Open AccessArticle
Greenhouse Gas Emission Assessment from Electricity Production in the Czech Republic
Environments 2018, 5(1), 17; doi:10.3390/environments5010017 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The paper deals with the computational life cycle assessment (LCA) model of electricity generation in the Czech Republic. The goal of the paper was to determine the environmental assessment of electricity generation. Taking into account the trend of electricity generation from 2000 to
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The paper deals with the computational life cycle assessment (LCA) model of electricity generation in the Czech Republic. The goal of the paper was to determine the environmental assessment of electricity generation. Taking into account the trend of electricity generation from 2000 to 2050, the paper was focused on electricity generation evaluation in this country in view of its current state and future perspectives. The computational LCA model was done using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) method, which allowed the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions. For the assessment, 1 Mega-watt hour of the obtained electricity (MWhe) was used as a functional unit. The cradle-to-gate approach was employed. The system boundary covered all the technologies included in the electricity mix of the country. Resulting from the analysis, the solids, lignite in particular, was assessed as an energy source with the most negative impact on the emissions of greenhouse gas. This article results from international cooperation of a Czech-Polish team in the field of computational LCA models. It presents partial results of the team cooperation which serves as a base for following comparison of Czech and Polish systems of electricity generation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Photocatalytic Activity of the Iron-Containing Natural Composites in the Reaction of Oxidative Destruction of Oxalic Acid and Phenol
Environments 2018, 5(1), 16; doi:10.3390/environments5010016 -
Abstract
This paper presents the results of a study of the photocatalytic activity of iron-containing composites based on natural peat and zeolite under external influences: Ultraviolet irradiation (UVI) and UVI + H2O2. It is shown that the optimal method for
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This paper presents the results of a study of the photocatalytic activity of iron-containing composites based on natural peat and zeolite under external influences: Ultraviolet irradiation (UVI) and UVI + H2O2. It is shown that the optimal method for the photocatalytic destruction of pollutants (oxalic acid and phenol) with composites is to introduce hydrogen peroxide in the system. The composites studied are sources of iron ions in the Ruff-Fenton system; they provide the generation of •OH radicals, which have a high reactivity in the oxidative degradation reactions of organic substances and can be recommended for reuse to purify water drains. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change and Their Implications in the Zou Department of South Benin
Environments 2018, 5(1), 15; doi:10.3390/environments5010015 -
Abstract
Climate change is a global phenomenon. Its impact on agricultural activities in developing countries has increased dramatically. Understanding how farmers perceive climate change and how they adapt to it is very important to the implementation of adequate policies for agricultural and food security.
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Climate change is a global phenomenon. Its impact on agricultural activities in developing countries has increased dramatically. Understanding how farmers perceive climate change and how they adapt to it is very important to the implementation of adequate policies for agricultural and food security. This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of farmers’ adaptation choices, determinants of the adaptation choices and the long-term implications of the adaptation choices. Data were collected from 120 respondents in the Zou Department of Benin. A binary logit model was used to analyze the factors influencing household decisions to adapt to climate change. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was estimated to analyze the factors influencing households’ choice of adaptation strategies to climate change. The results show that farmers have a developed perception of climate change. These changes are translated by rainfall disturbances (rainfall delays, early cessation, bad rainfall distribution etc.), shortening of the small dry season, increasing of temperature and sometimes, violent winds. The survey reveals that Benin farmers adopt many strategies in response to climate change. These strategies include “Crop–livestock diversification and other good practices (mulching, organic fertilizer),” “Use of improved varieties, chemical fertilizers and pesticides,” “Agroforestry and perennial plantation” and “Diversification of income-generating activities.” The findings also reveal that most of the respondents use these strategies in combination. From the binary logit model, we know that “farming experience” and “educational level of household head” positively influence adaptation decisions. The result of the multinomial logit analysis shows that farming experience, educational level, farm size and gender have a significant impact on climate change adaptation strategies. Based on in-depth analysis of each strategy, we identify crop diversification and agroforestry as being the most promising strategies with benefits for farmers, the environment and future generations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Open-Data Based Assessment of Expected Changes in Land Use and Water Availability as a Result of the Construction of the West Segment of the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal
