The human population has recorded a tremendous growth right from the wake of ancient civilization during the Holocene period at the end of the glacial period on the surface of the Earth. At the time of this civilization, it is estimated that the Earth was inhabited by a population of one million humans who survived on foraging and hunting. Nevertheless, with the coming of the Neolithic revolution that precipitated a historic shift on the human activity from hunting and gathering to the primitive forms of agriculture, the growth of the human population skyrocketed at once due to favorable climatic conditions and supply of food in abundance. With the improved human living conditions of the modern times such as better housing facilities, healthcare services and access to other social amenities, human population has greatly exploded more than ever before. According to the United Nations Bureau of Statistics, the global human population is estimated to be 7 billion and the figure is expected to hit 9 billion come 2050. Even though the United Nations prides in the fast growing human population, several detrimental effects are anticipated in all continents of the world when the human population clocks 9 billion up from its present figures.
According to the 2008 Strategic Reports of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), if the human population follows its current growth curve uninterrupted and it hits 9 billion in the year 2050, serious environmental problems are likely to crop up from all corners of the Earth. The report projects that the quantities of solid wastes will shoot from the current three thousand metric tons to unbearable limits of five thousand metric tons per annum in 2050. Nevertheless, the report warns that the quantities of solid waste products from the industrial and domestic disposals could reach six thousand metric tons if the trend is not reversed. This is an implication that the high degree of water, air and soil pollution will pose serious risk to the human lives due to contamination. It goes without saying that incidence of waterborne and airborne diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera, and other opportunistic infections will take toll on the human populations hence an increase in the death rates and emergence of sickly populations. Given that larger percentage of the world population will be unhealthy, their levels of economic productivity are highly compromised thereby reducing economic growth by larger margins in their respective countries.
Environmental degradation is another detrimental effect to reckon with as the world human population reaches 9 billion in the next decades. In an attempt to find a piece of land on where to build homes for the entire world population and cater for their housing needs, logging will be concentrated in the world’s major forest such as Congo, Malaysia and Amazon forests so as to provide timber and other building materials. To make matters worse, the ongoing destructive human activities within the expansive world forests such as unsustainable illegal logging will be the norm no matter vigilant the government authorities in charge may seem to be. Most notably, the few surviving world forests stand higher chances of destruction and unwarranted clearance thus reducing the world forest cover to less than 10% as confirmed in the findings of the 2008 United Nations Report. Consequently, this will precipitate a serious crisis in the dwindling supply of fresh water that plays a significant role in the life support system as the clearance of the world forests culminate into the expansion of world deserts.
Additionally, the most crucial impact of this population explosion is the looming fresh water deficits around the world. Based on the fact that the unsustainable consumption of the already limited fresh water will be exacerbated, acute fresh water shortage is imminent. With the significant reduction in the world forest cover and prolonged periods of droughts, lack of adequate rains will further add to the misery of humankind. Although many people do not see the fresh water deficit as an existing threat to the world ecosystem, Professor Gary Nash, chief hydrologist at the University of Hamburg, warns that the acute shortage of fresh water has already beleaguered China, Iran, United States and India where the underground fresh water reservoir is already depleted. Then scholar goes on to add that the fast pace at which the water table is sinking in different parts of the world is alarming and that if the mounting pressure of the fast diminishing fresh water is allowed to build, the agricultural production will surely hit a snag thus ushering in severe hunger, starvation and malnourishment. Taking into consideration that human population is the key function of availability of food, spasms of hunger, malnutrition and starvation will be realized across the world without an exemption of a single continent.
In conclusion, the projected growth of human population to reach 9 billion in the next two decades will precipitate unbearable detrimental effects. Sharp increase in the human population will lead to clearance of the world major forests such as Congo and Amazon so as to provide the swelling human populations with a space to call home, building material to use in the construction of houses and arable land. Furthermore, the resultant loss of global forest cover is seen to have paved way for the ongoing expansion of world deserts into new areas that were formerly forested and water deficit. If the humankind must survive these challenges in the future, swift measures must be taken to control the growth of human population.