Environmental Effects of Population Growth

Subject: Enviroment Population and Health

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The increasing population results into increasing demands, needs and services. Their needs are unlimited but country has limited resources to fulfill their needs and desire. This note provides information with the effects of rapid population growth.
Environmental Effects of Population Growth

The increasing population results into increasing demands, needs and services. Their needs are unlimited but country has limited resources to fulfill their needs and desire. The growing population needs more fuel, timber, food, cloth, and more facilities of education and health. The people started to exploit the natural resources which results in the environment degradation. Thus society, culture, natural resources and economic development are affected by the growing population.

It is really important to maintain a sustainable balance between population growth and available resources. If the population growth is in proportion to the means and resources of a country, it does not have a negative effect on its social- economic condition. When socio- economic condition is improved, it helps to control population growth. So there must be a proper and balance between the population growth and economic growth rate.

In this respect, various consequences of population growth are as follows:

Environmental effects

The environment of any area is affected by the composition of population and growth rate of population. If there is any imbalance between population growth and the environment, the environment gets degraded and people have to face many difficulties to meet their needs and demands. Let's analyze how various elements are affected by population growth:

Forest and vegetation

Forest and vegetation are the most important aspects of human life. Various species of vegetation play an important role increasing a balance in the environment, they help to keep environment clean, fresh, green and beautiful. They protect the soil from landslides and soil erosion. The needs and demands of people are increasing along with the growth of population. It leads to degradation of forest and vegetation.

Many forest and vegetation are being cleared by the people for fodder, grass and their settlement. Thus, deforestation has become an acute problem in Nepal. Due to deforestation many species of wildlife, medicinal herbs and other important forest products are in acute shortage. The more people, the more is the demand of firewood. This trend in Nepal has resulted into rapid deforestation and loss of natural resources and means.

Aquatic lives and terrestrial animals

The growth of population has affected the marine life adversely. The water resources such as underground water, river, well, pond, tank, sea and ocean, etc. have begun to dry and the existing ones have been polluted. The survival of fish and amphibians has disappearance. It has badly affected man, other creatures and plants. Thus, the growth of population has made the condition of aquatic creatures very difficult. The terrestrial part refers to the earth crust. It composed of soil, sand, dust particles and stone. Thousands of creatures are living population has creature environmental pollution. It has created noise pollution. Various kinds of insects, birds, creatures and animals are vanishing because their habitat has been destroyed by man.


Living organisms cannot survive without fresh air. Fresh air saves the life. Polluted air causes diseases. Oxygen content of the atmosphere decreases by deforestation. Contents of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases increase in the atmosphere.

Unmanaged urbanization and industrialization produces smoke, dust particles and other harmful wastes. Insecticides and other toxic chemicals mix inn air and pollute the fresh air of environment. Polluted air can produce different kinds of diseases like skin diseases, eye irritation, lung diseases, etc. Vegetation is also affected by the smoke and dust particle.


The source of water is adversely affected by the growth of population. The quality water is being degraded due to growing human activities in the environment. Sometimes, soil is deposited in the sources of water. It causes water pollution. Dumping of garbage and other waste, discharge of excreta materials into river make the water polluted. People become the victim of various types of diseases by drinking polluted water. Water is also polluted by excessive use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Chemical fertilizers insecticides remain in soil for a long period of time and slowly move down and pollute the underground water.


Land is the most important natural resource and sources of varieties of food. Human activities are responsible for land pollution and the loss of productivity of the land. Use of fertilizers, insecticides, etc. kill the natural fertility of the soil and soil finally losses its quality. The pressure on land increases with the increasing population. The size of land cannot increase along with the growth of population. There is a high possibility of imbalance between the population and the available land.


Floods are usually called natural calamities. But human activities have contributed to the sharp rise in floods. Cultivation of land, deforestation, overgrazing and mining has removed water absorbing vegetation and soil. Urbanization also increases flooding. Heavy rainfall occurs during the monsoon period. This down-power runs off from the mountain so rapidly that most of it cannot be controlled and used. The massive runoff water causes periodic flooding. During, the monsoon period, the speed and level of water is increased in streams, rivulet and rivers.

Traditional method of cultivation and deforestation in the hilly region has caused soil erosion and landslide. These activities have also reduced the water holding capacity of soil which has favored the flooding. Flood transport top soil from the naked mountains and deposits in the plain areas. Each year millions of the flood is landslides, soil erosion, loss fertile land, killing of the people and property damages, sometimes, villages completely get submerged under the flooded water.

