Effect of Reduced Anthropogenic Activities on Water Quality in Lake Vembanad, India

Kulk, G, George, G, Abdulaziz, A, Menon, Nandini, Theenathayalan, V, Jayaram, C, Brewin, RJW and Sathyendranath, S 2021 Effect of Reduced Anthropogenic Activities on Water Quality in Lake Vembanad, India. Remote Sensing, 13 (9). 1631. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13091631

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The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Life Below Water (SDG-14) aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development”. Within SDG-14, targets 14.1 and 14.2 deal with marine pollution and the adverse impacts of human activities on aquatic systems. Here, we present a remote-sensing-based analysis of short-term changes in the Vembanad-Kol wetland system in the southwest of India. The region has experienced high levels of anthropogenic pressures, including from agriculture, industry, and tourism, leading to adverse ecological and socioeconomic impacts with consequences not only for achieving the tar�gets set out in SDG-14, but also those related to water quality (SDG-6) and health (SDG-3). To move towards the sustainable management of coastal and aquatic ecosystems such as Lake Vembanad, it is important to understand how both natural and anthropogenic processes affect water quality. In 2020, a unique opportunity arose to study water quality in Lake Vembanad during a period when anthropogenic pressures were reduced due to a nationwide lockdown in response to the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (25 March–31 May 2020). Using Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 multi�spectral remote sensing and in situ observations to analyse changes in five different water quality indicators, we show that water quality improved in large areas of Lake Vembanad during the lock�down in 2020, especially in the more central and southern regions, as evidenced by a decrease in total suspended matter, turbidity, and the absorption by coloured dissolved organic matter, all lead�ing to clearer waters as indicated by the Forel-Ule classification of water colour. Further analysis of longer term trends (2013–2020) showed that water quality has been improving over time in the more northern regions of Lake Vembanad independent of the lockdown. The improvement in water qual�ity during the lockdown in April–May 2020 illustrates the importance of addressing anthropogenic activities for the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems and water resources.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: coloured dissolved organic matter; total suspended matter; turbidity; water quality; SARS-CoV-2; lockdown; remote sensing; global development goals; sustainable management
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > National Centre for Earth Observation
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 22 Apr 2021 08:42
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2021 08:42
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9197

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