Environments 2018, 5(1), 14; doi:10.3390/environments5010014 -
Abstract
Nicaragua is preparing the construction of an interoceanic canal that will be the longest and largest canal on Earth. An environmental and social impact assessment was published in 2014 supporting a general viability of the canal. Nonetheless, several scientists and societal actors raised
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Nicaragua is preparing the construction of an interoceanic canal that will be the longest and largest canal on Earth. An environmental and social impact assessment was published in 2014 supporting a general viability of the canal. Nonetheless, several scientists and societal actors raised serious concerns regarding the social, economic, and ecological sustainability. Despite an open dispute within the Nicaraguan society, no independent, transparent, and scientifically sound assessment has been carried out. This article presents a transparently documented and comprehensible impact assessment of the West Canal Segment of the Nicaragua Canal. Based on publicly available data and scientifically sound and recognized methods, land use, hydrological (water availability), and socio-economic impacts (population, transportation/communication) are described, quantified, and compared with official declarations in the impact assessment. The examination of official declarations discloses significant ambiguities concerning the methodology and data used for the impact assessment. Consequently, the results presented are at least partly doubtful. When compared with official declarations, the main results of this study reveal: (1) significantly more forested areas (+53.7 km2) and areas of extensive agriculture/near nature (14.4 km2), but far less urban and intensively used areas (−39.6 km2) are affected by the canal; (2) A population of nearly 16,500, and several regional or locally unique transportation and communication routes are directly affected by the canal construction; and (3) a slightly lower water availability (−6.6%) and a much higher water demand for lock operations (+31.8%) were estimated. Accordingly, only about 20% of the lock water demand could be met by locally-available discharge. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Environments in 2017
Environments 2018, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/environments5010013 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Environments maintains high quality standards for its published papers [...]
Full article
Open AccessArticle
Environmental Impact of Small Hydro Power Plant—A Case Study
Environments 2018, 5(1), 12; doi:10.3390/environments5010012 -
Abstract
Currently an international topic—not only among the members of the European Union—is the use of renewable energy, such as hydro power. The subject of this paper is the environmental impact assessment of the small hydropower (SHP) plant. The paper identifies the environmental impacts
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Currently an international topic—not only among the members of the European Union—is the use of renewable energy, such as hydro power. The subject of this paper is the environmental impact assessment of the small hydropower (SHP) plant. The paper identifies the environmental impacts of an SHP plant in Spišské Bystré, Slovakia. It also assesses the alternatives to a specific hydraulic structure by quantitative evaluation from the point of view of character of the impacts, their significance, and their duration. The conclusion of the work includes the selection of the optimal alternative of the assessed construction and proposes measurements to reduce the negative impacts. The benefit of this paper is in highlighting the importance of assessing the impact of construction on the environment in the planning phase. Eliminating the negative impacts of the construction on the environment is much more challenging than the implementation of preventive measures, and it is therefore necessary to assess at the planning phase how the construction and operation of the proposed activities impact the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Removal of Synthetic Dyes by Dried Biomass of Freshwater Moss Vesicularia Dubyana: A Batch Biosorption Study
Environments 2018, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/environments5010010 -
Abstract
In this work the biosorption of cationic dyes thioflavin T (TT) and methylene blue (MB) from single and binary solutions on dried biomass of freshwater moss Vesicularia dubyana as a function of contact time, pH, and biomass or sorbate concentration has been investigated.
