You are on page 1of 9

Juhari 1

Fazwa Atiqa
Ms. Bernice Chauly
English 101
25 March 2014
Population Overload

Overpopulation, also called overinhabitation, is generally defined as the presence of


excessive numbers of a species, which are then unable to be sustained by the space and
resources available. The carrying capacity refers to the maximum number of organisms in a
given species that an ecosystem can support. In overpopulation, the environment is unable to
support the numbers of humans or animals within its space (Human Overpopulation). The
human population begins growing very slowly, but over generations the growth rate increases
more and more rapidly, similar to a snowball affect. It took the human population thousands
of years to reach one billion in 1804. However, it took only 123 years for us to double to two
billion by 1927 (Hopkins). In 1960, the worlds population reached three billion. By 1974, the
population hit four billion, and if we continue at our current rate, the human population will
reach eight billion around the year 2028. Doubling from our present count of seven billion to
14 billion will have a much greater impact than our last couple doublings combined.
Undoubtedly, overpopulation is a global issue because it pertains to all of humanity, but
global also means that it affects the whole world, that is the environment. Almost all human
activities impact negatively on the environment in one form or another, and as human
population expands, the damaging effects on the environment multiply (Stancheva). The most
imminent environmental problems that result from human overpopulation are depletion of
resources, pollution and rise in unemployment.

Juhari 2
Humanitys rapidly growing consumption of natural resources for the production of
goods and services is steadily causing severe damage. Based on the 2012 Living Planet
Report, the World Wildlife Fund claims the human population is gobbling up the planets
resources at such an alarming rate that by 2030, even a second Earth would not be enough to
sustain us (Has Mankind Outgrown Earth?). With Americas 319 million people devouring
ocean marine life such as squid, crab, shrimp, sharks and so many other species, imagine at
what 7.2 billion humans devour worldwide. Oceanographer Callum Roberts stated that:
Fishing is undermining itself by purging the oceans of species on which it
depends. The wholesale removal of marine life and obliteration of their
habitats is stripping resilience from ocean ecosystems. Moreover, it is
undermining the ability of the oceans to support human needs
(Series on Overpopulation In America).
Overfishing is destabilizing the marine environment, contributing to the spread of anoxic dead
zone and the increasing prevalence of toxic algal blooms. Natures power to bounce back after
catastrophes or absorb the battery of stresses humanity is subjecting it to is being eroded,
collapsed fishery after another, species by species, place by place. Giant ships, using state-ofthe-art equipment throw out 50-mile long drift nets that capture 90 million tons of marine life
annually. These industrial fishing fleets exceed the oceans ecological limits. In Bolivia, the
Chacaltaya mountain range contains some of the most symbolic peaks in Bolivias Andes
Mountains. As it once was one of the only places to snow ski in this mountainous country,
these mountains are well-known to those in the Department of La Paz, as well as foreign
adventures. However, since 2009, the Chacaltayas glacier has been receding at a worrisome
and rapid pace. The reservoir that collects the water from the glacier provides 80 percent of
the drinking water to the city of El Alto and the outskirts of La Paz. According to recent
census, El Alto has a population of 827,000 people, which is increasing every year at a rate of

Juhari 3
5.1 percent per year (Avila). The city is home to migrants from the Aymara indigenous
communities on the Bolivian Altiplano, who settle in El Alto, often in impoverished
conditions. Additional conditions difficult access to water. A lot of people arrive from rural
areas to El Alto and establish wherever they can. Due to lack of money, they live in
neighborhoods where there is neither drinkable water nor sewer system which causes them to
dig holes until they find water. More or less in November, where wet season starts, the
residents would collect rain water. Nonetheless, at the end, lack of water added to existent
levels of poverty many times result in illnesses. Furthermore, human overpopulation could
contribute to deforestation where it is the activity of clearing Earths forests on a massive
scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent
of the worlds land area, but swaths the size of Panama are lost each and every year.
(Deforestation Facts, Deforestation Information). Deforestation occurs around the world,
though tropical rainforests are particularly targeted. Countries with significant deforestation
currently or in the recent past include Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of
Congo and other parts of Africa, and parts of Eastern Europe, according to the United Nations
Environment Program collaborating center (Szalay). Deforestation has many negative impacts
on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species as 70
percent of the worlds plants and animals live in forests and are losing their habitats to
deforestation. Loss of habitat can lead to species extinction. This is not only a biodiversity
tragedy but also has a negative consequences for medicinal research and local populations
who rely on the animals and plants in the forests for hunting and medicine. Moreover, the loss
of trees, without tree roots to anchor the soil and with increased exposure to sun, the soil can
dry out thus, leading to problems like increased flooding and inability to farm.

