The environment plays a significant role in life. Meanwhile, humans influence natural environment they live in through pollution, and greenhouse effect which has become part and parcel of our everyday life. It goes without saying that our growing populations does not only indicate that people use more and more resources, but also engage in activities that negatively affect the environment.
Thus, pollution of the environment through human activities thanks to a growing population is the main issue. Today, the fact that the population is growing steadily is the reason of the environment to change drastically. This paper highlights the negative impact of population growth on the natural environment in the following areas such as air pollution, water pollution, ozone layer depletion as well as global warming.
It is important to note that the research will focus primarily on those adverse effects on the environment brought mainly by growth of human population.
In the following elaboration of the problem statement, the underlying assumptions will that, the negative effects are a direct result of human activities whose ripple effect necessitates pollution. In other words therefore, if the world population could not have grown, the negative environmental effects could not be taking place.
Air pollution is one of the most burning and important pollution problems and issues worldwide. “Increasing population growth creates more of these pollutants whose major source is burning of fossil fuel, larger number of vehicles and industrial production. Growth in population translates to more fossil fuel burning activities which in turn cause air pollution” (1994, p. 333).
The air pollution of the earth atmosphere which is increased day after day, affects air quality; it purity is vital for human health. Human health’s affects include lung diseases and other respiratory diseases. Enger & Smith (1994, P.333) for instance confirm this as the case
“In October 1948, the pollutants from a zinc plant and steel mills became trapped in the valley, and dense smog formed. Within five days, seventeen people died and 5910 persons became ill in Pennsylvania’s city of Donora is whose location is in a valley”.
Based on the above example, it is clearly seen that air pollution has a negative impact on any human health. As it has already been mentioned earlier in the paper, the air pollution can influence the quality of the air human beings breath. Normally, the atmosphere is comprised of “79% nitrogen, twenty percent oxygen and one percent carbon dioxide” (1982, p. 11).But air pollutants such as toxic air composed of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide have become part of air thanks to human activities directly linked to population growth.
For instant, Tolba (1982, p. 11) stated, “in1970-1986, global emission rate of oxide of nitrogen increased by almost one-third, while emission of sulfur dioxide increased by approximately eighteen percent.” Given that emission of the above substances is higher nowadays than it was then; it is possible that the air human beings breath today is more contaminated than ever before.
Water pollution is also one of the crucial pollution issues directly linked to growth in human population. Water pollution is a direct consequence of the rapid growth of the population on the Earth. There is sufficient prove that agricultural and industrial activities taking place for the sole purpose of maintaining the growing population in require water as the main input.
Additionally, human activities resulting from increased population growth have put a strain in water resources besides destroying water catchment areas. Furthermore, such activities make wastewater as well, and, consequently, wastewater becomes the cause of the water pollution.
These activities pollution from agricultural chemicals used in farming activities and industrial waste discharge to water bodies most of which have a direct link to the water table. The resulting effects include highly salted water resources whose consumption leads to increase of toxic substances in living things-both plant and animal.
In China, for instance, “millions of people live in the drainage basin of Huaihe River; the untreated waste water from paper mills, breweries, chemical plants and tanneries finds its way directly into the Huaihe River” (Tolba, 1982, p. 550).