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Volume 12, November-2

Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 23 (December-1 2020) – 439 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Ports are important sources of added value and employment, but the crucial hinterland connectivity often causes nuisance which threatens the licence of the port to operate. Through bundling, these external costs can be reduced and when one port does not generate enough cargo to organise a high-frequency service, cooperation with a neighbour can alleviate this problem. This paper shows how and where, for all European TEN-T ports, opportunities exist to reduce external costs and how to monetise the value of the cost reductions. It uses the case of the ports of Dunkirk and Zeebruges as an example of this quantification. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Denial among Radical Right-Wing Supporters
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10226; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310226 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1484
Abstract
The linkage between political right-wing orientation and climate change denial is extensively studied. However, previous research has almost exclusively focused on the mainstream right, which differs from the far right (radical and extreme) in some important domains. Thus, we investigated correlates of climate [...] Read more.
The linkage between political right-wing orientation and climate change denial is extensively studied. However, previous research has almost exclusively focused on the mainstream right, which differs from the far right (radical and extreme) in some important domains. Thus, we investigated correlates of climate change denial among supporters of a radical right-wing party (Sweden Democrats, N = 2216), a mainstream right-wing party (the Conservative Party, Moderaterna, N = 634), and a mainstream center-left party (Social Democrats, N = 548) in Sweden. Across the analyses, distrust of public service media (Swedish Television, SVT), socioeconomic right-wing attitudes, and antifeminist attitudes outperformed the effects of anti-immigration attitudes and political distrust in explaining climate change denial, perhaps because of a lesser distinguishing capability of the latter mentioned variables. For example, virtually all Sweden Democrat supporters oppose immigration. Furthermore, the effects of party support, conservative ideologies, and belief in conspiracies were relatively weak, and vanished or substantially weakened in the full models. Our results suggest that socioeconomic attitudes (characteristic for the mainstream right) and exclusionary sociocultural attitudes and institutional distrust (characteristic for the contemporary European radical right) are important predictors of climate change denial, and more important than party support per se. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
When Populists Govern the Country: Strategies of Legitimization of Anti-Immigration Policies in Salvini’s Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10225; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310225 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 384
Abstract
The study aims at disclosing the narrative of immigration and the construction of the otherness in Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini’s discourse, geared towards the legitimization of anti-immigration policies. For this purpose, the author analyzes a sample of the Italian Interior Minister’s discourses [...] Read more.
The study aims at disclosing the narrative of immigration and the construction of the otherness in Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini’s discourse, geared towards the legitimization of anti-immigration policies. For this purpose, the author analyzes a sample of the Italian Interior Minister’s discourses related to three cases of migrant landings, drawing on Proximization Theory, revealing how the concepts of closeness and remoteness are manipulated for the construction of threat and the legitimization of negative political response. The study concludes that Salvini’s discourse presents all the classic characteristics of populism. It depicts virtuous and hardworking people threatened by the “others”, them “illegals” who are not “legitimate refugees”, along with inventing a new antagonist “other”, the rescue NGOs that are framed as criminals, justifying their criminalization. Full article
Open AccessPerspective
Reflexive Governance for Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10224; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310224 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Infrastructure development is one of the areas most in need of climate-resilient and friendly investments. The COVID-19 pandemic will increase government spending in this direction. This paper demonstrates how the principles of reflexive governance are key to unlock the full potential of such [...] Read more.
Infrastructure development is one of the areas most in need of climate-resilient and friendly investments. The COVID-19 pandemic will increase government spending in this direction. This paper demonstrates how the principles of reflexive governance are key to unlock the full potential of such investments. By establishing an adaptive and redundant institutional capacity in the provision of public services, reflexive governance can enable a successful path towards climate resilience and sustainability. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Seed Security Factors Driving Farmer Decisions on Uptake of Tissue Culture Banana Seed in Central Uganda
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10223; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310223 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 357
Abstract
Despite the promotion of tissue culture (TC) banana to curb the spread of diseases, farmer use of such quality planting material remains low. This study utilizes the Double-Hurdle model on cross-sectional data of 174 banana farmers in Central Uganda to analyze the drivers [...] Read more.
Despite the promotion of tissue culture (TC) banana to curb the spread of diseases, farmer use of such quality planting material remains low. This study utilizes the Double-Hurdle model on cross-sectional data of 174 banana farmers in Central Uganda to analyze the drivers for uptake of TC banana plant materials. Results show acceptability (β = 0.74; p < 0.01), adaptability (β = 0.69; p < 0.01) and availability for farmer use (β = 1.04; p < 0.01) along with social influence, farmer competences and socioeconomic factors positively influence farmer uptake of the TC banana plantlets. For uptake intensity, the main drivers include acceptability (β = 0.39; p < 0.05), accessibility (β = 0.39; p < 0.01) and farmer competences. This study demonstrates that seed security factors with farmer competencies, social influence and socioeconomic factors influence farmer decisions on uptake of TC technology for banana production. Findings emphasize the need for more involvement of extension services and research institutions in the education and promotion of TC plants in farming communities. We recommend that banana TC developers and promoters focus attention on banana varieties that are acceptable and adaptable to farmer environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Innovation and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
The Need for New Product Development Capabilities from Digitalization, Sustainability, and Servitization Trends
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10222; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310222 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 492
Abstract
Apparent from the latest pandemic, the dynamics and rate of change in society accelerate on a global scale. Ongoing mega-trends in society, such as digitalization, sustainability, and servitization, fundamentally changes the conditions for manufacturers when developing and providing new products. This study clarifies [...] Read more.