Juhari 4
Pollution occurs when pollutants contaminate the natural surroundings which brings
about changes that affect our normal lifestyles adversely as it disturbs our ecosystem and the
balance in the environment. Pollution occurs in different forms such as air, water, soil, noise,
and much more. Although noise pollution is a growing concern to all global dwellers, it is
perhaps a particularly pertinent issue to the people of India. A population of 1.2 billion cannot
help but contribute to the countrys growing plague of noise pollution. Naturally, being
exposed to noise pollution for prolonged periods of time has been known to bring about many
health problems such as insomnia, stress, decreased productivity, and hearing impairment
(Johnston). Unfortunately, humans are not the only ones feeling the negative effects of noise
pollution as it eventually drives precious wildlife species from their natural habitats,
increasing endangerment and even extinction. Additionally, Hong Kong has been named as
the worlds worst city for light pollution. In some areas of heavily mixed residential
developments like Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po, some residents have trouble sleeping as they
have to bear strong neon lights through their bedroom windows. Health specialists stated that
excessive amounts of light can disrupt the biological clock of humans and affect their brains
and hormone function (Cheung). In the Sai Kung countryside, the brightness emitted from the
giant LED billboards can affect the breeding of the firefly, an insect relying on light signals to
its mate. They will emit their signal less frequently, thus, it will affect their continuing
survival. In addition, the farm-to-table process in China starts in villages such as Chenjiawan
in the agricultural heartland as food from the fields mostly ends up in the local market, and
from there goes to other provinces. However, the fields are ringed by factories and irrigated
with water tainted by industrial waste. Levels of toxic heavy metals in the wastewater there
are among the highest in China, and residents fear the soil is similarly contaminated (Wong).
In recent years, the government has conducted widespread testing of soil across China, but it
has not released the results, adding to the fear and making it more difficult for most Chinese

Juhari 5
to judge what they eat and pinpoint the offending factories. The Ministry of Environmental
Protection has claimed one-sixth of Chinas arable land which is nearly 50 million acres
suffers from soil pollution and more than 13 million tons of crops harvested each year were
contaminated with heavy metals. Scientists have stated among the heavy metals seeping into
the field crops, the worst may be cadmium, which at high levels has been linked to organ
failure as it has a tendency to accumulate in the kidney and liver, weakening of bones and
cancer. In July 2013, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Pollution published some
findings that drew a connection between pollution of the Huai River and high rates of cancer
among people living by the river. From a population of 100 in 2007, it is decreased to 20
people living in Chenjiawan as many recent deaths had been from cancer due to consumption
of contaminated crops.
When population rapidly expand due to high birth rates or immigration,
unemployment rate increases as municipality lack the infrastructure to accommodate the new
arrivals. High and persistent unemployment, in which economic inequality increases, has a
negative effect on subsequent long-run economic growth (Unemployment). Based on an
individual perspective, unemployed individuals are unable to earn money to meet financial
obligations. Failure to pay mortgage payments or to pay rent may lead to homelessness
through foreclosure or eviction. Across the United States, the growing ranks of people made
homeless in the foreclosure crisis are generating tent cities, a temporary housing facility made
using tents (Burkeman). Unemployment increases susceptibility to malnutrition, illness,
mental stress and loss self-esteem, leading to depression. According to a study published in
Social Indicator Research, even those who tend to be optimistic find it difficult to look on the
bright side of things when unemployed (Even Optimists Get the Blues). In Yemen,
majority of Yemenis faces a variety of developmental challenges resulting from high
population growth and employment opportunities. Yemen has faced the unemployment issue

