Essay Sample on Human Overpopulation

Published: 2021-07-10
1150 words
5 pages
10 min to read
George Washington University
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Human overpopulation is one of the greatest environmental issues which currently affects. The world. The number of people in many parts of the world has exceeded the carrying capacity. High population forces people to manipulate non-renewable resources such as earth minerals, fossil fuels, and ground water thus leading to depletion. Environment and overpopulation are related in many ways. Overpopulation is a result of high birth rates, declining mortality rates and an increase in immigration (Mora, 2014). The scarce resources in the environment thus become unable to sustain them leading to possible starvation, poor quality of life and conflicts.

The world population as of June 2017 is estimated to be 7.5 billion and is expected to rise to up to 10 billion by 2030. However, the carrying capacity of the earth is estimated to be about 4 billion to 12 billion (Mora, 2014). This has raised issues on how the planet can sustain the future population without depleting non-renewable resources through adopting recycling methods. Cases of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, pollution, and global warming is likely to increase due to population increase. This forces people use non-degradable methods to make food and earn income such as using chemicals and GMOs in farming, depleting minerals and supplying to much plastics in the environment.

Recycling, on the other hand, is the process of reclaiming waste materials for reuse so as to conserve the environment and save natural resources. The human population recycles objects like plastic bottles, glass, and newspapers so as to make other important products. Reducing excess use of non-renewable resources like coal, petroleum and natural gas is one way of promoting recycling in the ecosystem (Eyo & Ogo, 2013). The rising population should adopt effective ways like solar systems, wind power and geothermal, they also should practice sustainable agriculture and water resources.

Human Activities That Causes Depreciation of Non-Renewable Resources

Over-Exploitation of Resources

The high population increase leads to people over-exploiting resources such as wood, oil, iron, coal, and water. The pressure exerted to the resources contribute to environmental erosion. UNEP (2013), found that the excessive consumption of available resources by the growing population is likely to outstrip available resources shortly.

Unsustainable Agricultural Practices

Intensive agricultural practices have led to more harm to the environment. The use of several inputs such as fertilizers and chemicals has led to pollution of the soil. The inputs are non-degradable and become toxic in the soils while some are taken by the rain into the rivers. Farmers dont use animal manures or recycled seeds which do not contain chemicals. Other practices like land clearing also lead to a reduction of natural environments like forests, fertile lands, and wildlife.

Increase in Deforestation

Increasing world population makes people clear forests so as to do farming, mining, settlement, and construction; the more forests are cleared, the higher chances of biodiversity loss, soil erosion and interference of water cycle in the ecosystem. They also depreciate natural environment and wildlife.


Landfills discharge very toxic chemicals on the land which affects the health of people living in the ecosystem. This chemical finds its way into nearby rivers and also underground soils which make environment unfavorable for the survival of trees, humans, and animals.

Improper Land Use

Population pressures make people convert land be mining areas, built urban structures like shopping malls, houses, and industrial sites. These activities render land unusable for habitation by human beings which leads to loss and destruction of a large amount of land.

Positive Effects of Recycling

Energy Saving

Energy used in the recycling of products is very minimal when compared to the amount used in manufacturing the new products. For example, recycling glass and aluminum products reduce energy use by a large percentage. Aluminum cans recycling saves energy up to 90% of the amount would have been used to produce new can (Griff, 2008). The saved power through recycled can could have powered a television for more than 4 hours

Environmental Protection

Recycling products in the environment is a great way of preserving it. Paper is one of the products which use a lot of energy during production and requires to be recycled. In producing a 30, 000 liters of water is used in the factory. Another 4500-kilowatt hours of electricity is used and more than 3 barrels of oil. The results of this lead to another 2000 pounds of waste materials which are dumped in the environment (Griff, 2008). This shows the need of recycling the products which are used by the growing population. Recycling reduces deforestation, air pollution by paper factories and create less waste thus not affecting the health of the people who live near the factories.

Conserves Natural Resources

The manipulation of the natural resources will be reduced through recycling. More than 3000 tons of iron ore can be saved when only one ton of steel is recycled (Cabalova, Kacik, Geffert & Kacikova, 2011). The use of recycled plastics also saves fuel by a large amount. Approximately 15 million barrel of crude oil which has always been used to make plastics in the United States can be cut if they recycle plastics.

Reduces Pollution

Pollution is one of the major problems facing the environment. It ranges from air pollution, water pollution to soil pollution. Recycling of non-degradable products like plastics reduces water and soil pollution. Recycling also reduces greenhouse gases emissions in the environment. The global warming recently experienced on the earth is because of gases which arise due to human activities. Carbon dioxide which is the major greenhouse gas can be reduced through recycling aluminum. The smoke emissions by cars and factories can be reduced using solar and wind power which can be recycled (Harris & Codur, 2009)

Reduces Landfill Use

Many countries dump their trash in places where it is a risk for human health. The pollution from the landfills is likely to cause health problems like lung cancer which is dangerous. Recycling of products reduces the need for landfills.

Job Creation

Recycling companies create a lot of jobs for unemployed people in the society. More than 2 million jobs can be created if about 80% of the garbage in the streets are recycled. Currently, in the United States, they recycle only 30% of the garbage which shows the opportunity to increase recycling (Pimentel, Huang, Codova & Pimentel, 2007)


Cabalova, I., Kacik, F., Geffert, A., & Kacikova, D. (2011). The effects of paper recycling and its environmental impact. In Environmental Management in Practice. InTech.

Eyo, E. O., & Ogo, U. I. (2013). Environmental implication of overpopulation and rural-urban migration on development in Nigeria. Academic Research International, 4(6), 261.

Griff, A. L. (2008). Is recycling good for the environment. In Society of Plastics Engineers Global Plastics Environmental Conference.

Harris, J. M., & Codur, A. M. (2009). Macroeconomics and the Environment. Global Development And Environment Institute (ed.), Universidad de Tufts.

Mora, C. (2014). Revisiting the environmental and socioeconomic effects of population growth: a fundamental but fading issue in modern scientific, public, and political circles. Ecology and Society, 19(1).

Pimentel, D., Huang, X., Codova, A., & Pimentel, M. (2007). The impact of a growing population on natural resources: The challenge for environmental management. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 3(2), 105-31.

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