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Environments, Volume 5, Issue 9 (September 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Knowing how metals in living cells are partitioned between detoxified or sensitive fractions helps [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle How Inter-Basin Transfer of Water Alters Basin Water Stress Used for Water Footprint Characterization
Environments 2018, 5(9), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090105
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 7 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
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Abstract
Water footprint assessments contribute to a better understanding of potential environmental impacts related to water and have become essential in water management. The methodologies for characterizing such assessments, however, usually fail to reflect temporal and spatial variations at local scales. In this paper,
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Water footprint assessments contribute to a better understanding of potential environmental impacts related to water and have become essential in water management. The methodologies for characterizing such assessments, however, usually fail to reflect temporal and spatial variations at local scales. In this paper, we employ four widely-used characterization factors, which were originally developed with global estimates of water demand and availability, to evaluate the impact that inter-basin transfer (IBT) of water has on water risk assessments and, consequently, on the evaluation of the soundness of water cycle. The study was conducted for two major river basins in Japan, where diversion channels were built to move water from the Tone river basin to the Arakawa river basin. Considering IBT, the available water in the Arakawa river basin increases a 45%, reducing the characterization factors a 44% on average and denoting their tendency to overestimate the risk in this basin, while the Tone river basin increased the characterization factors a 28% on average by IBT. Moreover, with a simple example we show how ambiguity in the definition of some characterization factors may cause significant changes in the result of the assessments. Finally, we concluded that local water footprint characterization can be more helpful in local assessment of water resources if the results are unanimous, Targetable, Replicable, Ameliorable, Comparable, and Engageable (uTRACE). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Life Cycle Assessment: From Theory to Practice)
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Open AccessReview An Overview of Dynamic Heterogeneous Oxidations in the Troposphere
Environments 2018, 5(9), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090104
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 20 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
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Abstract
Due to the adverse effect of atmospheric aerosols on public health and their ability to affect climate, extensive research has been undertaken in recent decades to understand their sources and sinks, as well as to study their physical and chemical properties. Atmospheric aerosols
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Due to the adverse effect of atmospheric aerosols on public health and their ability to affect climate, extensive research has been undertaken in recent decades to understand their sources and sinks, as well as to study their physical and chemical properties. Atmospheric aerosols are important players in the Earth’s radiative budget, affecting incoming and outgoing solar radiation through absorption and scattering by direct and indirect means. While the cooling properties of pure inorganic aerosols are relatively well understood, the impact of organic aerosols on the radiative budget is unclear. Additionally, organic aerosols are transformed through chemical reactions during atmospheric transport. The resulting complex mixture of organic aerosol has variable physical and chemical properties that contribute further to the uncertainty of these species modifying the radiative budget. Correlations between oxidative processing and increased absorptivity, hygroscopicity, and cloud condensation nuclei activity have been observed, but the mechanisms behind these phenomena have remained unexplored. Herein, we review environmentally relevant heterogeneous mechanisms occurring on interfaces that contribute to the processing of aerosols. Recent laboratory studies exploring processes at the aerosol–air interface are highlighted as capable of generating the complexity observed in the environment. Furthermore, a variety of laboratory methods developed specifically to study these processes under environmentally relevant conditions are introduced. Remarkably, the heterogeneous mechanisms presented might neither be feasible in the gas phase nor in the bulk particle phase of aerosols at the fast rates enabled on interfaces. In conclusion, these surface mechanisms are important to better understand how organic aerosols are transformed in the atmosphere affecting the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Management of Hazardous Solid Waste in India: An Overview
Environments 2018, 5(9), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090103
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 2 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
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Abstract
Due largely to economic development, industrialization, and changing lifestyles, quantity of hazardous waste in India is rising significantly. This is particularly true in mega cities, where populations are large and growing. Due to a range of factors including limitations in governance systems, inadequate
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Due largely to economic development, industrialization, and changing lifestyles, quantity of hazardous waste in India is rising significantly. This is particularly true in mega cities, where populations are large and growing. Due to a range of factors including limitations in governance systems, inadequate treatment facilities, limitations in compliance and regulation, and limited trained and skilled stakeholders, the management of hazardous solid waste in the country is largely ineffective. One exception to this is the State of Gujarat, which has sought to implement a number of strategies to better manage the rising quantities of hazardous solid waste being produced. This article highlights the management of solid waste in the country for an effective mitigation of various hazards. Further, this article focused on adaptive technologies for the hazardous waste management all over the country more specifically in the state of Gujarat. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cytosolic Distribution of Metals (Cd, Cu) and Metalloids (As, Se) in Livers and Gonads of Field-Collected Fish Exposed to an Environmental Contamination Gradient: An SEC-ICP-MS Analysis
Environments 2018, 5(9), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090102
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 5 September 2018
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Abstract
The distribution of As, Cd, Cu and Se among biomolecules of different molecular weight (MW) in the heat-treated cytosolic fraction of livers and gonads of white suckers (WS; Catostomus commersonii) collected in a reference lake and in a lake subject to multi-metal
