[Answered] What are the environmental implications of the reclamation of Water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples.

Land reclamation is one of the most consequential fields of human induced environmental transformation. In this light reclamation of water bodies into urban land use has following environmental consequences:   

  1. Damage to water ecology: Urban land transformation leads to creation of residential, commercial buildings, such as houses, restaurants around water bodies, causing degradation of water ecology and influx of nutrients. For example, Dal Lake in Sri Nagar.  
  2. Increased incidence of flooding: Water bodies act as sponges for extra rainfall, reclamation of water bodies, has led to higher incidences of floods. A case in point is Mumbai, which lost 71% of its wetlands between 1970 to 2014.  
  3. Species extinction: Land reclamation of Hussain Sagar Lake in Telangana, have increased the BOD to 116 mg/l. It is detrimental for not only aquatic species but also for aerial fauna.  
  4. Drinking water pollution: Water bodies have purifying effect through buffering out contaminants. Encroachment of water bodies lead to concentration of harmful chemicals such as arsenic, copper, chromium in the water table. For example, encroachment of water bodies in West Bengal have led to high level of arsenic pollution.  
  5. Environmental hazards: Water reclamation for urban land use in the coastal areas may aggravate the incidents of earthquakes etc., due to soil liquefaction and land subsidence.  

Water bodies play an important part in sustaining the ecology. In this light their conservation through waste water treatment, non-encroachment, reduced anthropogenic stress etc., is an imperative.  


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