Land use land cover change and environmental implications of quarrying on Buoho township and surrounding communities – A remote sensing approach

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MAY 2016
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Rapid expansion of quarrying activities within Buoho Township and its surrounding communities has generated enormous socio-economic development at the expense of damage to biodiversity needed to create a balanced environment. The ensuing noise levels generated from blasting and other quarrying activities cause great discomfort and environmental hazard to the exposed population. This study sought to assess Land Use Land Cover Change (LULCC) that has occurred on Buoho Township and its surrounding communities and subsequent observation of noise related impacts from blasting and other quarrying activities on residents within the exposed communities. Land Change Modeler (LCM) technique was used to carry out LULCC detection of three multi-temporal Landsat images of the years, 1986, 2003 and 2014. This enabled changes that have occurred within a 28 year period to be assessed. Field observations of blast and ambient noise levels at distant locations were also measured. The results revealed a distinct change in bare land and urban space of an annual rate of change of 84% and 44% respectively. Rock outcrop increased steadily at a rate of 2% however, both forest and pasture space were converted to bare land, rock outcrop and urban space showing a decline of 3% rate of change within the period under study. Results from field exploratory blast measurements indicated a decline in noise levels as distance increased from the blast generating point. The highest and lowest blast noise levels recorded were 121.2 dBA and 92.4 dBA at distances of 203m and 1340 m respectively. Social survey results within the study area showed 17% of respondents always experienced noise related effects, while 50% rarely experienced these conditions. Correlation coefficient between the field exploratory blast observations and social survey responses on noise related effects was found to be 0.82, indicating a strong relationship between blast noise levels and it impact on residents within the study area.
A thesis report submitted in fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the degree of Master of Science Environmental Resources Management.