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The distribution of As, Cd, Cu and Se among biomolecules of different molecular weight (MW) in the heat-treated cytosolic fraction of livers and gonads of white suckers (WS; Catostomus commersonii) collected in a reference lake and in a lake subject to multi-metal contamination was investigated. Distribution profiles were obtained by separation of the heat-stable protein and peptide (HSP) fractions using size-exclusion high performance-liquid chromatography, coupled online to an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, to quantify the associated metals. Metal-handling strategies did not vary between the reference and exposed fish, with the exception of As. Cadmium and Cu appeared associated with the heat-stable peptides metallothioneins (MTs), indicating their reasonable detoxification and regulation in WS. In contrast, Se and As were not bound to MTs, but rather, to biomolecules of lower MW (<2 kDa). Arsenic was found associated with the same biomolecules in fish from both lakes, but their proportions changed between reference and exposed fish. For future work, the identification of the Se and As binding biomolecules would be of great interest to determine if these metalloids are detoxified or if, conversely, the biomolecules are metal-sensitive and their binding to Se or As represents a threat for the health of these fish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Toxicology of Trace Metals)
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Open AccessReview Drought Impact and Adaptation Strategies in the Mid-Hill Farming System of Western Nepal
Environments 2018, 5(9), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090101
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
Climate-induced drought hazard has been emerging as one of the major challenges in the mid-hill farming system and rural livelihood in Nepal. Drought stress, in combination with century-long socio-political issues such as unequal social structure, gender discrimination, and marginalization of poor and disadvantaged
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Climate-induced drought hazard has been emerging as one of the major challenges in the mid-hill farming system and rural livelihood in Nepal. Drought stress, in combination with century-long socio-political issues such as unequal social structure, gender discrimination, and marginalization of poor and disadvantaged groups have made smallholders more vulnerable in society. Climate changes are exacerbating issues within an already vulnerable society. Therefore, a review study on the impact of drought on the rain-fed hill farming system, and the potential adaptation measures, was carried out in the mid-hill region of western Nepal. Both agricultural impacts such as depletion of traditional varieties of crops, crop-specific diseases, low production, lack of water for irrigation; and non-agricultural impacts such as changing rural livelihood patterns, and social conflict due to agriculture and water issues were identified as major impacts. Some of the agricultural adaptation measures viz. the promotion of climate smart agriculture practices, crop diversification, and agroforestry practices seem to have been more effective in the region. At the same time, small-scale structural water harvesting measures, for instance, rainwater harvesting, conservation ponds, and irrigation channels, drip water irrigation, and an early warning system for drought events could also be an advantage in this context. Nonetheless, there are several adaptation barriers including ecological and physical constraints, human and information resource-shortages, and social barriers to adaptation. Therefore, local site-specific adaptation measures should be developed, and implemented, to increase the adaptive capacity of smallholders, and enhance the farming system in the face of the climate-induced drought scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Optimizing Spacer Length for Positioning Functional Groups in Bio-Waste
Environments 2018, 5(9), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090100
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 2 September 2018
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Abstract
The goal of this study was to determine the optimal chain length needed for tethering functional groups on bio-wastes. The purpose of modifying the surface of bio-waste is to improve their affinity for phenols. To this end, four different aminated green tea leaves,
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The goal of this study was to determine the optimal chain length needed for tethering functional groups on bio-wastes. The purpose of modifying the surface of bio-waste is to improve their affinity for phenols. To this end, four different aminated green tea leaves, with the amine group located at the end of 6, 8, 10, and 12 carbons were synthesized. Green approaches to functionalization lead to fewer reactive sites. Optimizing spacer length is one way to ameliorate this. The aminated tea leaves were prepared by a tosylation reaction followed by displacement with a diamine used in excess. The tea leaves with the amine at the end of six carbons proved to have the best ability to remove 2-chlorophenol (2-CP) from its aqueous solution. It was at least 3–4 times better than native spent tea leaves. The mechanism by which the phenol was removed proved to be primarily an acid–base reaction followed by H-bonding and dipole–dipole interactions. Because of the acid–base interactions, the relatively low-boiling 2-CP did not volatilize off the aminated tea leaves enabling recycling. On the other hand, with activated charcoal, the adsorbed 2-CP volatilized almost completely under ambient conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Analysis of the Risk Posed by Leachate from Dumpsites in Developing Countries
Environments 2018, 5(9), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090099
Received: 20 July 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
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Abstract
The disposal of municipal solid waste into primarily dumpsites in developing countries causes a number of potential public and environmental health risks. While there have been various studies that have evaluated the contaminants that cause the risks, these studies have generally not examined
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The disposal of municipal solid waste into primarily dumpsites in developing countries causes a number of potential public and environmental health risks. While there have been various studies that have evaluated the contaminants that cause the risks, these studies have generally not examined in a holistic way the manner in which these contaminants move. This study therefore sought to model the flow of a range of contaminants in dumpsites (As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Ni, Zn), and potential health risks as a means of enabling the more effective siting of facilities to reduce the risks posed. The study proposes a conservative model, using well consolidated equations and assumption, taking into account the path the pollutant makes to reach the water table and the point of exposure. The modelling may be useful to easily identify the boundaries of the area of risk related to the presence of a dumpsite in a Developing Country, beyond which a local community may use or build a safe well for drinking water. The results show as the area of risk is large and varies significantly with changes in input parameters, suggesting that without site-specific information it is better to follow conservative assumptions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle What Is the Value of Wild Bee Pollination for Wild Blueberries and Cranberries, and Who Values It?
