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Effects of Overpopulation on the Planet

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Effectsof Overpopulation on the Planet

Growthis encouraged in nearly all aspects of human life since it serves asan indicator of progress. However, the rate of growth becomesbeneficial when it is manageable and sustainable. For example, theworld’s population growth has become a major concern, given thatthe number of people has been increasing at an exponential rate. Itis estimated that the world population reached 7.3 billion in 2015(United Nations 2). Many stakeholders (including the governments andthe international organization) believe that this size of thepopulation is more than what the world can accommodate. In thispaper, the negative impacts of the exponential growth in thepopulation and the benefits of the family control will be discussed.

Effectsof Overpopulation

Depletionof the natural resources

Theexplosion of the population is associated with an increase in demandfor crucial commodities that are obtained from the natural resources.For example, the demand for fossil fuels and land for agriculture isdirectly proportional to the rate at which the human populationincreases (Ahlenius 1). This increase in demand leads tooverexploitation of the natural resources, thus culminating in theirdepletion. Studies have also shown that each person on earth requiresabout three times more land to meet the basic needs (such as food)since the productivity of the natural resources has declinedsignificantly, which is an indication of depletion. The impact ofoverpopulation on the natural resources has been confirmed by studiesshowing that the ecosystem changed drastically during the second halfof the 20thcentury, when population explosion was reported in many parts of theworld (Ahlenius 1).

Asignificant loss of habitat

Althoughthere are many factors that result in the loss of different habitats,the depletion of most of them is attributed to human activities. Thisrelationship suggests that more habitats are likely to be depletedwhen the human population is high. The role of human overpopulationin the depletion of the ecosystem and habitants has been confirmed bystudies showing that the encroachment of the rainforest has resultedin its decrease from 14 % to 6 % (Ahlenius 1). Similarly, theincrease in the release of pollutants (such as agriculturalchemicals), which is directly related to overpopulation has resultedin the depletion of coral leafs by 30 % (Ahlenius 1). The two typesof habitats serve as homes of the wildlife and marine animals. Thisimplies that their depletion plays a key role in the extinction ofanimals and plants, which is a major disruption of the ecosystem.


Theemergence of pandemics and epidemics is attributed to differentfactors, but most of them have a direct as well as indirectrelationship with uncontrolled growth in the population. A studyconducted by the WHO indicated that uncontrolled growth in the humanpopulation has subjected over 3.7 million people to the risk ofmalnutrition (Ahlenius 2). The same study showed that at least onechild dies in the world in every three seconds as a result ofinfectious diseases 3,000 human beings lose their lives out ofmalaria each day and 1.5 million pass away from TB (Ahlenius 1). Although infectious diseases and other factors that lead death canaffect people, even when the birth rate is under control,overpopulation exacerbates most of the environmental as well as thesocial factors that enhance the level of vulnerability. For example,overpopulation is associated with a decrease in access to healthyfoods as well as quality medical care and poor living conditions thatincrease the risk of being infected.


Overpopulationcontributes towards the environmental pollution in different ways.For an instant, the increase in the demand for transport services,which has a direct correlation with the change in human population,has played a key role in raising the quantities of the greenhousegases emitted each year (Engelman 7). Similarly, the process ofdeforestation, which occurs as people try to look for agriculturalland and exploit the natural resources, exposes soil to erosion.Cumulatively, all types of pollution lead to the lack of fresh air aswell as water and the increase in the levels of global warming. Over97 % of the scientists agree with the fact that the human-generatedgreenhouse gases form the single most important cause of the globalwarming that is affecting the world (Engelman 7). The environmentalpollution and the global warming have made human life unbearable,besides the increase in the risk of the loss of biodiversity.

Benefitsof Population Control and Family Planning

Familyplanning, which is a decision made by parents or couples, is theprimary method that is used to control the rate at which the nationalas well as the global population grows. It is achieved throughdifferent strategies of birth control. Effective birth control thatleads to the growth of the population at manageable levels isassociated with three major benefits. First, family planning leads ofthe economic empowerment of the community. This is achieved throughan increase in the educational attainment, opportunities for careerdevelopment, and a decrease in the financial burden on individualfamilies (United Nations Population Fund 1). For example, parentswith fewer children are able to finance their education, whichincreases their ability to access well-paying jobs compared to thosewho belong to couples that do not practice family planning.Similarly, a manageable population reduces the burden of deliveringamenities by government. This allows the government to spend theextra money on development projects that improve the lives of itscitizens, instead of supporting a large population.

Secondly,birth control and the establishment of a manageable population areassociated with an increase in the health of individual members ofthe society. Women and children are the key stakeholders who benefitfrom an increase in the level of health following the birth control.Family planning enables women to space their children effectively,thus protecting them from the risks associated with pregnancycomplications (WHO 1). Similarly, proper spacing of children isassociated with an increase in their level of health. Some of thestrategies used in family planning (such as the condoms) have beenproven to reduce the risk of HIV infection, which plays a key role inhelping the members of the community stay healthy. In addition, theconcept of manageable population implies that the government has thecapacity to enable all citizens access quality health care. Thisimproves the health of the entire population.

Thethird benefit of family planning and population control issustainable economic, social, and political growth. The two conceptsdo not imply that people should stop giving birth. On the contrary,the concepts imply that people should reproduce at a rate that isconsistent with the economic progress of their country and the worldat large. In addition, the rate of production should be commensuratewith capacity of nature to supply the required resources withoutcausing the risk of depletion (Engelman 32). The concept ofsustainable development means that the human population should growat the same rate as other aspects, such as the economy and theecosystem. Sustainable development ensures that the members of thesociety can access the resources that they need to lead a fulfillinglife.

HowFamily Planning Slows Down the Rate of Population Growth

Familyplanning strategies slow down the rate of population growth byhelping productive women postpone pregnancy, especially when theyfeel that they are not ready for more children. The widespreadapplication of the family planning strategies leads to a slow rate ofpopulation growth across the country and the world (Engelman 33).Additionally, these strategies enable couples to establish a familywith a size that they can manage easily depending on their earningcapacity. An overall reduction in the size of the population acrossthe country increases the government’s capacity to deliver qualityservices to all citizens, thus enhancing the level of quality oftheir lives.


Overpopulationis among the most discussed issues where the stakeholders expresstheir concerns regarding the lack of capacity of the world to sustainthe large number of people. Although procreation is the mostimportant processes that help animals to sustain their species, thegrowth of the population beyond the carrying capacity of the worldhas many negative effects. Some of the key effects associated withoverpopulation include the environmental degradation, depletion ofthe natural resources, the loss of habitat, and the spread ofdiseases. Family planning, on the other hand, plays a critical rolein ensuring that the population is growing at a level that the worldcan sustain. A sustainable growth in the size of the population isachieved when the existing number of human beings can utilize thenatural resources without depleting them.


Ahlenius,H. Effects of human overpopulation. EverythingConnects.20 November. 2013. Web. 28 November 2016.

Engelman,R. An end to population growth: Why family planning is key to asustainable future. Solutions,2 (3), 32-41. Web.

UnitedNations. Theworld population perspective.New York, NY: U.N, 2015. Print.

UnitedNations Population Fund. New study shows benefits of family planningto the well-being of women, families and economies. UNPF.21 March. 2013. Web. 28 November 2016.

WHO.Family planning/contraception. WHO.2015. Web. 28 November 2016.