Juhari 6
for an extensive time, which led to the increase in the poverty rate especially for the past two
years after the revolution in 2011. With a population of 23.85 million, unemployment rate
reached 17 percent in 2010 with the ratio of females to over 54 percent and 12 percent among
males. During the revolution, Yemens economy is stuck in a slow growth cycle that is
generating employment opportunities which has led to the stagnation of per capital income
and high levels of unemployment, especially among youths. Nearly half the population are
living on less than two dollars per person per day (Al-Arashi). Dr. Taha Faseel, advisor to the
Ministry of Trade and Industry in Yemen, said that the Yemeni revolution appears originally
due to poor economic conditions as a result of high unemployment, high inflation rates, in
addition to the high rate of poverty which exceeded to 75 percent in 2011. Meanwhile in New
Delhi, India, the count of people being jobless is on the rise as economic slowdown and
slower business expansion activities cast a shadow on employment generation.
Unemployment rate in India is showing an increasing trend since 2011 when it was 3.5
percent. The same rose to 3.6 percent in 2012 and climbed to 3.7 percent in 2013. According
to the International Labour Organization report, India was experiencing jobless growth due
to the fact that total employment grew by only 1.1 million from 2005 to 2010
(Unemployment Levels Rising In India). A large amount of youth in the age group of 18 to
25 years despite being skilled are facing unemployment issues since there are not enough
opportunities for them.
To summarize, it is proven that the increased human population has affected the
society and the environment in terms of depletion of resources, various pollution and high
rate of unemployment. By contrast to overpopulation, a small population is beneficial to the
physical and mental health of the human society. If we reduced out current population
substantially, every person would have more natural resources and more healthful
environment. One thing which must be taken into consideration is the amount of time,

Juhari 7
money, and effort we have spent toward saving and extending lives. How much have we
contributed toward humanely controlling our number and preserving the environment?
Nature is a balance of existence. In order to coincide with nature, we must balance the
number of lives which we produce with the saving and extending of lives. We must not use
resources any faster than they can be reproduced. We need to respect ourselves by learning to
respect the environment which we rely upon for our own existence. If not, we will cease to
exist.
(1964 words)

Juhari 8
Work Cited

Al-Arashi, Fakhri. "Unemployment and Poverty Rate in Yemen Highest in the Middle East."
National Yemen Newspaper. N.p., 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.
Avila, Eduardo. "Bolivia: Water Shortages Due to Melting Glaciers" Global Voices. N.p., 2
Nov. 2009. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
Burkeman, Oliver. "US Tent Cities Highlight New Realities as Recession Wears on."
Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 26 Mar. 2009. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Cheung, Chi-fai. "Light Pollution in Hong Kong." South China Morning Post. N.p., 20 Mar.
2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
Deforestation Facts, Deforestation Information, Effects of Deforestation. National
Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.
"Even Optimists Get the Blues When Pink-slipped." Newswise.com. N.p., 27 Oct. 2009. Web.
21 Apr. 2014.
"Has Mankind Outgrown Earth?" The Week. N.p., 17 May 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
Hopkins, James. "Human Population Crisis." Cosmosmith. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.
"Human Overpopulation." Health24. Natural Standard, 26 Aug. 2011. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.
Johnston, Spencer B. "Noise Pollution In India." Eclecticspot. N.p., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 07
Apr. 2014.
"Overpopulation: Environmental and Social Problems." Effects of Overpopulation on the
Environment and Society. Institute for Population Studies, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
"Overpopulation." Overpopulation: Causes, Effects and Solutions. Conserve Energy Future,
n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
Stancheva, Tina. "Effects of Overpopulation on the Environment." Human Nature,
Technology & the Environment. N.p., 7 Feb. 2003. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.

Juhari 9
Szalay, Jessie. Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects. LiveScience. TechMedia Network,
06 Mar. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.
"Unemployment." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
"Unemployment Levels Rising in India." The Times of India. N.p., 26 Jan. 2014. Web. 21
Apr. 2014.
Wong, Edward. "Pollution Rising, Chinese Fear for Soil and Food." The New York Times.
The New York Times, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
Wooldridge, Frosty. "Series On Overpopulation In America: Fishing Our Oceans to Death."
Before It's News. N.p., 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.