Apparent from the latest pandemic, the dynamics and rate of change in society accelerate on a global scale. Ongoing mega-trends in society, such as digitalization, sustainability, and servitization, fundamentally changes the conditions for manufacturers when developing and providing new products. This study clarifies the combined impact and consequences on product development capabilities in manufacturing firms of the three mega-trends: (i) digitalization, (ii) sustainability, and (iii) servitization. The research is based on a pre-study, complemented with a semi-structured interview study at small, medium-sized, and large Swedish-based manufacturing companies, and a systematic literature review. The research makes evident that the main challenge is to empower engineers and development teams to model, present, evaluate, and develop expected and smart digitalized solutions in a time-limited environment and prioritize the most resource efficient and sustainable solution. Therefore, four complementary support resources are suggested: (i) a knowledge management platform, (ii) a data management platform, (iii) a set of criteria and metrics measuring progression, and (iv) support methods and tools to define, model, and evaluate solutions. When integrated into a digital platform, developers can simultaneously access and process the necessary information needed for sustainable, digitalized, and servitized solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Product Design and Manufacturing)
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Open AccessArticle
A Life Cycle Framework for the Identification of Optimal Building Renovation Strategies Considering Economic and Environmental Impacts
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10221; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310221 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 493
Abstract
It is well-known that the existing building stock is responsible for non-renewable resource depletion, energy and material consumption, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Life cycle analysis (LCA) procedures have thus been developed, in recent years, to assess the environmental impact of construction and [...] Read more.
It is well-known that the existing building stock is responsible for non-renewable resource depletion, energy and material consumption, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Life cycle analysis (LCA) procedures have thus been developed, in recent years, to assess the environmental impact of construction and operational phases through the entire building life cycle. Furthermore, the economic, environmental, and social consequences of recent natural disasters have encouraged the additional integration of hazard-induced impacts into common LCA procedures for buildings. Buildings are however expected to provide the population with safe living and working conditions, even when hit by different types of hazards during their service life, such as earthquakes. Hence, next-generation LCA procedures should include not only hazard-induced impacts, but also the contribution of potential retrofitting strategies that may alter the structural and energy performances of buildings throughout their remaining service life. This study presents a life cycle framework that accounts for the contributions of initial construction, operational energy consumption, earthquake-induced damage repair activities, potential retrofitting interventions, and demolition (considering also its associated potential material recycling), in terms of both monetary costs and environmental impacts. The proposed methodology can be used to undertake cost-benefit analyses aimed at identifying building renovation strategies that lead to an optimal balance, considering both economic and environmental impacts, between reduction of seismic vulnerability and increase of energy efficiency of a building, depending on the climatic conditions and the seismic hazard at the site of interest. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multidimensional Facets of Entrepreneurial Resilience during the COVID-19 Crisis through the Lens of the Wealthiest Romanian Counties
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10220; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310220 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Sustainable socio-economic development can be looked upon from multiple perspectives, but no longer without considering the roles of urban planning, smart cities and eco-innovative entrepreneurial initiatives. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring sustainable socio-economic development is definitely challenging, but not impossible [...] Read more.
Sustainable socio-economic development can be looked upon from multiple perspectives, but no longer without considering the roles of urban planning, smart cities and eco-innovative entrepreneurial initiatives. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring sustainable socio-economic development is definitely challenging, but not impossible if adopting appropriate measures. This research aimed at analyzing the multidimensional facets of entrepreneurial resilience during times of crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Romania, while focusing on the effects experienced in the wealthiest areas, specific to urban agglomerations. The research method consisted of constructing a composite indicator comprising appropriate components for assessing the level of wealth and “happiness” of all the Romanian counties. Through the lens of this composite indicator, entrepreneurial resilience was approached in multiple manners according to its diverse forms. Research findings highlight that entrepreneurial resilience tends to be stronger qualitatively and quantitatively in less developed areas than in those that are well developed, mainly due to the lack of entrepreneurial initiatives. Despite being less entrepreneurially resilient, qualitatively, the wealthiest Romanian counties can economically reinvent themselves quicker. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Happy and Healthy Cities)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Functionality of a New E-Learning Platform vs. Previous Experiences in E-Learning and the Self-Assessment of Own Digital Literacy
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10219; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310219 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Recent civilizational transformations have led us to search for and introduce new didactic solutions. One of these is e-learning, which is a response to the needs of the education system and its individual stakeholders. The e-learning systems currently available offer similar solutions. Only [...] Read more.
Recent civilizational transformations have led us to search for and introduce new didactic solutions. One of these is e-learning, which is a response to the needs of the education system and its individual stakeholders. The e-learning systems currently available offer similar solutions. Only during direct interaction with a given tool can one notice significant differences in their functionality. By carrying out evaluation studies the indicators that determine this functionality can be identified. The paper presents e-learning in the context of the academic training of the future generations of teachers. The reflections revolve around digital literacy and experience in using modern information and communication technologies in education. The goal of the research was to evaluate three areas: the functionality of the SELI platform, individual experiences with e-learning, and digital literacy. The technique used was an e-learning survey appended to the end of two e-learning courses offered on the platform. The survey was addressed to teachers and students of the biggest pedagogical university in Poland. The general impression of the content presented on the platform was, in most cases, rated as being very good or good. The platform itself was also evaluated positively. Based on the analyses conducted, two groups of platform users were identified. One third of the users have diverse experiences with e-learning, which corresponds with their digital literacy. The remaining two thirds of the respondents need more training in the areas evaluated. The authors of the paper believe that this type of study should accompany all activities that introduce e-learning at every stage of education. Only then will it be possible to discover where the digital divide lies among the teaching staff and learners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ICT and Sustainable Education)
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Open AccessViewpoint
Reflecting on an Integrated Approach for Transport and Spatial Planning as a Pathway to Sustainable Urbanization
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10218; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310218 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 339
Abstract
An integrated approach to transport and spatial development has been promoted over the past decades not only in North America and Europe but also in rapidly growing cities in Asia as a means to achieve sustainable urbanization. Some fundamental issues are yet to [...] Read more.
