A2 Cover Story

Overpopulation and Waste

When you go out, do you sometimes feel like there are too many people around? Are the shopping centres too crowded, or are there too many other kids waiting to play on the swings in the playground? It is not that you are dreaming. The number of people sharing this planet with you is getting larger day by day.

Today, the earth’s population is over seven billion. That is the number seven with nine zeros! This number has been going up for almost 700 years. People population is becoming higher and higher because of two things: health and food. With health and medicine getting better and better, people are living longer lives. For example, in the 13th century, people didn’t think they could live more than 40 years. However, a normal person today should live to around 71 years of age.

Technology has also become better to help humans to produce more food. With more food, more people can eat. At first, when humans were hunters, the invention of bows and arrows helped them to get more meat. Then when they became farmers, the machines and special things created by engineers made animal and vegetable farming even easier.

There is one big problem with so many people living on earth: our planet is not getting any bigger! With every one more person on this planet, that person is using water, air, food, and other resources. Many people are worried that the resources on earth may not be enough for so many people. This is called “overpopulation”. Scientists say that the earth’s resources are only enough for 4 to 16 billion people. But, at 7 billion people today, the earth may already be overpopulated.

One of the biggest problems of overpopulation is the rubbish made by people. A person usually makes about one and a half kilograms of rubbish every single day. This is about as heavy as a medium-sized durian! With more people living on this earth, more rubbish gets made every day.

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population – all the people living in one place
billion – one thousand million, 1,000,000,000
resources – materials in nature that are important for life
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