The Damaging Impact of Overpopulation on the Environment

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The Damaging Impact of Overpopulation on the Environment

6.5 billion…This is not a whole lot of bacteria, but when it comes to humans, it is a very formidable number. The human population has been increasing at an extremely high rate in the last century and unfortunately, not much has been done to slow down this process. Undoubtedly, overpopulation is a global issue. It is global because it pertains to all of humanity, but global also means that it affects the whole world, i.e. the environment. Almost all human activities impact negatively the environment in one form or another, and as human population expands, the damaging effects on the environment multiply. Here are some of the most imminent environmental problems that results from human population growth:

1. Water supply. Water is one of the basic elements of live, and it is needed to preserve the balance of every ecosystem. It cools down and cleanses the environment and is used by plants and animals to carry out vital functions. As human population increases, so does the consumption of water. In the past fifty years, the per capita availability of fresh water has decreased by one third.* Fresh water supply is a problem in most of the developing countries, especially those located in arid climates such as in Africa, South America and Asia. In some African countries, fresh water needs to be carried daily from sources more than two hours walking distance. Water supply is an issue in urban areas as well. In Beijing, the water table falls down with as much as two meters annually.*

2. Water pollution. The problem with water is not only over consumption, but also pollution. "More than 95% of urban sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated into the nearest wa...

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...cological niche. The constant clearing of the Amazon forest has had devastating effect on many rare tropical species. It has been estimated that 10% of the species in the region have become extinct.*

All of the above environmental issues clearly indicate that the natural assets that humans take for granted are in grave danger. Most of the damage on the environment caused by human expansion is long-lasting and in some cases permanent. There is no doubt that the human population will continue increasing and the condition of the environment will exacerbate. Therefore, only a sustainable approach toward conserving what currently exists as natural resources could counteract the detrimental effects of overpopulation on the natural world.

Source:

"United Nations issues wall chart on population, environment and development." M2 Presswire: May 1992, v.20, p.1-39.

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