Overpopulation is the situation where the human population exceeds the maximum carrying capacity of the environment. It can also be defined as the ratio of individuals compared to the available natural resources essential for survival.
When an environment is overpopulated, it means that there are more people than the available resources such as water, transport, food, and social amenities. Overpopulation results in environmental deterioration, population disintegration, and poor quality of life.
Every year, approximately 81 million people are born. Areas with high population feel the effects of overpopulation most. Factors such as immigration, reduced mortality rates, high birth rates, and medical breakthroughs cause a population increase.
Adverse effects of overpopulation include:
Exhaustion Of Natural Resources
When the human population keeps increasing, the non-renewable natural resources such as forests and fossil fuels drop at an alarming rate. Therefore, overpopulation creates competitive demand on resources essential for survival.
A study done by UNEP shows that excessive human consumption of exhaustible resources can deplete these resources. The next generation may fail to use these resources.
Augmented Global Warming And Climate Change
Since overpopulation translates to more people, vehicles, and industries, it results in increased pollution. It also implies more use of energy sources such as firewood and coal which lead to the emission of greenhouse gases.
Due to the accumulation of carbon footprint and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, our planet continues to experience rapid climate change as well as global warming.
Effects of global warming include flooding, drought, extreme hunger, and even loss of ecosystems and habitat. The loss of habitat may be so extensive that it may threaten the survival of the human race.
Loss Of Habitat
Overpopulation influences the high loss of ecosystems such as rainforests, wetlands, coral reefs, and wildlife. Due to overcrowding, there is an increased need for extensive land development and excess agriculture.
For example, initially, rainforests covered 14% of the earth surface. Currently, rainforests cover only a 6% of the surface. Even worse, scientists expect the coverage to reduce in a few decades.
Also, overpopulation results in increased pollution. Statistics show that ever since the global warming in 1980, 30% of ocean reefs have been lost as a result of contamination.
Loss Of Biodiversity
Due to overpopulation, the humankind has no other alternative but to invade frontier forests, and the encroachment results in high levels of pollution and damage to natural ecosystems.
The destruction of the ecosystem may lead to the extinction of species. Human activities such as pollution, poaching, over-fishing and acidifying water indirectly interfere with natural ecosystems.