Noise pollution

Human settlement has become very dense many places of Nepal due to the rapid growth in population. People conduct a lot of activities in the growth of urbanization and establishment of much unpleasant or unwanted sound that causes discomfort. Noise increases along with the growth of urbanization and establishment of many industries in the town areas. The sound produces by increasing number of buses, trucks, motorcycle, trains, airplanes and heavy use of radio, television, etc is polluting environment and causing sound pollution. In Nepal, the level of noise is too high which may cause loss of hearing power as well as various other socio-psychological disorders. The measurement of sound is expressed in decibel. The sound with more than eighty db is considered very harmful which degrades the whole environment.

Things to remember
  • The increasing population results into increasing demands, needs and services. Their needs are unlimited but country has limited resources to fulfill their needs and desire.
  • Population growth have adversely effect forest and vegetation, aquatic and terrestrial animals, air, water, land etc.
  • Different problems arise by over growth population are flood, pollution, disasters etc.
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
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Questions and Answers

Aquatic and terrestrial animals are affected due to environmental degradation because they need fresh environment to survive. They get their basic needs i.e. food, water, air etc. from environment. Terrestrial animals are heavily destroyed by inappropriate human activities like clearing the jungle, forest fire, and random cultivation. Wild animals are decreasing in number due to encroachment of jungle. Human beings have not directly hampered the animals but human activities are indirectly hampering both the terrestrial and aquatic animals. The byproduct and chemical discharged from the industrialization and urbanization have pollutes open land, water resources and air. As a result the living beings are greatly affected. Similarly toxic liquids insecticides and pesticides in water cause the loss of aquatic animals and creatures.

With the increase of population, volume of sound is increases as the result of extension of urbanization, establishment of innumerable industries and factories. In the age of modernization, there are various means of entertainment like radio, television, musical instruments etc. They produce high volume of sounds which disturbs the surrounding fresh and pleasant environment. It creates the problem of sound pollution, similarly, various modern means of transport like airplane, vehicles, ship, etc. Play crucial role to create noise pollution. Intolerable noise pollution in crowed public places and dense settlement is found from means of communication and transportation. In this way, pollution growth causes noise pollution.

Increasing population needs more amounts of food, clothes, shelter and other requirements. People cut down the forest to fulfill many of these requirements. Forest is also being destroyed for the settlement and rehabilitation programmes. Forests are being barren due to the random cutting of trees. Consequently, top soil is transported during the rainy seasons. It leads to soil erosion.
Hilly slopes and marginal land are also being cultivated due to rapid population growth. Unscientific farming system and deforestation are the causes of soil erosion. In the same way soil erosion is also created by construction of roads, bridge, canal, embankment and establishment of industries. Besides this flood and landslide are natural calamities. They are caused by irresponsible activities of human beings, these natural calamities damage source of water, crops, settlement areas, dams etc. soil erosion does not take place in each areas where the land is covered by plants and vegetation. Thus, deforestation causes floods, landslide, and soil erosion.
Thus, flood, landslides and soil erosion gets worst due to rapid population growth.

Pollutants are the residues of things we make, use and throw away.
The pollution from industries like carbon monoxide causes air pollution.
Intensity of sound is measured in decibel unit.
Noise pollution affects our hearing power. It may cause declination in hearing power or permanent hearing loss.
According to WHO, air pollution may be defined as "limited to situation in which the outer ambient atmosphere contains materials in concentrations which are harmful to human beings and their environment."
Any substances that are not common component of soil but their presence adversely affect the property of soil is termed as land pollution.

The addition of any substance to water or changing of water's physical and chemical characteristic in any water which interferes with its use for legitimate purpose is known as water pollution.

