). Climate change can be a social problem in that it is known to be caused by human activities such as pollution which in turn affects the weather patterns of different regions. Global warming is a good example of climate change that is caused by human activities over the years. Changing climate patterns affect economic activities such as farming which in turn may cause poverty to communities dependent on farming as an economic activity
Poverty refers to the lack of basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, clothing and shelter, health care and education because of the lack of the finances to afford them. There are two types of poverty namely absolute poverty and relative poverty. Relative poverty is the condition of having relatively fewer resources or less income than others within in a similar society or compared to the worldwide averages. Absolute poverty on the other hand refers to having no resources at all. Poverty is a social problem because it reduces the economic growth due to low levels of production. Today, steady and continuous economic development has been constrained by the lack of economic freedom for many individuals due to linked problems such as corruption, political instability and unemployment.
The above four social problems affect every society/country in the world. For members of a society to enjoy quality life, the above problems have to be dealt with seriously. Global warming threatens to reverse major human progress achieved over the years, causing poverty reduction efforts unachievable. Industrialized countries have to lead the switch from use of fossil fuel based energy to clean energy. Political solutions are also required for meaningful and long term policies that will fight for all.