An integrated approach to transport and spatial development has been promoted over the past decades not only in North America and Europe but also in rapidly growing cities in Asia as a means to achieve sustainable urbanization. Some fundamental issues are yet to be discussed. To what extent does land use and transport integration (LUTI) meet its goals including triggering sustainable land use and enhancing environmental quality? What are the key barriers and opportunities to achieving broader social outcomes such as wellbeing of local populations? This paper critically reflects on LUTI planning and practice in rapidly developing cities with focus on ongoing challenges and opportunities to facilitating sustainable urban development. It points out that without establishing institutional harmonization between spatial and transport planning, LUTI policies are hardly implemented, thus rarely resulting in effective and sustainable land use. Moreover, enhancing the social outcomes by an integrated planning approach requires development control that facilitates various actors to embed quality criteria in development around nodes. Balancing development incentives and restrictive measures for development is critical. Finally, to facilitate sustainable outcomes across varied localities in cities, bottom-up and top-down planning approaches need to be reconciled through the strategic and operational phase of transport projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Urban Transportation Planning)
Open AccessArticle
Strategies of Pre-Service Early Childhood Teachers for Solving Multi-Digit Division Problems
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310217 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Unlike previous research, this study analyzes the strategies of pre-service early childhood teachers when solving multi-digit division problems and the errors they make. The sample included 104 subjects from a university in Spain. The data analysis was framed under a mixed-method approach, integrating [...] Read more.
Unlike previous research, this study analyzes the strategies of pre-service early childhood teachers when solving multi-digit division problems and the errors they make. The sample included 104 subjects from a university in Spain. The data analysis was framed under a mixed-method approach, integrating both quantitative and qualitative analyses. The results revealed that the traditional division algorithm was widely used in problems involving integers, but not so frequently applied to problems with decimal numbers. Often, number-based and algebraic strategies were employed as an alternative to the traditional algorithm, as the pre-service teachers did not remember how to compute it. In general, number-based strategies reached more correct solutions than the traditional algorithm, while the algebraic strategies did not usually reach any solution. Incorrect identifications of the mathematical model were normally related to an exchange of the dividend and divisor roles. Most pre-service teachers not only failed to compute the division, but also to interpret the obtained solution in the problem context. The study concludes that, during their schooling, students accessing the Degree in Early Childhood education have not acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to solve multi-digit division problems, and thus the entrance requirements at the university must be rethought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Math Education and Problem Solving)
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Open AccessArticle
“Everything Will Be Fine”: A Study on the Relationship between Employees’ Perception of Sustainable HRM Practices and Positive Organizational Behavior during COVID19
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10216; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310216 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 646
Abstract
Sustainable human resource management practices represent one of the main organizational strategy to survive and to prosper within the fast-moving current scenario. According to this view, sustainability is strictly linked to the consideration of the unique and distinctive value that each human resource [...] Read more.
Sustainable human resource management practices represent one of the main organizational strategy to survive and to prosper within the fast-moving current scenario. According to this view, sustainability is strictly linked to the consideration of the unique and distinctive value that each human resource means for organizations. The recent COVID19 pandemic is having a serious impact on organizations and on their employees, it is profoundly changing the working modalities, mainly introducing smart working practices that were showed to have significant consequences on workers’ wellbeing. This study aims to investigate employees’ perception of sustainable HRM in the frame of the COVID19 emergency, exploring if and to what extent perceptions of involvement and organizational support together with individual coping strategies associated with organizational change could influence positive organizational behaviors, namely organizational engagement and extra-role behavior. The research involved 549 participants who completed a self-report online questionnaire encompassing psycho-social measures of the abovementioned variables. Results confirmed the important role played by sustainable HRM practices both for the capitalization of human resources and of organizational performance in a time of great uncertainty and global crisis. Implications for theory and HRM practice development were also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Sustainable HRM)
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Open AccessArticle
Relation between Pupils’ Mathematical Self-Efficacy and Mathematical Problem Solving in the Context of the Teachers’ Preferred Pedagogies
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310215 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 364
Abstract
In research focused on self-efficacy it is usually teacher-related phenomena that are studied, while the main aspects related to pupils are rather neglected, although self-efficacy itself is perceived as a belief in one’s own abilities. Evidently, this strongly influences the behavior of individuals [...] Read more.
