Overpopulation refers to a point where the available and renewable natural resources cannot meet the demand of the population. For an area to be considered as overpopulated, the current human occupants should be causing degradation of the long-term carrying capacity of the area. In a global perspective, overpopulation would imply that the available resources are over-demanded to fit the needs of the society (Sarsby, 2001). Current statistics indicate that the world is already overpopulated, and the available natural resources are being strained. Current solutions and regulations that have been put forward by most governments may seem to work, but this is only for a short term: The world is headed to a crisis if depletion of natural resources is not stopped.
This will in turn effect on the conditions of soils and forests in an attempt to shelter and provide food for the population. Deforestation will be the solution to provide land for agriculture, industries, and construction of houses to shelter the demand. Deforestation would affect natural processes such as the nitrogen cycle and photosynthesis, and this affects agriculture. In addition, the results of deforestation will affect soil quality in terms of erosion by water and wind (Mendonca, Cunha and Chakrabarti, 2012).
Consequently, deforestation would add to the depletion of water resources; as forests act as water catchment areas. This would imply less supply of water, and lack of clean consumption water. As a result of deforestation, gases such as CO2 and Nitrogen will accumulate in the air, as they are used for growth, which exponentially adds to health risks.
In addition, increased demand over supply of natural resources would imply increased costs of available resources. An example would be land, which is considered as the most valuable natural resource. If the land is over-demanded, its costs will increase. This would imply that only a few people in the society would be capable of affording it. The results would be growth of slums where people try to squeeze in the available land. Life in slums implies lack of basic commodities such as clean water, poor drainage systems, and lack of proper houses, among others (Sarsby, 2001). The results would be increased cases of avoidable deaths such as those which come from Malaria, Typhoid, Dysentery, Diarrhea, and Bilharzia among others.
Additionally, lack of land or increased costs of land would lead to poor drainage systems from industries. The results are that industries would release their wastes to rivers. This affects the quality and cleanliness of water as gases such as Nitrogen, Sulfur, and Nitrates, among other compound into the rivers. Gases such as Nitrates add to the growth of algae, which form balloons in water where air cannot circulate. This would affect aquatic life, and the results would be decreased production of fish species.
Another key issue to consider is the outstanding usage of the available fresh water. If this commodity is over-demanded, there would be a crisis that would affect the globe. It is imperative to see the whole fresh water scenario, and how increased demand of the commodity relates to the amount of waste being produced by those demanding it. Massive volumes of water are currently being polluted from industrial wastes (Sarsby, 2001). This has exponentially decreased the amounts of clean water for consumption. Oceans and rivers have been mistaken as sources of clean water. To cater for the demand, most people have resulted to harvesting rain water.
Most people ignore the reality that oceanic water cannot be considered as consumption water unless it undergoes a series of treatment. This is as a result of the different waste types released into the waters such as human waste, chemicals, plastics, plants, and dead aquatic life, among others (Schrijver, 2008). Such compounds are hazardous to human health, and may cause death if not infertility. If this is happening currently, any increase in global population implies added strain to the available fresh water. The effects would be decrease in supply while the demand remains extremely high. Such a condition would lead to the formation of classes where only the wealthy would afford the product. The majorities, which are the poor, will have to consume infected and dirty water, which has adverse effects on their health.
Constrained natural resources have added on innovative technological moves. This is in response to reduced supply of natural resources. Innovators have come up with recycling procedures so that wastes and costs of production are reduced. This is an impressive move, for instance where plastics are renewed to serve other purposes other than being disposed hazardously. However, there are still issues related to the recycling procedures.
Overpopulation means increased rates of unemployment. This is more so in developing economies than in developed economies. In an economy where the availability of natural resources is less than the overall demand, labor will be readily available. Innovative moves mostly happen in developed nations where there is availability of skills, expertise and equipment. In response to the global labor demand, laborers from developing economies will move to the developed regions in search of jobs. The implication would be increased demand over land, houses, and other social amenities.
Innovation in technology, as an initiative to meet the increased demand of natural resources, therefore, would result into increased environmental prices such as desertification, soil erosion, urbanization, and formation of slums (Schrijver, 2008). These are among factors, which will also contribute to low or decreased growth rates in both developing and developed economies.
Currently, the rates of atmospheric pollution in the globe have increased from wastes released from the manufacturing and industrial sector. With increased rates of deforestation, atmospheric pollution have led to the depletion of Ozone layer and increased formation of greenhouse gases (Mendonca, Cunha and Chakrabarti, 2012). This has led to increased temperatures on the earth’s surface, which results into a rise in water levels, floods, and hurricanes. Continued emissions from green houses would imply that global temperatures will increase. This will result in increased storms and heat waves. Wild species, as well as human beings, will have difficulties in adapting to the warmer climate, and this will reduce their survival chances; the young and old being most vulnerable (Sarsby, 2001).
Cases of respiratory and cardiovascular problems will increase adding to the increasing death rate. Agriculture, forestry, mining, and tourism, among other economic activities will be affected. Infrastructure and communication lines will be damaged. The results will be decreased economic growth and developmental rates (Schrijver, 2008).
The globe is almost headed to that point of total depletion of natural resources. The case scenario of limited supply over demand is almost happening. Most economies are already experiencing increased rates of unemployment, rise in government costs, scarcity of resources, and rise in prices of resources (Sarsby, 2001). These are signs of what is expected to happen if nothing is done. Most resource supplying companies may seem to be positions for an era of windfall in profits by increasing the prices of their commodities. However, the solution does not lie in increasing prices and costs, rather by a change in behavior and lifestyle, and making decisions that reduce emissions (Mendonca, Cunha and Chakrabarti, 2012).
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Mendonca, A., Cunha, A., & Chakrabarti, R. (2012). Natural resources, sustainability and humanity: A comprehensive view. Dordrecht: Springer.Bottom of Form
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Sarsby, R. W. (2001). The exploitation of natural resources and the consequences: The proceedings of GREEN 3: the 3rd International Symposium on Geotechnics Related to the European Environment held in Bberlin, Germany, June 2000. London: Thomas Telford.
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Schrijver, N. (2008). Sovereignty over natural resources: Balancing rights and duties. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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