Effects of Population Growth
As of 1950, the world had an approximate population of 2.5 billion people (Whitfield, Baulch, Chun & Westbrook, 2015). Five decades later, the rate of the population growth has escalated to reach 7.4 billion people as of the end of 2015 (Whitfield et al., 2015). The average population growth rate is estimated to stand at 1.13% per annum (Whitfield, et al. 2015). Unfortunately, while the world continues to witness an increasing population, natural resources have remained the same. As a result, human beings are putting increasing pressure on the planet thereby threatening public health and development. Moreover, they have encroached into land spaces that were initially reserved as natural zones such as coastlines and forests. This action has resulted in extreme water pollution and land degradation. Therefore, unless the world identifies an ideal method to stop the growth of its population, it is likely that future generations will be incapable of fulfilling their future needs because of the negative impact of destruction caused to the environment.
As initially mentioned, the world’s population is growing at a rate of 1.13% p.a. A variety of factors impact the recent growth rates in the world’s population. For instance, access to health facilities and education to lead a healthier life has played key roles in enabling human beings to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Moreover, the baby boomer population is currently still active in reproduction, which has also pushed the world’s population higher. On average, statistics indicate that over 200,000 births take place annually (Coale& Hoover, 2015). Unfortunately, the UN mentions that even after putting in place measures to educate the society, it is unlikely that the current population growth rates will go down.
The Asian continent is the most affected in terms of population growth. China has the highest world population at a staggering 1.3 billion while India has 1.2 billion people (York, Rosa & Dietz, 2015). Today, the former has put relevant measures to help curb its population growth by introducing a one-child policy per household. Similarly, India is using family planning and economic development programs as a way to help reduce the population explosion in the country(York, Rosa & Dietz, 2015). Additionally, India has ensured that its health systems are in place to enable women to have the guarantee of the safety and health of their children thereby reducing the need to give birth to too many children as a form of security.
Unfortunately, the increasing population has been found to be a major hurdle for most countries. Currently, countries such as India and China suffer from the population pressure that is being exerted on their environment. Forests have to be cleared to pave the way for human settlement. The effects of human activities have given rise to the recently experienced heat waves in the region that claimed the lives of several people. Moreover, governments experiencing extreme pressure in providing for their populace in terms of good services, infrastructure, and other critical services. Poverty levels continue to rise because of the lack of economic development and destruction of the environment, which is a precious resource (Coale& Hoover, 2015). The effects on the environment are not only unique to China and India. On the contrary, the entire world is experiencing challenges in meeting the demands of its populace due to rapid population growth.
In conclusion, unless radical changes are put in place to conserve the environment, future generations will have a challenging time in responding to their needs. Ideally, only human beings have a solution to the challenges facing their environment. Equally, unless ideal ways of dealing with the population explosion and the resultant concerns over environment conservation are identified, it is likely that human needs in terms of food production, water resource management, and energy needs will be unmet in the future.
Coale, A. J., & Hoover, E. M. (2015). Population growth and economic development. Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press.
Whitfield, C. J., Baulch, H. M., Chun, K. P. & Westbrook, C. J. (2015). Beaver-mediated methane emission: The effects of population growth in Eurasia and the Americas. Ambio, 44(1), 7-15.
York, R., Rosa, E. A. & Dietz, T. (2015). A tale of contrasting trends: Three measures of the ecological footprint in China, India, Japan, and the United States, 1961-2003. Journal of World-Systems Research, 15(2), 134-146.
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