American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Urban Growth Using Land Use/Land Cover, Water Quality and Health Indicators: A Case Study of Arequipa, Peru

Oswaldo Villena Carpio and Brian D. Fath

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2011.90.101

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 7, Issue 2

Pages 90-101


Problem statement: This research assesses the direct effects of urban expansion on land cover/use, river flow, water quality and the indirect effects of these variables in the rate of gastrointestinal disease in people in Arequipa, Peru through the combined use of satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems. Approach: It also uses information about demographic changes, hydrologic data and land cover change in the Arequipa region for the last 17 years. The goal is to understand the relationship between urbanization, water quality in the Chili River and incidence of gastrointestinal diseases. Results: Landsat imagery was used to determine this relationship and to extrapolate business as usual trends into the future ten years from now. Results indicate that there has been notable urban growth and a loss in volcanic material land and cropland between 1990 and 2007, as new urban developments have appeared in these areas. The population expansion over volcanically active area is particularly troubling since it poses a potential human health risk. We also model a business as usual scenario out to the year 2020, which shows continued loss of these land use types and serves as a warning for land managers to consider alternate policies. Conclusion/Recommendations: The analysis also shows a direct correlation between urbanization with the decrease of water quality and the increase in the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases.


© 2011 Oswaldo Villena Carpio and Brian D. Fath. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.