Why the Population Growth Is Such A Serious Problem and The Effect It Is Having on the Earth's Environment

Length: 5 Pages 1279 Words

The world's population has grown more in the last 50 years than it had done in the previous 4 million years[1]. This quantum leap in the human population has put severe strains on the finite resources and the fragile environment of our planet. What is more, the present rate of the galloping population growth shows no signs of slowing down, especially in the developing countries. Such a high rate of growth is clearly unsustainable and needs to be controlled before the runaway human population proves to be the ultimate undoing of the human race itself. In this essay I shall discuss why the population growth is such a serious problem and the effect it is having on the earth's environment. Debate about the effects of population growth has raged ever since, Thomas Malthus, a British intellectual wrote his famous Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798. Malthus contended that the tendency for the population was to grow exponentially while food supplies could only grow arithmetically. His theory meant that the human population was destined to outstrip the global food supplies that would eventually lead to widespread starvation and disease. This has clearly not happened[2] so far, mainly because Malthus h Continue...


These sediments make the waters near the coast murky and reduce the amount of sunlight received by the coral reefs; thus inhibiting their growth. (Hardaway 1197) The waste products produced by human beings result in dumping of 300,000 metric tons of phosphorus annually into the oceans, 270,000 metric tons of methane, 30,000 metric tons of sulfur, and 80,000 metric tons of poisonous carbon monoxide released into the air every year. Oceanic fishing has risen from 19 million tons in 1950 to 88 million tons in 1988, a clearly unsustainable rate that has already resulted in noticeable depletion of previously abundant fish such as the Atlantic cod and blue fin tuna. Pollution of rivers and over-fishing has already severely depleted the fish populations on which large populations of the world are dependent for their food supplies. This is because food supply is not the only thing that sustains a human population. The falling water tables are almost certain to completely dry-up as the aquifers that hold water underground are not being charged at the rate at which they are being depleted. The Malthusians3 fervently believe it is so, while the anti-Malthusians are equally vehement in denying any connection between poverty and over-population. It is estimated that if present trend of deforestation were not reversed soon, the world's per capita forested area would drop from 0. In Latin America, for example, the single biggest cause of deforestation is ranching that caters to the meat consumption of an expanding population. " (1981) 5 Which is a direct result of over-population 6 Coral reefs are an important ecosystem since they provide the habitat for more animal species than in any other marine ecosystem. The supply of fresh water per person, for example, is declining alarmingly. Other critics of the Malthusian theory, mainly Marxists, believe that unequal distribution of resources rather than over-population is the cause of poverty and scarcity. (Brown et al, 35) Pollution of the environment too is directly linked to overpopulation.