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Population growth refers to the increase in the number of people who inhabit a territory or state resulting to change in a population over time. Population growth can be positive, static, or negative depending on the balance of births and deaths and can be measured using "per unit time" measurement. If the numbers of deaths are many then the population growth ends up being slow. In simple words, it can be defined as the difference of numbers of a population over a certain period of time. For instance, if in 2005 the population was 200,000 and then in 2009 the population is 450,000, then the population growth is 250,000. In 24-26 November 1993 at Geneva, Some 35 experts from all over the world examined issues on Population, Environment and Sustainable Development in the Post-UNCED Period,their discussion gave way to recommendations on five regions that face serious environmental degradation and resource depletion,due to poverty and population pressures.
In his 16th edition, Tyler explained how world's population has increased during the last half century, rising from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 5.9 billion in 1998 and this to be the trend for over a good period of time. The state of the world population is even likely to grow further as research shows and the world will have to change its strategies and resources to meet the needs of its population. As the global population growth increases, a lot of pressure is being placed on arable land, water, energy, and biological resources and thus pushing our claims on the planet beyond its natural limits. As the population increases, resources get depleted and become sparser and the economic impact to people on earth become more on the earth. This is because larger populations imply need of more resources, including resources for energy production, such as materials for manufacturing and goods production, fossil fuels, water and agricultural resources, and environmental resources. This is because a growing imbalance between the demands of human populations and the resources that support human life is created. For instance, land, fresh water, finite resources like fossil energy are depleting fast because of increased pressure in the event of meeting growing demand of an expanding population. Discussed below are some of the impacts of population growth and their implications.
To start with, population growth has resulted to overfishing. This is because as the population increases more fish are being caught to meet the man's basic need of food. When the fish become few the fishermen catch even the small fish thus threatening the fish to become fewer. This results to overfishing and may at times result to fish distinction. In eastern Canada, for example, overfishing has been severe such that cod fishermen have no fish to catch, and the economy of that region has been devastated.
Population growth has has also led to shortages in water since the high population use water in an unsustainable manner. For instance, in densely populated Bangladesh urban growth is three times the national population growth rate; mostly found in poor areas are already serious problems of water supply, drainage, solid waste disposal and sanitation. Increased population growth has led to increased harvesting of wood, aggravating flooding and soil erosion. This is so because expansion of land under cultivation is damaging sensitive coastal ecosystems.
Population growth has and is still a problem in many countries and can be associated with deforestation. This is because, as population increase, more land is cleared for settlement, farming and other uses. This results in the cutting down of a number of trees and thus deforestation case. Thsi can explain the big problem of deforestation which is being experienced in most countries of the world. A good example is in the Asian tropics,deforestation the demonstrates that,it is also integrally linked to population growth. to be more specific, construction of logging roads provides access to the poor farmers,ranchers and miners. Besides governments need to adopt policies that encourage logging, for instance governments have subsidized frontier settlement, for instance by promoting cash crops for export. In Central America, forests are similarly threatened by population growth. Policies in land tenure have provided an incentive for clearing this land, but little support for sustainable agricultural practices is there. Thus, the land is quickly being exhausted and at many times sold to ranchers raising cattle in the North American market.
The increased rates of degradation can be linked to population growth. Degradation refers to the decline in quality and quantity of the environment. Population growth has resulted to poor farming methods which have led to siltation and thus land degradation. For instance, in Northeast Thailand, population growth has forced shifting cultivators to return to their plots more often, hence reducing the land's fallow cycle and increased degradation."In addition, in the Philippines, inequality in access to land and population growth has led to increased settlement of upland areas while expanding demand for fuel wood has resulted in greater forest harvesting. This has been the case in many developing countries where the population growth is very high.
In as much as population is an important source of development, it is also a major source of
environmental degradation when it exceeds the certain limits of the support systems. The relationship between population and the life support system can be stabilized. For example India supports 17 per cent of the world population on 2.4 per cent of world land Area while current rate of population growth at 1.85 per cent has continued to bring continuos population challenge. ( Brown,1995)
Increased pollution rates can be explained well by the growing population. Each and every single individual releases an amount of wastes to the environment, with the rise in population more wastes have been released to the environment. For instance, in the small island states of the South Pacific, excess demand for clean water is depleting groundwater and water contamination from raw sewage is a real problem. Beaches nowadays are dirty and wastes such as plastic papers are an evidence to the extend of pollution the growing population has caused. The Urban population growth has also resulted in the clearing of mangroves, pollution and harmful fishing and mining practices are also the causes of damaged coral reefs thus threatening biodiversity.
The impacts of Population growth impacts through the use of natural resources and production of wastes and is associated with environmental stresses such as loss of biodiversity, increased pressure, air and water pollution and on arable land.Population growth threatens sustainable development and produces further deterioration in living standards and quality of life.
Rapid increase in population growth has exacerbated water scarcity in many regions and natural factors such as intermittent droughts and limited freshwater reserves have resulted to scarcity, high population growth which poses additional pressures. Water scarcity and water stress does not reflect the freshwater resources that may eventually become accessible for human use. a nation's ability to collect and transport water to users and by the quality of the water determines accessibility. In most cases, human activities often pollute existing sources of fresh water, making it unusable or expensive to treat and reuse. Once water is available for human use, however, many factors affect how that water is used. When the population increases, it increases demand for water in all sectors of the economy: agricultural, industrial, and domestic.
