Human Population Growth and Impacts
UNEP reports that the global human population is growing at rates above the expected, being expected to reach 9.2 billion by 2050. Asia is reported to be experiencing the highest population growth rate across the world. In the countries where the population growth rate is high, there are various impacts that are associated with the population growth rates.
First, population growth results in increasing competition for food resources and changes in diets. The observed changes in diet include shift towards meat consumption and increased consumption of food per capita. While most countries experience population growth, some countries such as Germany continue to experience declines in population due to low birth rates, high death rates, low immigration rates and high emigration rates. Other countries with declining population include Bulgaria, and the Republic of Moldova.
As the population grows across the world, other impacts have been felt besides the changes in food consumption patterns. The key impact of population growth on the environment is increasing in strain on resources such as food, water, land as well as other natural resources. The overconsumption of these resources results in their depletion since they are used at rates far beyond the rate of replenishment.
In addition to this, the increase in human population also results in increased pollution due to the increase in the rates at which wastes are emitted into the environment. For example, the untreated sewage, toxic substances, greenhouse gases and air pollutants all have negative impacts on the flora and fauna in the ecosystem. Interactions between the economy and the growing populations also influence the impacts of population growth on the environment. As a result, larger societies produce greater environmental impact compared to other communities.
UNEP. “Seven options for improving food security- The environmental Food Crisis.” 2013. Web. 24 Jan 2013. http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/food-crisis/page/3572.aspx
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