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In this work the biosorption of cationic dyes thioflavin T (TT) and methylene blue (MB) from single and binary solutions on dried biomass of freshwater moss Vesicularia dubyana as a function of contact time, pH, and biomass or sorbate concentration has been investigated. The prediction of maximum sorption capacities using adsorption isotherm models were also realized. Biosorption of TT and MB is a rapid process strongly affected by solution pH. Maximum sorption capacities Qmax calculated from Langmuir isotherm were 119 ± 11 mg/g for TT and 229 ± 9 mg/g for MB. In binary mixture, the presence of MB caused significant decrease of TT sorption, advocating the competitive sorption between TT and MB. Results revealed that V. dubyana biomass exhibited significantly higher affinity to thiazine dye MB in comparison with benzothiazole dye TT from both single and binary solutions. Based on the obtained results, the competitive effects in binary system can substantially influence the sorption process and should be thoroughly evaluated before application of selected adsorbents for removal of basic dyes from colored effluents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pervious Concrete as an Environmental Solution for Pavements: Focus on Key Properties
Environments 2018, 5(1), 11; doi:10.3390/environments5010011 -
Abstract
Pervious concrete is considered to be an advanced pavement material in terms of the environmental benefits arising from its basic feature—high water-permeability. This paper presents the results of experimental work that is aimed at testing technically important properties of pervious concrete prepared with
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Pervious concrete is considered to be an advanced pavement material in terms of the environmental benefits arising from its basic feature—high water-permeability. This paper presents the results of experimental work that is aimed at testing technically important properties of pervious concrete prepared with three different water-to-cement ratios. The following properties of pervious concrete were tested—compressive and splitting tensile strength, unit weight at dry conditions, void content, and permeability. The mix proportions were expected to have the same volume of cement paste, and, to obtain the same 20% void content for all of the samples. The results show that changes of water-to-cement ratio from 0.35 to 0.25 caused only slight differences in strength characteristics. Arising tendency was found in the case of compressive strength and a decreasing tendency in the case of splitting tensile strength. The hydraulic conductivity ranged from 10.2 mm/s to 7.5 mm/s. The values of both the unit weight and void content were also analysed to compare the theoretical (calculated) values and real experiment results. A fairly good agreement was reached in the case of mixtures with 0.35 and 0.30 water-to-cement ratios, while minor differences were found in the case of 0.25 ratio. Finally, a very tight correlation was found between void content, hydraulic conductivity, and compressive strength. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Particulate Matter from the Road Surface Abrasion as a Problem of Non-Exhaust Emission Control
Environments 2018, 5(1), 9; doi:10.3390/environments5010009 -
Abstract
Along with house heating and industry, emissions from road traffic (exhaust and tire, brake, car body or road surface abrasions) are one of the primary sources of particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere in urban areas. Though numerous regulations and vehicle-control mechanisms have
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Along with house heating and industry, emissions from road traffic (exhaust and tire, brake, car body or road surface abrasions) are one of the primary sources of particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere in urban areas. Though numerous regulations and vehicle-control mechanisms have led to a significant decline of PM emissions from vehicle exhaust gases, other sources of PM remain related to road and car abrasion are responsible for non-exhaust emissions. Quantifying these emissions is a hard problem in both laboratory and field conditions. First, we must recognize the physicochemical properties of the PM that is emitted by various non-exhaust sources. In this paper, we underline the problem of information accessibility with regards to the properties and qualities of PM from non-exhaust sources. We also indicate why scarce information is available in order to find the possible solution to this ongoing issue. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Plant Phenology Observation by Students Using Time-Lapse Images: Creation of the Environment and Examination of Its Adequacy
Environments 2018, 5(1), 7; doi:10.3390/environments5010007 -
Abstract
For environmental education about climate change issues, selecting events that are already encountered by people as teaching materials is considered effective. Consideration of changes in leafing dates over time provides a useful tool, in particular when children themselves observe plant phenology, which can
