Socioenvironmental issues of river bed material extraction in the Himalayan piedmont (India)

The present study focuses on the Balason river running through the Himalayan piedmont zone (near Siliguri, India). The objective of the study is an assessment of the environmental effects of river bed material extraction by humans and the dependence of indigenous people on the river and its ecosystem services.

The analysis is based on results of field work consisting of geodetic measurements of the river channel and interviews among the local community from the Nimtijot village. Historical hydrological data were also used for the study. The results of the investigation show that the Balason river is heavily affected by excessive exploitation of river bed material during dry season and the replenishment of extracted material in a monsoon season is not always sufficient. It leads to channel deepening. The local community working in the river heavily depends for its livelihood on continuing this activity. A decreasing amount of bed material to be extracted may lead to degradation of the strong relationship between the local community and their natural environment (river).

Published in:

Wiejaczka, Ł., Tamang, L., Piróg, D. et al. 2018. Socioenvironmental issues of river bed material extraction  in the Himalayan piedmont (India)Environmental Earth Sciences 77: 718.