The effect of industrial development on environment is excess of solid waste.
Musical instrument and electronic media played in high volume causes sound pollution.
Land pollution affects the natural setting of land and cultural heritage such as religious heritages, cultural sites, etc.
Environmental health is mainly related with human wealth. WHO has defined environmental health as "those aspects of human health and disease that are determined by factors in the environment that guarantee the proper fate of future generations."
  • The importances of environmental health are:
  • Surrounding of environmental becomes clean.
  • Human life becomes healthier.
  • Environmental pollution is minimized.
  • All living beings have better quality of life.
  • Conserve and promote socio-cultural aspects.
Advancement and modernization of human life is due to different types of developmental activities. Environmental pollution means some direct or indirect changes in the components of the environment that degrades and deteriorates the environment. Those changes are unfavorable that occur due to extra new substances or energy into the environment. Activities like degrading natural environment, deteriorating and destroying natural beneficial factor of environment etc. creates pollution. The lakes and rivers are polluted by wastage from sewage a chemical and the harmful particles from factories, hotels and hospital and houses and the air is polluted by gases of automobile exhaust, industries, dust etc.
Some of the causes of air pollution are:
  • The pollution produced from the vehicles as smoke, dust and solid waste pollute air.
  • In rural area, burning of wood, cow dung, stakes of maize emit smokes which pollute the air.
  • Growing industrialization and urbanization emit faces and causes pollution.
The methods of their control are:
  • Old vehicles which emit smoke should be banned.
  • Solid wastes should be properly disposed.
  • Sources of alternative energy like biogas, solar energy and hydroelectricity should be used in place of wood, cattle dung etc.
The effects of air pollution are as follows:
  • While inhaling oxygen, harmful pollutants, enter inside our lungs and causes harmful effects in our body.
  • Smoke and dust emitted from kitchen, vehicles and industries pollute air which cause harmful effects in our body such as: lung disease, eye disease, asthma etc.
  • Inhaling polluted air with smoke, dust emitted from factories causes anemia, damage of kidney and miscarriage.
  • There is increment in temperature because of the greenhouse gases.
When the foreign elements like solid wastes, chemical fertilizer, pesticides are mixed in water, quality of water is degraded which is called water pollution. The chemical and biological pollutants change the property of water.
Some of the measures to control water pollution are:
  • It is necessary to reduce household wastes and such wastes should not be thrown to river and rivulet, pond, lake etc.
  • Waste water of industries and factories should be properly treated before discharging to outside either in land or water resources.
  • Programmes should be launched to develop awareness on the effects of water pollution on public health.
  • Enforcement of legal provisions and its implementation play a vital role in control of water pollution.
The effects of noise pollution are as follows:
  • It may cause declination in hearing power or permanent hearing loss.
  • In noisy places, we feel mental tension and headache.
  • Noise pollution disturbs our digestive system and sleeping habit which affect the health of people.
  • Noise affects our mind which, in turn, harms our physical condition.
The effects of land pollution are as follows:
  • Polluted land is the source of bad smell, which pollutes its surroundings.
  • Land polluted due to chemical fertilizer and poisons like pesticide is harmful to plants, animals and other through the food they eat.
  • Leakage of waste water from land pollutes water. It affects aquatic animals and other living beings.
  • Land pollution deteriorates the quality of land, and then productivity of the land decreases due to declination of soil fertility.
  • Land pollution affects natural setting of land and cultural heritage such as religious places, monastery and other heritage sites.
  • Measures to control pollution are as follows:
  • Use of plastics, gases and other non-degradable materials should be reduced.
  • Solid wastes should not be thrown in open place.
  • The harmful solid wastes released from industries and hospital should be purified before discharging them.
  • Biodegradable materials such as residue of plants, vegetables and other wastes of plants should be used to make compost manure.
  • Broken machines, vehicles, etc. should be repaired, recycled or reused as far as possible.
Some methods of purification of water are as follows:
  • Storage: Water coming from the sources is stored in a pond or tank. It is a natural process of purifying water from the decantation process, in which dust particles go base level of the water.
  • Filtration: We can filter water using the layer of sand and pebbles. It takes time. This process is useful for large scale filtration.
  • Boiling: Water should be kept boiling for five minutes after the boiling point. It helps to pass off dissolved gases and kill germs found in the water.
  • Chemical process: Water can be purified through chlorine and potassium permanganate but it is difficult to purify if it contains dirt, color and bad smell.
  • Solar water disinfection (SODIS): water can be purified through solar energy. SODIS is considered as cheap and easy domestic method for purifying water.
The management of vehicles can be done in following ways:
  • Old vehicles which emit more smoke should be replaced by new one.
  • Private vehicles should be discouraged and public vehicles should be encouraged.
  • Standard measurement should be applied.
  • Alternative sources of energy should be used instead of petroleum fuel.
  • Authorized body should monitor regularly and conduct frequent checks.

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