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For environmental education about climate change issues, selecting events that are already encountered by people as teaching materials is considered effective. Consideration of changes in leafing dates over time provides a useful tool, in particular when children themselves observe plant phenology, which can be achieved using time-lapse imagery. We postulated that creating an environment where this process can be conducted at school would give children a readiness of behavior toward resolution of climate change issues. Verification of how adequately children can undertake the observations is key to establishing the methodology’s effectiveness. In this research, we used time-lapse images from Shiga Heights, Nagano prefecture, Japan, that were taken once per day from 1987 to 2004; in each year from this series, we used the images taken from 27 May to 15 June, inclusive, as these were the dates during which leafing was expected. We created observation sheets and made these and the time-lapse images available for students on the Internet. As a result of our analysis of observations made by 543 students using the observation sheets, we determined that the method had sufficient adequacy for education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Riverine Water Quality Response to Precipitation and Its Change
Environments 2018, 5(1), 8; doi:10.3390/environments5010008 -
Abstract
Surface waters are prone to the influences from both natural condition and anthropogenic activities. The aim of this paper was to study the impacts of one natural variable, precipitation, and its change posed by a changing climate on water quality of three rivers
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Surface waters are prone to the influences from both natural condition and anthropogenic activities. The aim of this paper was to study the impacts of one natural variable, precipitation, and its change posed by a changing climate on water quality of three rivers in Alberta, Canada. Eleven water quality parameters monitored during the time period of 1988–2014 were used to investigate the impact of precipitation. The results showed the significant dependence of most water quality parameters as well as river flow on the cumulative antecedent precipitation. Water quality parameters however had different associations with precipitation; and thus they would respond to climate change qualitatively and quantitatively differently in the rivers and at the stations of each river. In general, some water quality parameters such as turbidity and total phosphorus would increase; whereas other parameters would decrease or show no appreciable change under the projected increase of precipitation under the median climate change scenario for the river basins. On all three rivers, the maximum increase (17.20%) and decrease (−1.53%) were projected for turbidity and chloride, respectively, in the 2050s; while the maximum increase (29.68%) and decrease (−2.45%) were calculated for turbidity and chloride, respectively, in the 2080s. The results imply the need to manage riverine water quality considering precipitation and its change under a changing climate. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Land Allocation Model of Territorial Expansion by Urban Planners and Housing Developers
Environments 2018, 5(1), 5; doi:10.3390/environments5010005 -
Abstract
Agent-based models have recently been proposed as potential tools to support urban planning due to their capacity to simulate complex behaviors. The complexity of the urban development process arises from strong interactions between various components driven by different agents. AMEBA (agent-based model for
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Agent-based models have recently been proposed as potential tools to support urban planning due to their capacity to simulate complex behaviors. The complexity of the urban development process arises from strong interactions between various components driven by different agents. AMEBA (agent-based model for the evolution of urban areas) is a prototype of an exploratory, spatial, agent-based model that considers the main agents involved in the urban development process (urban planners, developers, and the population). The prototype consists of three submodels (one for each agent) that have been developed independently and present the same structure. However, the first two are based on a land use allocation technique, and the last one, as well as their integration, on an agent-based model approach. This paper describes the conceptualization and performance of the submodels that represent urban planners and developers, who are the agents responsible for officially launching expansion and defining the spatial allocation of urban land. The prototype was tested in the Corredor del Henares (an urban–industrial area in the Region of Madrid, Spain), but is sufficiently flexible to be adapted to other study areas and generate different future urban growth contexts. The results demonstrate that this combination of agents can be used to explore various policy-relevant research questions, including urban system interactions in adverse political and socioeconomic scenarios. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Reservoir Sediment Quality Based on Erosion Processes in Watershed Using Mathematical Modelling
Environments 2018, 5(1), 6; doi:10.3390/environments5010006 -
Abstract