In research focused on self-efficacy it is usually teacher-related phenomena that are studied, while the main aspects related to pupils are rather neglected, although self-efficacy itself is perceived as a belief in one’s own abilities. Evidently, this strongly influences the behavior of individuals in terms of the goal and success in mathematical problem-solving. Considering that alternative teaching methods are based on the principle of belief in one’s own ability (mainly in the case of group work), higher self-efficacy can be expected in the pupils of teachers who use predominantly the well-working pupil-centered pedagogies. A total of 1133 pupils in grade 5 from 36 schools in the Czech Republic were involved in the testing of their ability to solve mathematical problems and their mathematical self-efficacy as well. Participants were divided according to the above criteria as follows: (i) 73 from Montessori primary schools, (ii) 332 pupils educated in mathematics according to the Hejný method, (iii) 510 pupils from an ordinary primary school, and (iv) 218 pupils completing the Dalton teaching plan. In the field of mathematical problem-solving the pupils from the Montessori primary schools clearly outperformed pupils from the Dalton Plan schools (p = 0.027) as well as pupils attending ordinary primary schools (p = 0.009), whereas the difference between the Montessori schools and Hejný classes was not significant (p = 0.764). There is no statistically significant difference in the level of self-efficacy of pupils with respect to the preferred strategies for managing learning activities (p = 0.781). On the other hand, correlation between mathematical problem-solving and self-efficacy was confirmed in all the examined types of schools. However, the correlation coefficient was lower in the case of the pupils from the classes applying the Hejný method in comparison with the pupils attending the Montessori schools (p = 0.073), Dalton Plan schools (p = 0.043), and ordinary primary schools (p = 0.002). Even though the results in mathematical problem-solving are not consistent across the studies, the presented results confirm better performance of pupils in some constructivist settings, particularly in the case of individual constructivism in the Montessori primary schools. The factors influencing lower correlation of self-efficacy and performance in mathematical problem-solving ought to be subject to further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Math Education and Problem Solving)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Nutrient Management Enhances Soil Quality and Crop Productivity in Maize-Based Cropping System
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10214; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310214 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Soil quality deterioration, especially in intensive cropping systems, has become a serious problem for crop productivity; consequently, strategies for sustainable crop production and soil health are urgently required. Experiments on fields were organized to investigate the impact of organic manures on crop productivity, [...] Read more.
Soil quality deterioration, especially in intensive cropping systems, has become a serious problem for crop productivity; consequently, strategies for sustainable crop production and soil health are urgently required. Experiments on fields were organized to investigate the impact of organic manures on crop productivity, soil physiochemical properties and soil water availability in a maize-based cropping system. The experiment consisted of five treatments, including organic manures (OM) and inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilizers applied separately and in combinations: NPK = 250-150-125 Kg/ha (recommended rate), farmyard manure (FYM) = 16 t/ha, poultry manure (PM) = 13 t/ha, NPK + FYM = 150-85-50 Kg/ha + 8.5 t/ha and NPK + PM = 150-85-50 Kg/ha + 7.0 t/ha. The results showed that the combination of OM with mineral fertilizers increased crop productivity, fertilizer use efficiency and yield sustainability indices over the treatments amended with sole application of mineral fertilizers and OM. The analysis of undisturbed soil samples during different crop growth stages revealed that the addition of OM decreased the bulk density and increased the pore volume of soil at the beds of 0–20 and 20–40 cm. The application of OM to the soil not only increased saturated hydraulic conductivity of the soil but also improved total available and readily available water contents to the plants, especially when FYM was included at 16 t ha−1. Soil-water retention properties recorded over the entire seven-day monitoring period following irrigation in the OM-amended treatments were consistently higher than the sole mineral NPK application treatments. When testing the soil nutrient status during different crop growth stages, it was noted that by adding OM into the soil not only the status of the organic carbon of soil, extractable N and K and available P contents is increased, but the duration of their availability to the plants are also enhanced. The results of the study show that organic manures addition is of major significance for maintaining soil quality and crop production sustainably, and should be advocated in the nutrient management strategies of intensive water- and nutrient-demanding cropping systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Citizen Science as Part of the Primary School Curriculum: A Case Study of a Technical Day on the Topic of Noise and Health
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10213; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310213 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 369
Abstract
In this paper, we summarise lessons learned conducting citizen science (CS) activities within the CitieS-Health H2020 project on the topic of noise exposure and health at a primary school in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Activities were organised in the form of a School Tech-Day Event [...] Read more.
In this paper, we summarise lessons learned conducting citizen science (CS) activities within the CitieS-Health H2020 project on the topic of noise exposure and health at a primary school in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Activities were organised in the form of a School Tech-Day Event (STDE) as part of the school’s curriculum involving second-grade pupils, ages 7–8. The STDE was aligned with the project’s methodological framework, which is based on co-creation and co-design principles. To this end, the pupils initially were involved in identifying noise-related issues and translation of selected topics into research questions. Next, together with mentors, they participated in the process of hypothesis formulation and the designing of data collection protocols. Finally, they participated in three focussed noise measurement experiments, as well as data analysis and presentation. We report and critically evaluate the whole chain of activities, focussing on the participant dimension using selected components of the citizen science evaluation framework. The event was very well-received by both pupils and teachers, and their active participation and hands-on experience with scientific processes contributed to their improved scientific literacy. Overall, the demonstrated concept of CS activities has great potential for ongoing inclusion in the school curriculum in its current format, or else adjusted according to specifics from other science and technology fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Citizenship and Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Teachable Moments in News Media—An Analysis of Audience Awareness, Enjoyment, Interest, Opinion Formation, and Understanding (AEIOU) toward Science
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310212 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 418
Abstract
In light of the increased time spent by people on watching the news via social media, what might be the communication impacts if science education could help in producing science news media for the public? The present study compared the audience levels of [...] Read more.