Environments 2018, 5(9), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090098
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
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Abstract
Pollinator conservation efforts and growing interest in wild bee pollination have increased markedly in the last decade, making it increasingly important to have clear and practical estimates of the value of pollinators to agriculture. We used agricultural statistics, socio-economic producer surveys, and agronomic
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Pollinator conservation efforts and growing interest in wild bee pollination have increased markedly in the last decade, making it increasingly important to have clear and practical estimates of the value of pollinators to agriculture. We used agricultural statistics, socio-economic producer surveys, and agronomic field research data to estimate traditional pollination value metrics and create novel approaches to the valuation of the ecosystem services provided by wild pollinators. Using two regionally important United States (USA) crops—Maine wild blueberry and Massachusetts cranberry—as models, we present the perceived values of wild bee pollinators from the perspectives of both consumers and producers. The net income attributable to wild bees was similar for wild blueberry ($613/ha) and cranberry ($689/ha). Marginal profit from incrementally adding more hives per ha was greater from stocking a third/fourth hive for cranberry ($6206/ha) than stocking a ninth/10th hive for wild blueberry ($556/ha), given the greater initial responsiveness of yield, revenue, and profit using rented honey bee hives in cranberry compared with wild blueberry. Both crops’ producers were willing to annually invest only $140–188/ha in wild pollination enhancements on their farms, justifying government financial support. Consumers are willing to pay ≈6.7 times more to support wild bees than producers, which indicates a potential source for market-based subsidies for invertebrate conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Ecosystem Services)
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Open AccessArticle Study on the Appraisal of Tourism Demands and Recreation Benefits for Nanwan Beach, Kenting, Taiwan
Environments 2018, 5(9), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090097
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 25 August 2018
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Abstract
This study implemented a questionnaire survey on tourists to the Nanwan Beach, Kenting, Taiwan and then applied the travel cost method to appraise the recreation benefits of the Nanwan Beach. The truncated Poisson model (TPOIS), truncated negative binomial distribution model, and on-site Poisson
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This study implemented a questionnaire survey on tourists to the Nanwan Beach, Kenting, Taiwan and then applied the travel cost method to appraise the recreation benefits of the Nanwan Beach. The truncated Poisson model (TPOIS), truncated negative binomial distribution model, and on-site Poisson model were applied in view of the errors caused by truncated samples and endogenous stratification, and the results indicated that: (1) The on-site Poisson model was more suitable than the other two models for estimating the recreation benefits of Nanwan; (2) the three recreational benefit indicators (consumer surplus, compensation variation, and equivalent variation) estimated using the TPOIS model were all significantly greater than those of the on-site Poisson model; (3) the on-site Poisson model estimated the price elasticity and income elasticity of the tourism demands for Nanwan as −0.329 and 0.187, respectively; and (4) on the basis of the on-site Poisson model, the consumer surplus for Nanwan was NT$9639 (approximately US$289) per person per visit, and the annual gross recreation benefits were approximate NT$8.022 billion. The results are expected to provide a valuable reference for management and planning policies of the Kenting National Park. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Determination of Quality Properties of Low-Grade Biodiesel and Its Heating Oil Blends
Environments 2018, 5(9), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090096
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 21 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
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Abstract
This research work examined how biodiesel produced from frying oils affects the physicochemical properties of its mixtures with conventional heating oil. Through the characterization of biodiesel blends and heating oil, the purpose is to produce an improved heating oil that will meet the
