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Is Overpopulation the Fastest Growing Threat to the World?
Overpopulation occurs when a population’s density exceeds the capacity of the environment to supply the health requirements of an individual, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Environmentalists have long been concerned about the resources threatened by rapidly growing human populations, focusing on phenomenon such as deforestation, desertification, air pollution and global warming. But the worst-case scenario for people experiencing overpopulation, according to Lawrence Smith, president of the Population Institute, is a lack of fresh, clean water. “If the water goes, the species goes,” he said. “That sounds kind of alarmist,” Smith conceded, “considering there’s water all around us, but 97 percent plus is saltwater, and the freshwater that we use to sustain ourselves is just native to 3 percent. … So the accessibility of water, the competition for water, the availability of water is going to be a major, major threat,” he said, noting world population growth estimates at more than 9 billion people by 2050.Nine billion is an exceptional amount of people, considering the world’s population only reached 1 billion in 1830. Governments facing overpopulation will also struggle to manage waste, said Allen.