In light of the increased time spent by people on watching the news via social media, what might be the communication impacts if science education could help in producing science news media for the public? The present study compared the audience levels of awareness, enjoyment, interest, opinion formation, and understanding (AEIOU) toward science experimentally between two groups: the general science communication (GSC) group (i.e., participants with general daily science news digestion) and the science edu-communication (SEC) group (i.e., participants who watched science news videos produced jointly by science educators, scientists, and news media production teams). As a result, those in the SEC group showed significantly higher levels of “interest”, formed more scientific “opinions”, and had better “understanding” than the GSC participants. In terms of creating an “additional opportunity” to develop science news media sustainably for the public, the present study confirms more salient outcomes when science educators are involved in the production of science news media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education as Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial–Temporal Interaction Relationship between Ecosystem Services and Urbanization of Urban Agglomerations in the Transitional Zone of Three Natural Regions
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10211; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310211 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 319
Abstract
Clarifying the spatial interaction relationship between urbanization and multiple ecosystem services (ESs) is a prerequisite for reducing the impact of urbanization on the ecological environment and coordinating urbanization and ecological environmental protection. Urbanization is especially significant for ecologically fragile areas, where ecosystems are [...] Read more.
Clarifying the spatial interaction relationship between urbanization and multiple ecosystem services (ESs) is a prerequisite for reducing the impact of urbanization on the ecological environment and coordinating urbanization and ecological environmental protection. Urbanization is especially significant for ecologically fragile areas, where ecosystems are particularly sensitive to changes in urban patterns. This study considered the Lan–Xi (LX) urban agglomeration in three natural transitional regions using socio-economic, ecological environment, and other data, through a variety of methods, to supersede administrative boundaries and to explore the relationship between urbanization and ESs on a grid scale. The results revealed a significant negative spatial correlation between the levels of urbanization and comprehensive ESs, indicating that rapid urbanization has led to a decline in regional ESs. However, with the rapid urbanization trend from 2010 to 2018, the ESs in the LX region showed an upward trend because the implementation of ecological protection and restoration projects greatly offset the decline in ESs caused by urban expansion. We found a positive correlation between nutrient purification and the levels of urbanization among various ESs and four principal types of spatial–temporal interactions between ESs and urbanization levels. Among them, the high–high cluster areas occupied the smallest proportion, and the low–low cluster areas occupied the largest proportion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability Futures)
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Open AccessArticle
Robust Optimization Model for R&D Project Selection under Uncertainty in the Automobile Industry
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310210 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 398
Abstract
In a company, project management is responsible for project selection from candidates under some limited constraints to achieve the company’s goal before the project begins as well as the project operations in progress. The development of new technologies and products can broaden a [...] Read more.
In a company, project management is responsible for project selection from candidates under some limited constraints to achieve the company’s goal before the project begins as well as the project operations in progress. The development of new technologies and products can broaden a company’s market share, and to do so, research and development (R&D) projects are significant. However, limited funds force a company to select projects that can best represent the company’s interests. As projects may take a long time to develop, a number of uncertainties may occur, and the most concerning uncertainty is cost uncertainty. In this study, a robust optimization decision model for project selection considering cost uncertainty is proposed to assist the decision-making process for companies that need to select projects from a number of candidates due to limited funds. The model considers project selection in view of the total cost of ownership, which is a key factor for customers and companies in the automobile industry. The proposed model is tested in the automobile industry environment with different conservatism levels about cost uncertainty, and an analysis of expected market changes and a company’s income is performed with the solutions obtained from the proposed model. The result shows that the presented model reacts to cost uncertainty robustly for assisting the decision-makers in the company. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Visual Literacy Intervention for Improving Undergraduate Student Critical Thinking of Global Sustainability Issues
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10209; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310209 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 505
Abstract
The promotion of global sustainability within environmental science courses requires a paradigm switch from knowledge-based teaching to teaching that stimulates higher-order cognitive skills. Non-major undergraduate science courses, such as environmental science, promote critical thinking in students in order to improve the uptake of [...] Read more.
The promotion of global sustainability within environmental science courses requires a paradigm switch from knowledge-based teaching to teaching that stimulates higher-order cognitive skills. Non-major undergraduate science courses, such as environmental science, promote critical thinking in students in order to improve the uptake of scientific information and develop the rational decision making used to make more informed decisions. Science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) courses rely extensively on visuals in lectures, readings and homework to improve knowledge. However, undergraduate students do not automatically acquire visual literacy and a lack of intervention from instructors could be limiting academic success. In this study, a visual literacy intervention was developed and tested in the face-to-face (FTF) and online sections of an undergraduate non-major Introduction to Environmental Science course. The intervention was designed to test and improve visual literacy at three levels: (1) elementary—identifying values; (2) intermediate—identifying trends; and (3) advanced—using the data to make projections or conclusions. Students demonstrated a significant difference in their ability to answer elementary and advanced visual literacy questions in both course sections in the pre-test and post-test. Students in the face-to-face course had significantly higher exam scores and higher median assessment scores compared to sections without a visual literacy intervention. The online section did not show significant improvements in visual literacy or academic success due to a lack of reinforcement of visual literacy following the initial intervention. The visual literacy intervention shows promising results in improving student academic success and should be considered for implementation in other general education STEM courses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology-Enhanced Learning, Open Science and Global Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Automatic Acquisition of Failure Mode and Effect Analysis Ontology for Sustainable Risk Management
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10208; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310208 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 303
Abstract
In this piece of research, we have presented an approach to populate Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) ontology from existing worksheets prepared by experts. FMEA is a commonly used method for risk assessment in any organization. This method is initiated by domain [...] Read more.
