The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Wednesday, 05 September 2018 01:00

Landslides induced by human activity are rising

Human-induced landslides Human-induced landslides.

A new study by researchers at UK's Sheffield University shows that human activity increasingly provokes fatal landslides.

The team collected data from 4800 fatal landslides between 2004 and 2016. Over 700 of them are caused by human activity such as mining, cutting of hills or other construction projects. Melanie Froude, a postdoctoral researcher at Sheffield's Department of Geography and lead author of the study stated: "We were aware that humans are placing increasing pressure on their local environment, but it was surprising to find clear trends within the database that fatal landslides triggered by construction, illegal hillcutting and illegal mining were increasing globally during the period of 2004 and 2016."

The most affected continent by human-induced slides accounting for 75% of the incidents is Asia while India is the most affected country. Future predictions are not optimistic as the rate of fatal events is increasing rapidly in India followed by Pakistan, Myanar and Philippines. Other areas damaged, apart from Asia, are Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, East Africa and the Alps in Europe. Researchers state that wealth is a major factor contributing to the distribution of those incidents. Fatal landslides occur more frequently in poor countries and mostly affect poor people. According to Froude, in regions like Nepal and India, where such failures occur due to construction projects, the fatalities are numerous as the regulations to protect the workers and the public are insufficient.

Hillcutting is a triggering cause of slides especially in countryside, where people utilize materials from slopes for their own profits. "We found several incidents of children being caught-up in slides triggered as they collected colored clay from hillslopes, for decoration of houses during religious festivals in Nepal. Educating communities who undertake this practice on how to do it safely, will save lives," Froude says.

Researchers state that if an appropriate regulation system is implemented, human-provoked landslides could be prevented and the fatalities could be eliminated.

(The publication is attached bellow)


Read 463 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 September 2018 16:06

The News Center is being funded by our Annual Corporate Sponsors " (learn more):