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Environments, Volume 10, Issue 7 (July 2023) – 25 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Microplastic contamination is a globally recognised issue in lake ecosystems. However, our understanding of the ingestion involved and its effects on organisms remains limited. We developed an effective protocol for assessing the ingestion by the talitrid Cryptorchestia garbinii, evaluating the biological effects. Individuals were exposed to PE, PET, PES, and PP through their diets by employing DECOTABs. The results provide clear evidence of the ingestion of the polymers supplied through the tabs, thereby validating the effectiveness of this method of exposure. Our findings provide evidence that ingestion of MP particles can significantly affect the energy reserves of C. garbinii, with potentially negative consequences for their survival and reproductive success. View this paper
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17 pages, 3791 KiB  
Article
Distribution, Potential Sources, and Health Risk of Microplastics (MPs) in Street Dust during and after COVID-19 Lockdown in Bangladesh
by Mominul Haque Rabin, Qingyue Wang, Christian Ebere Enyoh, Xiao Kai and Tasnoba Firoze Sheuty
Environments 2023, 10(7), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070130 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1955
Abstract
The advent of the COVID-19 era has ushered in significant changes to both the environment and daily life. During the COVID-19 lockdown, a unique opportunity emerged to improve environmental quality and mitigate certain impacts on the planet. The distribution and health risks of [...] Read more.
The advent of the COVID-19 era has ushered in significant changes to both the environment and daily life. During the COVID-19 lockdown, a unique opportunity emerged to improve environmental quality and mitigate certain impacts on the planet. The distribution and health risks of microplastics (MPs) in the street dust of Dhaka city, Bangladesh during and after COVID-19 lockdowns were examined in this study. The study covered sites selected based on land usage, including an industrial area (IA), commercial area (CA), public facilities area (PFA), and residential area (RA). The particles in the dust samples were analyzed using a fluorescent microscope and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The results show that the maximum number of MP particles/g of street dust sample was recorded from industrial areas (17.33 MP particles/g) and the minimum was recorded from residential areas (13.99 MP particles/g) without lockdown. The trends in the MPs were as follows: without lockdown > partial lockdown > complete lockdown. Risk analysis showed that the MPs in dust pose low non-carcinogenic risk to inhabitants of the study area and across lockdown periods. Principal component analysis showed that during the partial lockdown period, comparable sources were detected for the cellulose/low-density polyethylene (LDPE)/high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polychloroprene (PCP)/polyethylene terephthalate (PET)/polypropylene (PP)/polyacrylamide (PAA)/nylon, and polyethylene (PE)/polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/fiber groups of MPs, but various sources were discovered during the complete and without lockdown periods. The results further showed that all MP types would pose no non-carcinogenic or carcinogenic risks in dust from all land-use areas. However, the highest risks were obtained from inhaling dust. The study shows that human activities have a significant impact on the generation and distribution of MPs in the environment. The changes in MP type distribution during lockdown suggest that reducing human activities, such as traffic and industrial activity, can lead to a decrease in the quantity of MPs generated and released into the environment. Full article
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19 pages, 3409 KiB  
Article
Using Aquatic Mesocosms to Assess the Effects of Soil and Vegetation for Informing Environmental Research
by Jim Davies, Ryan Melnichuk, Craig Aumann, Zhongzhi Chen and Brian Eaton
Environments 2023, 10(7), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070129 - 21 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1846
Abstract
An aquatic mesocosm facility consisting of thirty 15,000 L tanks was constructed in Vegreville, Alberta to support environmental research. In 2017, an experiment was conducted as an inaugural run for the facility; this study continued through the winter of 2017/18 (over-wintering is a [...] Read more.
