How Overpopulation Causes Environmental Problems

For the past few decades, following the rapid developments in technologies, medicine, and education, human’s population has also significantly increased. Currently, the world’s population is estimated to be 7.8 billion, almost 5 times higher than it was in the 1900s (1.6 billion). Moreover, it’s also predicted that by 2100, this number would increase to almost 11 billion. This exponentially upward trend in population has brought about numerous problems regarding our natural environments.

First, the demand for food and water supplies would increase as the population becomes more and more crowded. This leads to the increase in demand for farmland used in food production, putting pressure on land resources and the expansion process. Forests will be destroyed as more and more resources are needed for the ever-growing needs of humans, resulting in deforestation along with the extinctions of numerous animals and plants species due to the loss of their natural habitats. Every year, a total amount of 28 million hectares of trees are being cut down for production. And according the The World Counts, it’s estimated that around 28,000 species might go extinct in the next 25 years just because of deforestation. Also, 10% of the world’s rainforests would be all we have left by 2030, which can also disappear in the following one hundred years.

Moreover, as the world is becoming more overpopulated, the amount of wastes being released into the environment is also simultaneously increasing. These types of wastes, mostly industrial wastes created in factories and industries, are emitted into rivers, seas and other water resources, causing serious water pollution. This can kill many animal species relying on these water bodies to survive, causing a disruption in the food chains and other serious consequences. At the end of the day, humans are also affected by this process. Chemicals released into the environment can poison our water sources, increasing the chances of us getting infected by diseases like typhoid, cholera or malaria as a result of consuming contaminated water. We can see the drastic effects overpopulation has on the world, particularly on the environment and our lives.

What can we do about it? One solution is to decrease the birth rates in overpopulated areas by promoting family planning. This allows families to decide the amount of children they want and the spacing between pregnancies, which largely contributes to stabilizing the fertility rate and decreasing the needs of unwanted abortions. An example of this is the one-child policy, a program implemented by the Chinese government in an effort to control the rapid growing population and limit most Chinese families to one child each. The effect of this policy is positive, reducing China’s birth rate to an average of 1.5, meaning that an average woman gives birth to approximately 1.5 children. Moreover, perhaps the most important effect of overpopulation on human’s life is the exceptionally rapid rate at which humans are consuming natural resources, particularly fossil fuels. By taking this issue into consideration, the governments need to be more mindful of the pace at which we are exploiting these natural resources and implement laws to control this problem. Also, the governments can invest in developing other renewable power sources like solar, wind or hydropower to replace the fossil fuels which take millions of years to produce and are running out in an extremely fast pace.

In conclusion, overpopulation is a huge problem that puts a lot of pressure on our lives, especially our environment, causing numerous consequences such as shortages of food resources, water pollution and deforestation. It’s essential that people are aware of the consequences as well as the causes of overpopulation so that they can be more mindful of this problem and make better decisions. All in all, as long as people are aware of this problem, it will always be in control and can always be prevented. 

16 December 2021
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