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This research work examined how biodiesel produced from frying oils affects the physicochemical properties of its mixtures with conventional heating oil. Through the characterization of biodiesel blends and heating oil, the purpose is to produce an improved heating oil that will meet the specifications of the existing legislation for heating oil, while positively contributing to reducing the production of pollutants. The percentage of biodiesel added to a conventional diesel fuel contributes to the reduction of the pollutants produced during combustion. The examined biodiesel is considered the residual product, which was produced at a factory in Cyprus, and was deemed unsuitable for export, because it does not meet the legal requirements. Using specific volumes of these mixtures, twelve parameters were determined in order to investigate the effect of the mixtures: kinematic viscosity, sulfur content, micro carbon residue (MCR), distillation curves, density, cloud point (CP), fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) content, heat of combustion, iodine value (IV), cetane index (CI) after distillation, oxidation stability, and cold filter plugging point (CFPP). A number of fuel properties including the kinematic viscosity, MCR, distillation temperature—up to 80% distillate—and density showed an increase as the percentage of FAMEs raised from 2.5 to 50%, while others showed a mixed behavior (e.g., IV, CP, CI, CFPP), and the rest an inverse trend (e.g., sulfur content, heat of combustion and oxidation stability). An efficient potential utilization of a residual domestic product is proposed, while the pollutants that accumulate on the urban atmospheres during the winter months, due to increased heating needs of homes and other public or private buildings, will be significantly reduced. Full article
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Open AccessReview Ion-Selective Electrodes for Detection of Lead (II) in Drinking Water: A Mini-Review
Environments 2018, 5(9), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090095
Received: 23 May 2018 / Revised: 20 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
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Abstract
Despite the fact that the adverse health effects due to the intake of lead have been well studied and widely recognized, lead contamination in drinking water has been reoccurring worldwide, with some incidents escalating into a public drinking water crisis. As lead contamination
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Despite the fact that the adverse health effects due to the intake of lead have been well studied and widely recognized, lead contamination in drinking water has been reoccurring worldwide, with some incidents escalating into a public drinking water crisis. As lead contamination is often related to lead-based pipes close to or inside homes, it is not realistic, at least in the near term, to remove and replace all lead connection pipes and lead-based plumbing. Effective monitoring of lead concentration at consumers’ water taps remains critical for providing consumers with first-hand information and preventing potential wide-spread lead contamination in drinking water. This review paper examines the existing common technologies for laboratory testing and on-site measuring of lead concentrations. As the conventional analytical techniques for lead detection require using expensive instruments, as well as a high time for sample preparation and a skilled operator, an emphasis is placed on reviewing ion-selective electrode (ISE) technology due to its superior performance, low cost, ease of use, and its promising potential to be miniaturized and integrated into standalone sensing units. In a holistic way, this paper reviews and discusses the background, different types of ISEs are reviewed and discussed, namely liquid-contact ISEs and solid-contact ISEs. Along with the potential opportunities for further research, the limitations and unique challenges of ISEs for lead detection are also discussed in detail. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ratio of Mercury Concentration to PCB Concentration Varies with Sex of White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii)
Environments 2018, 5(9), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090094
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 21 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
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Abstract
The whole-fish total mercury (Hg) concentrations were determined in 25 mature female and 26 mature male white suckers (Catostomus commersonii) caught during their spawning run in the Kewaunee River, a tributary to Lake Michigan. The age of each fish was estimated
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The whole-fish total mercury (Hg) concentrations were determined in 25 mature female and 26 mature male white suckers (Catostomus commersonii) caught during their spawning run in the Kewaunee River, a tributary to Lake Michigan. The age of each fish was estimated using thin-sectioned otoliths, and total length (TL) and weight were determined for each fish. When adjusted for the effect of age, males were found to be 7% higher in Hg concentration than females. Nearly all (about 98%) of the Hg found in the white suckers was determined to be methylmercury. In an earlier study on the same 51 white suckers from the Kewaunee River spawning run, males were found to be 18% higher than females in polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentration. We determined that the ratio of Hg concentration to PCB concentration in females was significantly higher than that in males. Thus, sex significantly interacted with contaminant type (Hg or PCBs) in determining contaminant concentrations. The most plausible explanation for this interaction was that males eliminated Hg at a faster rate than females, most likely due to the boosting of the Hg-elimination rate by certain androgens such as testosterone and 11-ketotestosterone. Hg concentrations in the white suckers were well below federal guidelines for fish consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Toxicology of Trace Metals)
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