In this piece of research, we have presented an approach to populate Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) ontology from existing worksheets prepared by experts. FMEA is a commonly used method for risk assessment in any organization. This method is initiated by domain experts who analyze all the associated risks to a product or process, their causes, severity, effects and mitigation actions. Besides domain experts, time and cost are the other two factors involved in successful completion of FMEA. Reusability of the knowledge produced at the end of this method can bring numerous benefits to an organization. Some ontologies are available for semantic content management of FMEA knowledge but in order to avail their full benefits, it is must that they can acquire the existing knowledge automatically. Major objective of this article is to develop an algorithm, which can populate FMEA ontology from existing worksheets. Major contribution of this work is to identify an existing FMEA ontology and its evaluation for schema and relationship richness, then its automatic population using proposed algorithm without human intervention, and finally making it a part of complete knowledge management system. Our proposed algorithm correctly mapped 1357 instances to FMEA ontology from manually prepared FMEA spreadsheets. This FMEA ontology has been queried by domain experts and it was proved to be very helpful in experts like decision-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Financial Sustainability of Local Governments in the Eyes of Finnish Local Politicians
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10207; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310207 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 344
Abstract
Local government aims for financial sustainability in ensuring the wellbeing of citizens at the expense of their tax incomes. As members of local councils, local politicians are the highest decision-makers who are responsible for setting the aims and evaluating the outcome of municipal [...] Read more.
Local government aims for financial sustainability in ensuring the wellbeing of citizens at the expense of their tax incomes. As members of local councils, local politicians are the highest decision-makers who are responsible for setting the aims and evaluating the outcome of municipal operations. Hence, local politicians’ notions on financial sustainability play an important role in sustainable decision-making. Although financial sustainability is seen important, previous research is limited in providing studies on the multidimensional nature of financial sustainability. Prior research has focused on the measurement of financial sustainability, often in the contexts of financial difficulties. This paper aims to answer this research gap by studying local politicians’ interpretations on financial sustainability and contributing to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. This qualitative study employs interview data collected from 24 Finnish local politicians from five municipalities. Based on the content analysis of the interview data, financial sustainability is, in the eyes of local politicians, a political issue with multiple factors in and out of the reach of decision-makers. These notions could be utilized in future research in developing methods for measuring and managing financial sustainability in local governments. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Analysis of the Determinants of Sport Expenditure in Sports Centers in Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310206 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 430
Abstract
The sports center sector is undergoing a complete transformation. Knowing users’ behavior regarding sport expenditure is needed to be able to act in terms of the future of the sector. This study analyzes the expenditure of people in Spain who are members of [...] Read more.
The sports center sector is undergoing a complete transformation. Knowing users’ behavior regarding sport expenditure is needed to be able to act in terms of the future of the sector. This study analyzes the expenditure of people in Spain who are members of sports centers. Adult members were asked about their sport expenditure in several defined categories. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) and a multiple logistic regression analysis were carried out. The results show that the variables of time of participation, federation membership, and income have predictive value in terms of sport expenditure. Age and educational level also explain the significant differences in sport expenditure in its different categories. This study suggests the importance of identifying the behavior of sports center users with reference to sport expenditure as an essential component of the future strategy of the sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategic Planning of Sports Systems)
Open AccessArticle
A Knowledge-Based System as a Sustainable Software Application for the Supervision and Intelligent Control of an Alcoholic Fermentation Process
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10205; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310205 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 283
Abstract
One goal of specialists in food processing is to increase production efficiency in accordance with sustainability by optimising the consumption of raw food materials, water, and energy. One way to achieve this purpose is to develop new methods for process monitoring and control. [...] Read more.
One goal of specialists in food processing is to increase production efficiency in accordance with sustainability by optimising the consumption of raw food materials, water, and energy. One way to achieve this purpose is to develop new methods for process monitoring and control. In the winemaking industry, there is a lack of procedures regarding the common work based on knowledge acquisition and intelligent control. In the present article, we developed and tested a knowledge-based system for the alcoholic fermentation process of white winemaking while considering the main phases: the latent phase, exponential growth phase, and decay phase. The automatic control of the white wine’s alcoholic fermentation process was designed as a system on three levels. Level zero represents the measurement and adjustment loops of the bioreactor. At the first level of control, the three phases of the process are detected functions of the characteristics of the fermentation medium (the initial substrate concentration, the nitrogen assimilable content, and the initial concentration of biomass) and, thus, functions on the phase’s duration. The second level achieves the sequence supervision of the process (the operation sequence of a fermentation batch) and transforms the process into a continuous one. This control level ensures the quality of the process as well as its diagnosis. This software application can be extended to the industrial scale and can be improved by using further artificial intelligence techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Food)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Flash Floods and Induced Recharge into Alluvial Aquifers Using Multi-Temporal Remote Sensing and Electrical Resistivity Imaging
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10204; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310204 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Flash flood hazard assessments, mitigation measures, and water harvesting efforts in desert environments are often challenged by data scarcity on the basin scale. The present study, using the Wadi Atfeh catchment as a test site, integrates remote sensing datasets with field and geoelectrical [...] Read more.
Flash flood hazard assessments, mitigation measures, and water harvesting efforts in desert environments are often challenged by data scarcity on the basin scale. The present study, using the Wadi Atfeh catchment as a test site, integrates remote sensing datasets with field and geoelectrical measurements to assess flash flood hazards, suggest mitigation measures, and to examine the recharge to the alluvium aquifer. The estimated peak discharge of the 13 March 2020 flood event was 97 m3/h, which exceeded the capacity of the culverts beneath the Eastern Military Highway (64 m3/h), and a new dam was suggested, where 75% of the catchment could be controlled. The monitoring of water infiltration into the alluvium aquifer using time-lapse electrical resistivity measurements along a fixed profile showed a limited connection between the wetted surficial sediments and the water table. Throughflow is probably the main source of recharge to the aquifer rather than vertical infiltration at the basin outlet. The findings suggest further measures to avoid the negative impacts of flash floods at the Wadi Atfeh catchment and similar basins in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Furthermore, future hydrological studies in desert environments should take into consideration the major role of the throughflow in alluvium aquifer recharge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applied to the Environment and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Quality Education Awareness Competence of Pre-Service Educators Using Vignettes
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10203; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310203 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 340
Abstract
For decades, higher education institutions have been incorporating sustainability principles. Spanish universities have considered it important that sustainability principles are integrated into the university curriculum, in order to contribute to the education of socially-responsible professionals. The present research aims to estimate pre-service educators’ [...] Read more.