Fresh water has also reduced as a result of population growth.( Brown, 1995). For example, in most African countries, population doubled between 1970 and 2001, i.e. it rose from 173 million people to 386 million people and reduced the average amount of fresh water available per capita by more than half per person per year. This is because the use of fresh water is directly proportional to the number of people using the water. As the number of people rise, the amount of fresh water also reduces and may at times even lead to water scarcity. For example most of the water bodies have become seasonal due to the population pressure which is hard to keep and is a challenge at the same time.
Population growth effects usually are varied and vast. Although population increase in any species, may be beneficial to a certain level, sometimes the number in the population may exceed the natural resources available to sustain the population and may be referred to as overpopulation. such an event has severe and major consequences.In simple words, the population growth of anything, if uncontrolled can become a burden. For example, even farmers have noted that, for many centuries, what the effects of an uncontrolled predator population can do to livestock. To add, when more people are crowded into less space is not a good combination in any locality. When the population capacity is exceeded, some negative results occur. For example more water borne diseases are on the rise such as pneumonia which has become very common.
This can be explained since, as the population grows the opportunities for quality and such things as available housing, access to food and clean water may become an issue. For example, when more people crowded into less space is not a good combination in any locality. As space is taken up, it becomes more valuable. Eventually, it begins to affect to poorest in the area. (Tyler, 2007)
In his 2007 book, Tyler explained how population growth results in increased poverty levels. Poverty levels ave actually been on the rise in the last decade and is predicted to rise even higher. As population rises, more people become unemployed, more suffer the consequences of a degraded environment and generally leads to more poverty. More people become job seekers with no enough job vacancies and are forced to be jobless. Due to environmental degradation, food insecurity is faced and the population has to spend a lot in buying or even importing food from other countries.
Poor waste control is another negative effect of population growth is. At times, when relatively few people are controlling waste, it is a much simpler task. although, as populations increase, the waste increases also. Population growth is not the real problem in either way it is the mismanagement of natural resources and waste that cause the majority of the problems. More wastes are produced by the rising population which is a threat to environmentalists who are geared at proving a clean and safe environment for all.
Due to population growth, natural resources are under increasing pressure, threatening public health and development consequently, improving living standards without destroying the environment is a global challenge. The UN Food an Agriculture Organization stipulates that the population has been growing faster than food supplies and that population pressures have degraded some 2 billion hectares of arable land. Certainly there is food insecurity problem in most countries with increased and growing population. This can be explained by the presence of the genetically modified foods to meet the demands of the growing population. Breeding of chicken has also become modified and this is all in the event of trying to provide food to the rising population.
Though water supply is finite, its demand is soaring as population grows and use per capita rises. Due to population growth, more than half of all coastal ecosystems are pressured by high population resulting to rise in tide of pollution, over exploitation of ocean fisheries and decreased fish catches.
Population growth also affects crop production all over the world. global population has grown by 132% and therefore it can degrade farmland, reducing its productivity or even eliminating it from production. This can lead to more countries being unable to feed themselves. The grain harvest in most countries have actually been exceeded by the population. This is now becoming a challenge and reversing this decline is a challenge now that the cropland per person is slowly shrinking, the amount of irrigation water per person is dropping, and the crop yield response to additional fertilizer use is falling (Tyler, 2007).
In addition, due to these population pressures, almost half of the world's original forest cover has been lost. Many of the worlds biodiversity is crucial to the continued vitality of agriculture and medicine and human activities are pushing many plant and animal species into extinction. Assuming each country makes a commitment to population stabilization and resource conservation, the world would be better able to meet the challenges of sustainable development.
Over population in India has put serious pressures on every sector of our economy and every section of society with most of the national problems being traced back to the roots of over population. India and China are also facing very high population growth rates though in recent times India has reduced its rate of population growth.( Brown,1995)
Growth in the world population has resulted to poor economic growth. For example, population increase in Nigeria has directly or indirectly affected Nigeria's economic development especially in the areas of per capital income, size of labor force, new jobs required, and child dependency ratio.
As the population increase there is also need to increase the energy use and therefore additional energy sources are necessary such as petroleum, coal, natural gas. This form of energy will need to be tapped and other means of energy production, including hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind and nuclear sources will have to be considered for implementation.( Brown,1995)
The world population is a very important factor in both hunger and poverty and in habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity. Therefore, there is an urgent need to realize an abatement of population growth before we all suffer the consequences severely in the days to come. The implications of population growth as a problem are however severe economic and energy consumptions.
Although population increase can be viewed as man power able to generate good results it is also important to discover that, as discussed above the negative impacts of a rising population are far more worse than the positive ones. Governments in some countries have already enforced policies geared towards population decrease and all the remaining countries should take suit.
In a nut shell, population growth is the difference between the number of population over a specific time period. From the above discussion, the negative effects of population growth have outweighed its benefits. Worldwide, Population Growth, is increasing at an alarming rate, resulting in depletion of freshwater and forests leading to famine, increased poverty as discussed above. Certain population control measures, including sterilization should be enforced through education, and empowerment of women. In addition, religious patriarchs should publicly discourage population growth through opposing contraceptives and claiming sex as solely for procreation. It important to understand the interaction between population and the Environment. The rapidly growing number of poor people is a key factor in most developing countries. This is as a result of urban expansion, deforestation and cultivation of marginal lands.