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Assessment and monitoring of urbanisation on Himalayan lacustrine environment-a case study in Mirik municipality area

Abstract

The Mirik lake is a well-known tourist destination in the Darjeeling Himalayan region of West Bengal. In the last few decades, the lake area experienced a surge in demand for the hospitality industry with the consequences of unrestricted municipal town growth. On this perspective, this research work addresses the contemporary problems of the Mirk municipality area involving the lake system using technologies of remote sensing and GIS. In accordance with the primary objective, the detailed land use/land cover change analysis of the past twenty years shows a significant escalating trend in built-up area as it has increased from 149.85 ha in 2000 to 178.25 ha in 2020, where the lake expresses a steady reduction of its perennial part. The gradual shrinkage in the lake area may become of grave concern and therefore, this particular work tries to examine the water quality parameters of Mirik lake. Analyses have shown that the lake shrinkage may be attributed to waste disposal, landfill pollution etc., substantially contributed to the raised level of suspended sediment concentration (3724.26 mg/lit in 2020) near the boundaries. Moreover, the outcome of the developed water pollution model identifies that the western and south-western parts of the lake are the most polluted regions and confirms numerous inlets of the western side push up the level of phosphorus, nitrogen and biological oxygen demand in lake water. Such lake degradation is a real threat to the mountainous lacustrine environment, and it requires comprehensive plans for better management practices at some regular interregnum.

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Availability of data and material

The authors are grateful to the in-house personnel of the Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing Cell, DSTBT, GoWB, India for providing study area related administrative layers/.shp files.

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Acknowledgements

Sincere thanks to Shri. Anoop Kumar Aggarwal, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Biotechnology, Government of West Bengal (DSTBT, GoWB), India for extending all necessary support in accomplishment of this study. The authors would like to appreciate the initiatives that were taken by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST, GoI) to support this research work as it has been carried out under National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem project, Climate Change Programme Division funded by DST, GoI. The authors are grateful to Dr. P.B Hazra, Principal Scientist, DSTBT, GoWB, India for his continuous encouragement to this work and indebted to Dr. B. Samanta, Senior Scientist, DSTBT, GoWB, India for his valuable suggestions and recommendation. The authors are also thankful to the Mirik Municipality for sharing data and information about their projects/schemes.

Funding

This research work has been carried out under National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem project, Climate Change Programme Division funded by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

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Khamaru, L., Chakraborty, J., Samanta, S. et al. Assessment and monitoring of urbanisation on Himalayan lacustrine environment-a case study in Mirik municipality area. GeoJournal (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-022-10677-6

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Keywords

  • Darjeeling himalayan region
  • Municipal town growth
  • Suspended sediment concentration
  • Biological oxygen demand
  • Water pollution model
  • Mountainous lacustrine environment