Population growth has had a negative impact on the quality of the environment. As more land is used for agriculture or living purposes, the environment changes drastically. As the population of humans grows in certain cities or rural areas, more resources must be used to maintain the well-being of the population. With the increasing pressure on available resources, many habitats are being destroyed. Humans are using up more resources and the amount and nature can’t replenish those resources fast enough to supply our needs. The atmosphere is also negatively impacted by population growth.
As the population increases, there is an increase in the amount of pressure put on the agricultural sector. Farming is a major human activity that has transformed the land masses and it has become a direct route in which humans have affected the environment. In many countries, the need for food is so great that natural habitats are destroyed and transform into agricultural lands. This leads to extreme deforestation in many countries. For example, most of the forest that originally covered Europe in 900 AD are almost gone by the 1900s (Preston). They have become agricultural fields and pastures to feed Europe’s growing population. This doesn’t only happen in Europe, but on every continent on Earth. Humans have also cut down trees to access timber so they can build infrastructure and other materials. Additionally, another problem that arises with the destruction of these forests is that they are the ones who use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and release oxygen as a byproduct. Many people have said that the forests around the world act as the lungs of the world. Without them, the carbon dioxide levels will rise and this will lead to other environmental complications that could end up being irreversible.
Furthermore, as the population continues to grow, more technologies and practices will be implemented to increase agricultural yields. “Industrial chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and countless other products will continue to produce waste products of all kind” (T.Shen). As humanity continue to use these waste products, it will increase dead zones in pools, lakes, and rivers. With the increase of dead zones, fishes and other marine organisms will start to die more frequently. This will lead to cascading events that will negatively impact the marine environments and the quality of water.
Population Growth can also negatively the atmosphere. With more people being born and living the cities, the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increase also. This will result in more heat that gets trap within the atmosphere, and this is a factor that contributes to global warming. Air pollution is also destroying the ozone layer. Without the ozone layer, harmful radiation from the sun can penetrate to Earth. This could possibly lead to skin cancer for humans. Air pollution can also impact human health. It can cause many respiratory problems. The rain in Gurgaon, India has brought down dust pollution that was in the atmosphere near to land levels. This can cause discomfort in breathing or even lung disease (Arora). In China, both adults and children are being killed because of air pollution. Although its economy is very successful, many workers and civilians are dying. Air pollution in China has made cancer the leading cause of death (Kahn, Hardley).
In the end, population growth plays a key role in environmental sustainability. It can lead to the deforestation, water pollution, and air pollution. These have a negative effect on the environment and also impact human daily lives. Governments and agencies must now mitigate how and where they will use resources. They also have to think about how new technologies and practices can affect the environment.
Arora |, Shilpy. “A rare normal: Pollution in safe zone after rain.” Times of India. N.p., 7 Apr. 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017. <http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/a-rare-normal-pollution-in-safe-zone-after-rain/articleshow/58056854.cms>.
Kahn, Joseph, and Jim Hardley. “As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes.” New York Times. N.p., 26 Aug. 2007. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
Preston, Samuel H. “The Effect of Population Growth on Environmental Quality.” Population Research and Policy Review, vol. 15, no. 2, 1996, pp. 95–108., www.jstor.org/stable/40230088.
Shen, Thomas T. Industrial pollution prevention. Berlin: Springer, 2015. Print.