Soil erosion, as a significant contributor to nonpoint-source pollution, is ranked top of sediment sources, pollutants attached to sediment, and pollutants in the solution in surface water. This paper is focused on the design of mathematical model intended to predict the total content
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Soil erosion, as a significant contributor to nonpoint-source pollution, is ranked top of sediment sources, pollutants attached to sediment, and pollutants in the solution in surface water. This paper is focused on the design of mathematical model intended to predict the total content of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in bottom sediments in small water reservoirs depending on water erosion processes, together with its application and validation in small agricultural watershed of the Tisovec River, Slovakia. The designed model takes into account the calculation of total N, P, and K content adsorbed on detached and transported soil particles, which consists of supplementing the soil loss calculation with a determination of the average nutrient content in topsoils. The dissolved forms of these elements are neglected in this model. Validation of the model was carried out by statistical assessment of calculated concentrations and measured concentrations in Kľušov, a small water reservoir (Slovakia), using the t-test and F-test, at a 0.05 significance level. Calculated concentrations of total N, P, and K in reservoir sediments were in the range from 0.188 to 0.236 for total N, from 0.065 to 0.078 for total P, and from 1.94 to 2.47 for total K. Measured nutrient concentrations in composite sediment samples ranged from 0.16 to 0.26% for total N, from 0.049 to 0.113% for total P, and from 1.71 to 2.42% for total K. The statistical assessment indicates the applicability of the model in predicting the reservoir’s sediment quality detached through erosion processes in the catchment. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
Overview of Green Building Material (GBM) Policies and Guidelines with Relevance to Indoor Air Quality Management in Taiwan
Environments 2018, 5(1), 4; doi:10.3390/environments5010004 -
Abstract
The objective of this paper was to offer a preliminary overview of Taiwan’s success in green building material (GBM) efforts through legal systems and promotion measures, which are relevant to the contribution to indoor air quality (IAQ) due to sustainability and health issues.
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The objective of this paper was to offer a preliminary overview of Taiwan’s success in green building material (GBM) efforts through legal systems and promotion measures, which are relevant to the contribution to indoor air quality (IAQ) due to sustainability and health issues. In the first part of the paper, the IAQ regulations are summarized to highlight the second nation (i.e., Taiwan) around the world in IAQ management by the law. In addition, the permissible exposure limits (PEL) in Taiwan for airborne hazardous substances were first promulgated in 1974 to deal with occupational health issues in the workplace environment. In the second part of the paper, the developing status of the GBM in Taiwan is analyzed to unravel its connection with the Indoor Air Quality Management Act (IAQMA), promulgated on 23 November 2011. By the end of September 2017, a total of 645 GBM labels have been conferred, covering over 5000 green products. Due to the effectiveness of source control, the healthy GBM occupies most of the market, accounting for about 75%. The IAQMA, which took force in November 2012, is expected to significantly increase the use of healthy GBM in new building construction and remodeling, especially in low formaldehyde (HCHO)/volatile organic compound (VOC)-emitting products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Exploratory Analysis of the Impact of Climate Change on Macedonian Agriculture
Environments 2018, 5(1), 3; doi:10.3390/environments5010003 -
Abstract
Using a mixed input–output model, this study examines potential changes in sector output and water requirements in Macedonia arising from climate change. By defining three climate change scenarios and exogenously specifying the warming shocks for five key agricultural sub-sectors, the effects on the
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Using a mixed input–output model, this study examines potential changes in sector output and water requirements in Macedonia arising from climate change. By defining three climate change scenarios and exogenously specifying the warming shocks for five key agricultural sub-sectors, the effects on the economy were quantified. The results indicated that except for cereals and grapes, agricultural production would benefit from the low climate change scenario due to moderate changes in precipitation and temperature and longer cropping period, while there would be negligible effects on the rest of the economy. Contrary, the medium and high climate change scenarios would negatively affect agriculture due to increase in temperature and decline in precipitation, with severe losses in grape, apple and cereal production, but again with low effects on other economic sectors. As a result, water consumption by agriculture sector will increase by around 6% in the low climate change scenario, and decrease by around 8% and 16% in the medium and high climate change scenarios, respectively, relative to the current agriculture water consumption. Capital investment in irrigation equipment could mitigate the negative climate change impacts in the medium and high climate change scenarios. However, it would impose additional stresses on the existing limited water resource over time. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Particle (Soot) Pollution in Port Harcourt Rivers State, Nigeria—Double Air Pollution Burden? Understanding and Tackling Potential Environmental Public Health Impacts
