Chris Packham has said his new programme on population growth poses some major questions for society.
The Springwatch star explores the issue in one-off BBC show Population With Chris Packham.
He told Radio Times magazine: “Have you considered what measles and mumps and polio and smallpox were for?
“Because in nature, nothing is redundant.
“The cold reality is that these diseases that we have so successfully beaten through fantastic advances in medical science were part of an ecological system that regulated human population size.
“At no point in the programme do we say let people die, obviously, but what we say is, if you’re going to keep them alive, you’ve got to think about what you do next.
“How are you going to feed them, how are you going to educate them and deal with the next batch of diseases that come into their lives?”
To illustrate the issues associated with supporting an increasing elderly population, Packham cites his ailing father – who, he says, has been described as a burden on the NHS.
“Had we invested for that ageing population in the NHS, no-one would be calling him a burden, because everything would be in place to deal with his late-life care,” he said.
This week’s Radio Times is out on Tuesday.