For decades, higher education institutions have been incorporating sustainability principles. Spanish universities have considered it important that sustainability principles are integrated into the university curriculum, in order to contribute to the education of socially-responsible professionals. The present research aims to estimate pre-service educators’ awareness of selected challenges posed by Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), and it identifies the learning experiences that contribute the most to these students’ awareness of quality education. Moreover, the study aims to explore the potential of the use of the vignettes approach for the evaluation of students’ awareness. The study drew on a sample of n = 202 first year students pursuing education-related degrees at a Spanish university. The data was collected using a vignette survey, and the data analysis was conducted using quantitative and qualitative techniques. The results show a high degree of awareness within the context of most of the challenges posed by SDG 4 and, in the search for the factors that contributed to the degree of awareness in the students, personal interests and classes taken at the university stand out. In addition, the study provides the methodological implications of the use of the vignette approach in the assessment of students’ awareness. This paper discusses the practical implications for universities of the integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) competences into the curriculum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
Open AccessArticle
Investigating Paradigm Shift from Price to Value in the Air Cargo Market
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10202; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310202 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 314
Abstract
This study presents a paradigm shift in the air cargo market based on Korea and Incheon Airport’s empirical data. The air cargo market has traditionally handled expensive items and has been a supplier-oriented market. There has been little room for individual customers in [...] Read more.
This study presents a paradigm shift in the air cargo market based on Korea and Incheon Airport’s empirical data. The air cargo market has traditionally handled expensive items and has been a supplier-oriented market. There has been little room for individual customers in this market. However, “value” gradually replaces “price” in this market. The value depending on consumer preferences significantly impact air cargo demand. Consequently, items transported by air cargo are changing, and airlines and other market participants are revising operation policy. Economic growth may be losing its dominant power as the main growth engine in the air cargo market. This study identifies the weakened link between air cargo increase and economic growth based on the Granger causality test. COVID-19 calls for a deeper understanding of the paradigm shift in the market for sustainable air transport because COVID-19 will further stimulate it. In this regard, the air cargo business, which maintains a stable trend even during COVID-19, is seen as a new opportunity for the aviation industry. Since sustainable air transport requires an accurate understanding of the paradigm shift in the air cargo market, this study enhances our knowledge of the paradigm shift and provides significant implications for sustainable air transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technologies and Innovations for Sustainable Air Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle
Improving the Management of Tourist Destinations: A New Approach to Strategic Management at the DMO Level by Integrating Lean Techniques
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10201; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310201 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 311
Abstract
Destination management organizations have a key role to play in the governance of tourism destinations, in managing destination networks and in ensuring good cooperation between stakeholders. Although, destination management organizations (DMOs) are atypical organizations, their operations are evaluated according to their organizational efficiency [...] Read more.
Destination management organizations have a key role to play in the governance of tourism destinations, in managing destination networks and in ensuring good cooperation between stakeholders. Although, destination management organizations (DMOs) are atypical organizations, their operations are evaluated according to their organizational efficiency and effectiveness. This study aims to propose a framework to improve the management of the tourist destination through an innovative approach that interconnects strategic management and Lean techniques to increase efficiency and productivity in operational processes, organizational efficiency and effectiveness at the DMO level. The framework developed in this study interconnects the analysis of the internal environment through the Value Chain and the Lean Six Sigma methods identified to be suitable for application in the management of the tourist destination. Testing of the practical application of this framework was done for Association for the Promotion and Development of Tourism (APDT), which is the DMO that ensures the management of the tourist destination of Brasov, Romania. The research contributes to the optimization of the processes at the DMO’s level. The framework developed in this study can be implemented by practitioners to improve the management of the tourist destination. The paper also offers future research directions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Trust on the Various Dimensions of Climate Change Attitudes
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10200; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310200 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 573
Abstract
The struggle against climate change will not be successful without a sufficient level of collective action. However, a necessary precondition for this is the existence of trust between people. The literature on trust and attitudes to climate change is displaying a growing tendency, [...] Read more.
The struggle against climate change will not be successful without a sufficient level of collective action. However, a necessary precondition for this is the existence of trust between people. The literature on trust and attitudes to climate change is displaying a growing tendency, and today the results of numerous empirical studies are available. Although, for the time being, on the basis of these studies, we only have a fragmented picture from which it appears that trust is having a significant effect on attitudes to climate change at both the micro and macro levels. The current paper tries to progress on this path and reveal the role of trust in various dimensions of the attitude to climate change using the data of the European Social Survey originating from 22 countries. The results show that while climate change beliefs and climate concern display no relationship with trust, neither on the individual or national level, trust does have a clear effect on the feeling of individual responsibility in connection with climate change and on support for the various policy measures. In addition, it is also investigated whether the effect of trust can be shown to exist in the relationships between climate concern and the feeling of individual responsibility, and climate concern and policy support. The results show that in both cases the relationship is stronger in those countries characterized by a higher level of social trust. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Deep Vertical Rotary Tillage on Soil Properties and Sugarcane Biomass in Rainfed Dry-Land Regions of Southern China
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10199; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310199 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 304
Abstract
Conventional tillage (CT) is the main agricultural practice for rainfed sugarcane production in China. However, subsoil compaction formed by long-term CT is harmful to soil properties and crop yield. Deep vertical rotary tillage (DVRT) is a novel tillage practice, which can alleviate subsoil [...] Read more.