Environments 2018, 5(1), 2; doi:10.3390/environments5010002 -
Abstract
Residents of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Nigeria, and its environs have since the last quarter of 2016 been experiencing adverse environmental impacts of particle (soot) pollution. This “double air pollution burden”—the unresolved prevailing widespread air pollution and the “added” emergence of particle
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Residents of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Nigeria, and its environs have since the last quarter of 2016 been experiencing adverse environmental impacts of particle (soot) pollution. This “double air pollution burden”—the unresolved prevailing widespread air pollution and the “added” emergence of particle pollution considered an environmental health threat, led to protests against government inaction in some parts of the state. In February 2017, several months following the onset of the pollution, the government declared an Emergency, and set up a Task Force to investigate and find a solution to the problem. Global research suggests that particle pollution correlates positively with a range of morbidities and an increased risk of mortality among exposed populations. This underscores the need for rigorous implementation of existing environmental legislations established to protect the environment and public health. Nigeria’s rapid response to the 2014–2015 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and successful prevention of its spread provides some lessons for addressing such environmental health emergencies—strategic action, including effective environmental risk communication, environmental audit, and monitoring is key. Epidemiological studies of the affected population is imperative. A concerted effort by the Rivers State Ministries of Environment and Health, as well as academia and private organizations is required. Public service campaign in terms of government providing up to date information on the existing situation is required. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Audio-Visual Preferences and Tranquillity Ratings in Urban Areas
Environments 2018, 5(1), 1; doi:10.3390/environments5010001 -
Abstract
During a survey related to acoustic and visual perception of users of urban areas, 614 people have been interviewed in Pisa (Italy). The work aims to identify and quantify the effects of parameters influencing the perception of tranquillity in order to understand the
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During a survey related to acoustic and visual perception of users of urban areas, 614 people have been interviewed in Pisa (Italy). The work aims to identify and quantify the effects of parameters influencing the perception of tranquillity in order to understand the soundscape and to propose a method based on the perception of tranquillity for the detection of quiet areas within urban ones. A linear model that predicts the tranquillity perceived in different environments, based on their visual and acoustic characteristics, is proposed. Users were interviewed by operators inside the areas, using a direct approach of standardized questionnaires and oral questions. Simultaneous noise measurements and soundwalks have been performed, together with visual registrations. The linear model obtained predicts the perceived tranquillity based on the statistical level LA10 (A-weighted noise level exceeded for 10% of the measurement time) the sound sources and visual elements. The perceived tranquillity results negatively correlated to LA10 and to the presence of sound sources or negative visual elements. The presence of beneficial sound sources is positively correlated to the perceived tranquillity. However, the effect of the noise level is regulated by environmental characteristics. Perceived tranquillity is proposed as an indicator to identify quiet areas in the urban environment, according to European Directive 49/2002/EC. The obtained model identifies the areas that would get a higher tranquillity value than a fixed threshold value and therefore would be perceived as quiet. The model can be used as a cost-benefit analysis support tool to identify the best solution between the reduction of noise levels and the regeneration of urban areas, referring to the tranquillity perceived by the users. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Pretreatments on Yields, Selectivity and Properties of Products from Pyrolysis of Phragmites australis (Common Reeds)
Environments 2017, 4(4), 96; doi:10.3390/environments4040096 -
Abstract
Phragmites australis (PHA) is a grass-type biomass, commonly known as reed grass, which has the potential to be a valuable energy and chemical feedstock due to its high yield (4.5–7 kg biomass m−2 year−1). It is demonstrated that the physicochemical