Conventional tillage (CT) is the main agricultural practice for rainfed sugarcane production in China. However, subsoil compaction formed by long-term CT is harmful to soil properties and crop yield. Deep vertical rotary tillage (DVRT) is a novel tillage practice, which can alleviate subsoil compaction and create a more favorable soil environment for crop growth. This study aims to compare the effects of DVRT and CT practices on soil properties and sugarcane characteristics. The results showed that DVRT reduced soil bulk density and increased soil porosity to some extent in the 0–40 cm soil profile. Soil water storage of DVRT was relatively higher compared with CT due to the combined effects of soil water holding capacity and vegetation water consumption. There was significantly higher final aboveground biomass, underground biomass, and plant height from DVRT compared to CT (p < 0.05), but there were no differences in final root length between tillage practices. Compared with CT, DVRT with one and two growth-years significantly increased aboveground biomass by 68.90% and 50.14%, respectively. Generally, the soil properties and sugarcane characteristics were not significantly different between DVRT with different growth years. DVRT is recommended as a tillage practice for sustainable agriculture in rainfed regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
A Mixed Approach on Resilience of Spanish Dwellings and Households during COVID-19 Lockdown
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10198; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310198 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 763
Abstract
The confinement by COVID-19 has meant a re-reading of housing for Spanish households, resulting in the only available and safe space to carry out daily activity. This complex phenomenon has generated a completely different way of inhabiting it, as well as of relating [...] Read more.
The confinement by COVID-19 has meant a re-reading of housing for Spanish households, resulting in the only available and safe space to carry out daily activity. This complex phenomenon has generated a completely different way of inhabiting it, as well as of relating to domestic spaces. For this reason, the home perception and its characteristics must be evaluated, highlighting those perceived as deficiencies, or as preferences in such an unusual context as lockdown, where the experience was different depending on the dwelling characteristics, and the family in question. To deepen in this double perception home-dwelling, a mixed method was used, with two online forms. The first is a quantitative questionnaire, while the second asks the participants for photographs and narratives about such images. More than 1800 surveys and 785 qualitative responses were obtained. From both approaches, the joint discourse arose, allowing an exploratory analysis of the current situation of the Spanish residential park, and the resilience demonstrated in this period by both households and their usual dwellings. This study should facilitate the development of new proposals on housing in contexts similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Adding the Mureş River Basin (Transylvania, Romania) to the List of Hotspots with High Contamination with Pharmaceuticals
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310197 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 359
Abstract
Background: The Mureș River Basin is a long-term heavily polluted watershed, in a situation of climate changes with decreasing water flow and related decreasing dilution capacity. Here, a mixture of emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals were targeted to reveal potential risks regarding [...] Read more.
Background: The Mureș River Basin is a long-term heavily polluted watershed, in a situation of climate changes with decreasing water flow and related decreasing dilution capacity. Here, a mixture of emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals were targeted to reveal potential risks regarding the natural lotic ecosystems. Due to the continuous discharge into the environment, pharmaceuticals are gaining persistent organic pollutant characteristics and are considered emerging pollutants. Based on the hazard quotient, this research highlights the dangerous concentrations of carbamazepine, ibuprofen, furosemide, and enalapril in river water. Results: High levels of four pharmaceutical compounds (carbamazepine, ibuprofen, furosemide, and enalapril) and some of their derived metabolites (enalaprilat, carboxyibuprofen, 1-hydroxyibuprofen, and 2-hydroxyibuprofen) were reported in our study in the Mureș River Basin. Overall, pharmaceutical concentrations were found to be highest in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent, median downstream of the WWTP, and lowest upstream of the WWTP, as was expected. For all pharmaceutical compounds tested, we recorded concentrations above the limit of quantification (LOQ) in at least one of the sites tested. Carbamazepine exhibited the highest mean values upstream, downstream, and at the WWTP. As expected, the highest concentrations for all the studied pharmaceutical compounds were detected in the WWTP effluent. All Hazard Quotient (HQ) values were below one (on a logarithmic scale in base 10), with the highest values in the WWTP and the lowest in the river upstream of the WWTP. The HQ intervals were in the same range for furosemide, carbamazepine, and ibuprofen at each of the three different sites: upstream WWTP effluent, and downstream. The interval for enalapril stands out as having the lowest HQ at all three sites. Conclusions: Based on these results, the large and complex hydrographical system Mureș River Basin was transformed from a grey area, with little information about pharmaceutical contamination, to a hotspot in terms of contamination with emerging pollutants. Pharmaceutical compound concentrations were found to be the highest in WWTP effluents. The WWTP effluent concentrations were among the highest in Europe, indicating that treatment plants are the primary source of water pollution with pharmaceuticals compounds. The detected levels were higher than the safety limit for carbamazepine and ibuprofen. The determined HQ values imply that the measured levels do pose a threat to the environment for the studied pharmaceuticals. Based on the obtained results, human communities can assess, monitor, predict, and adapt in time to these already-present regional challenges and risks for sustainable use of natural resources, including water and associated products and services. Full article
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