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Phragmites australis (PHA) is a grass-type biomass, commonly known as reed grass, which has the potential to be a valuable energy and chemical feedstock due to its high yield (4.5–7 kg biomass m−2 year−1). It is demonstrated that the physicochemical properties and composition of phragmites can be altered by subjecting the feedstock to a combined acid hydrolysis at various level of acid concentrations and torrefaction pre-treatment processes. In this paper, we conducted fast pyrolysis on pretreated PHA, resulting in bio-oil with significantly higher selectivity towards levoglucosenone and appreciably reduced amounts of ketones and aldehydes being produced. The experiments demonstrated that 4% H3PO4 acid hydrolysis and 220 °C torrefaction combined pretreatments prior to fast pyrolysis resulted in 17 times increase of relative selectivity to levoglucosenone in the bio-oil portion along with a reduction of ketones and aldehydes relative concentrations from 23% to 13%. Pyrolysis of pretreated PHA produced higher amount of biochar. The phosphorus-enriched biochar offers a potential usage for soil amendment or sorbent material. This study presents an opportunity to convert this underutilized feedstock into valuable bio-based products. Additional in-depth investigation is essential to gather more data for assessing the economic and sustainability features of the proposed process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
System-Based Assessments—Improving the Confidence in the EIA Process
Environments 2017, 4(4), 95; doi:10.3390/environments4040095 -
Abstract
This viewpoint article examines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) practices in developed and transitioning nations, identifies weaknesses, and proposes a new quantitative approach. The literature indicates that there exists little to no standardization in EIA practice, transitioning nations rely on weak scientific impact analyses,
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This viewpoint article examines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) practices in developed and transitioning nations, identifies weaknesses, and proposes a new quantitative approach. The literature indicates that there exists little to no standardization in EIA practice, transitioning nations rely on weak scientific impact analyses, and the establishment of baseline conditions is generally missing. The more fundamental issue is that the “receptor”-based approach leads to a qualitative and subjective EIA, as it does not adequately integrate the full measure of the complexity of ecosystems, ongoing project risks, and cumulative impacts. We propose the application of a new framework that aims to ensure full life cycle assessment of impacts applicable to any EIA process, within any jurisdictional context. System-Based EIA (SBEIA) is based on modeling to predict changes and rests on data analysis with a statistically rigorous approach to assess impacts. This global approach uses technologies and methodologies that are typically applied to characterize ecosystem structure and functioning, including remote sensing, modeling, and in situ monitoring. The aim of this approach is to provide a method that can produce quantifiable reproducible values of impact and risk and move EIA towards its substantive goal of sustainable development. The adoption of this approach would provide a better evaluation of economic costs and benefits for all stakeholders. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Buellia dispersa (Lichens) Used as Bio-Indicators for Air Pollution Transport: A Case Study within the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada (USA)
Environments 2017, 4(4), 94; doi:10.3390/environments4040094 -
Abstract
Hazardous substances (e.g., toxic elements, oxides of nitrogen, carbon and sulfur) are discharged to the environment by a number of natural and anthropogenic activities. Anthropogenic air pollution commonly contains trace elements derived from contaminants and additives released into the atmosphere during fossil fuel
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Hazardous substances (e.g., toxic elements, oxides of nitrogen, carbon and sulfur) are discharged to the environment by a number of natural and anthropogenic activities. Anthropogenic air pollution commonly contains trace elements derived from contaminants and additives released into the atmosphere during fossil fuel combustion (automobiles, power generation, etc.) as well as physical processes (e.g., metal refining, vehicle brake wear, and tire and pavement wear). Analysis of pollutant chemical concentrations in lichens collected across the Las Vegas Valley allows documentation of the distribution of air pollution in the Valley. Analyses of lichen biomass (Buellia dispersa), when compared to windrose diagrams, shows pathways of airborne pollutant transport across the Las Vegas Valley. The west and north sectors of the Las Vegas Valley contained the lowest target contaminates (e.g., Cr, Cu, Co, Pb, Ni) and the highest NO3 while the east and south sectors contained the highest levels of target contaminates and lowest NO3. Additionally, metals and NO3 detected in the east and south sectors of the valley indicate that air pollution generated in the valley is moving from the south to the north-northeast and across the valley, exiting on the north and south side of Frenchman Mountain. Full article
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