An aquatic mesocosm facility consisting of thirty 15,000 L tanks was constructed in Vegreville, Alberta to support environmental research. In 2017, an experiment was conducted as an inaugural run for the facility; this study continued through the winter of 2017/18 (over-wintering is a unique capability of the facility) and concluded in the fall of 2018. Here, we report key methods used to evaluate the effects of two independent variables: (1) a soil layer covering the floor of the mesocosms, and (2) vegetation installed in the mesocosms. Although a range of response variables were measured during this study, we limit our analysis here to the physicochemical (e.g., pH, turbidity, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen) and biological/ecological response variables (e.g., macrophytes, phytoplankton/metaphyton, and macroinvertebrates) that differed due to these two variables. The presence of a soil layer covering the floor of the mesocosm was associated with increased turbidity on some days and depths in 2017. Specific conductivity was higher in the presence of soil and its associated adventitious vegetation. During this initial study, we gained a better understanding of the characteristics and mechanics of the mesocosms, which informs design and implementation of future experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment II)
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15 pages, 1352 KiB  
Article
A Systematic Review of the Latest Research Trends on the Use of Satellite Imagery in Solid Waste Disposal Applications from 2012 to 2021
by Nima Karimi, Kelvin Tsun Wai Ng, Tanvir Shahrier Mahmud, Kenneth K. Adusei and Samantha Kerr
Environments 2023, 10(7), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070128 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2241
Abstract
There is currently no review article on the role of remote sensing (RS) tools on waste disposal site (WDS) applications. Permanent waste disposal is the world’s most commonly used solid waste management method, and a specific review is warranted. To investigate research trends [...] Read more.
There is currently no review article on the role of remote sensing (RS) tools on waste disposal site (WDS) applications. Permanent waste disposal is the world’s most commonly used solid waste management method, and a specific review is warranted. To investigate research trends and to identify knowledge gaps on the use of satellite-based RS in WDS applications, 170 studies published over the last decade, from 2012 to 2021, were examined and classified using a bibliometric approach. Results are discussed with respect to relevancy, satellite types, study origins, RS analytical methods, and applications. Out of 72 short-listed studies, 44.4% were carried out in Asia, followed by Europe with 18.0%. Asia is also a leading region in the use of multiple satellite products. Only two satellite products were utilized in African studies. The absence of local satellites could potentially be the reason behind the sole use of global satellite imagery. Globally, Landsat contributed 70.8% of the total studies. Sentinel products represented only 8.3%. About 44% of the studies used various RS indices when addressing WDS-related issues. The majority of studies (56%) applied image classification methods to study changes in land use and land cover. The temporal trend reveals a general increase in the total number of studies, particularly for suitable site detection and disposal-site-induced anomaly detection. This review directly addresses the knowledge management aspect of data-driven solid waste management. Full article
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16 pages, 714 KiB  
Review
Machine Learning Implementation in Membrane Bioreactor Systems: Progress, Challenges, and Future Perspectives: A Review
by Zacharias Frontistis, Grigoris Lykogiannis and Anastasios Sarmpanis
Environments 2023, 10(7), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070127 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2596
Abstract
This study offers a review of machine learning (ML) applications in membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems, an emerging technology in advanced wastewater treatment. The review focuses on implementing ML algorithms to enhance the prediction of membrane fouling, control and optimize the system, and predict [...] Read more.
This study offers a review of machine learning (ML) applications in membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems, an emerging technology in advanced wastewater treatment. The review focuses on implementing ML algorithms to enhance the prediction of membrane fouling, control and optimize the system, and predict faults early, thereby enabling the development of novel cleaning strategies. Key ML algorithms such as artificial neural networks (ANNs), support vector machines (SVMs), random forest, and reinforcement learning (RL) are briefly introduced, with an emphasis on their potential and limitations in advanced wastewater applications. The main challenges obstructing the implementation, namely data quality, interpretability, and transferability of ML, are identified. Finally, future research trends are proposed, including ML integration with big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and hybrid model development. The review also underscores the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and investment in data management, along with the implementation of new policies addressing data privacy and security. By addressing these challenges, the integration of ML into MBRs has the potential to significantly enhance performance and reduce the energy footprint, providing a sustainable solution for advanced wastewater treatment. Full article
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9 pages, 1231 KiB  
Article
Effects of Wood Distillate (Pyroligneous Acid) on the Yield Parameters and Mineral Composition of Three Leguminous Crops
by Pablo Carril, Elisabetta Bianchi, Costanza Cicchi, Andrea Coppi, Marco Dainelli, Cristina Gonnelli, Stefano Loppi, Luigia Pazzagli and Ilaria Colzi
Environments 2023, 10(7), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070126 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2517
Abstract
The excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture is increasing the demand for novel products to improve the quality of crops in a more sustainable way. Wood distillate (WD, pyroligneous acid) is a by-product obtained during the pyrolysis of plant biomass [...] Read more.
The excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture is increasing the demand for novel products to improve the quality of crops in a more sustainable way. Wood distillate (WD, pyroligneous acid) is a by-product obtained during the pyrolysis of plant biomass that can be successfully applied in agriculture due to its ability to enhance the growth, size, and weight of edible plant parts. However, there is little information concerning its plant yield-promoting effects on leguminous crops. The present work investigated the effects of WD on the yield, protein content and mineral composition of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), lentil (Lens culinaris L.) and bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) plants grown in field conditions. The application of WD showed remarkable yield-promoting effects mostly in lentil plants, which significantly increased plant and shoot biomass, the number and weight of both pods and seeds, as well as the total seed protein content. Furthermore, seeds from WD-treated plants differentially increased the concentration of elements with high nutritional value for human health, including Fe, Ca, Mg and K. These results suggest that the effects of WD among the legumes tested are species-specific and that WD could be an optimal candidate to grow high-yielding legumes with improved seed nutritional quality. Full article
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8 pages, 1063 KiB  
Brief Report
The Presence of Lampreys in the Tyrrhenian Rivers of the Campania Region (Southern Italy): A New Record of the Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus (Linnaeus 1758)
by Caterina M. Antognazza, Alberto Gentile, Giuseppe Crosa and Serena Zaccara
Environments 2023, 10(7), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070125 - 18 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1487
Abstract
The southern Italian peninsula has been suggested to be an important European district for lampreys’ genetic diversity. All lamprey species ever described throughout the Italian peninsula are protected within European legislation and listed in Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and [...] Read more.
The southern Italian peninsula has been suggested to be an important European district for lampreys’ genetic diversity. All lamprey species ever described throughout the Italian peninsula are protected within European legislation and listed in Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and Annex III of the Bern Convention (82/72/CEE) as species of conservation concern, and the Habitats Directive ensures the designation of “sites of community interest” (SICs) for threatened species. During a survey to collect preliminary data on lampreys’ presence in the Cilento, Vallo di Daino, and Alburni National Park (PNCV) located in the Campania region, where 28 sites of community interest (SICs) have been established by the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), two specimens of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus, Linnaeus, 1758) were detected for the first time. The specimens were genetically characterized through the sequencing of the mtDNA control region locus. The study highlighted the significant importance of the Campania region for lampreys, which, concerning Lampetra sp., was found to have peculiar genetic characteristics and unique alleles that have not been described elsewhere. Furthermore, the recognition of the sea lamprey, P. marinus, emphasized the value of this area, especially in terms of laying the groundwork for future habitat protection strategies. Full article
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26 pages, 21332 KiB  
Article
Wildfire Hotspots Forecasting and Mapping for Environmental Monitoring Based on the Long Short-Term Memory Networks Deep Learning Algorithm
by Evizal Abdul Kadir, Hsiang Tsung Kung, Amal Abdullah AlMansour, Hitoshi Irie, Sri Listia Rosa and Shukor Sanim Mohd Fauzi
Environments 2023, 10(7), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070124 - 18 Jul 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2635
Abstract
Global warming is raising the earth’s temperature, and resulting in increased forest fire events, especially in tropical regions with locations that are at high risk of wild and forest fires. Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia that has experienced a severe number [...] Read more.
Global warming is raising the earth’s temperature, and resulting in increased forest fire events, especially in tropical regions with locations that are at high risk of wild and forest fires. Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia that has experienced a severe number of wildfires, which have dangerous impacts on neighboring countries due to the emission of carbon and haze to the free air. The objective of this research is to map and plot the locations that consist of a significant number of fire hotspots and forecast the possible forest fire disasters in Indonesia based on the collected data of forest fires. The results of forecasting data are beneficial for the government and its policymakers to take preventive action and countermeasures regarding this wildfire issue. The Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) algorithm, a deep learning method, was applied to analyze and then forecast the number of wildfire hotspots. The wildfire hotspot dataset from the year 2010 to 2022 is derived from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The total number of collected observations is more than 700,000 wildfire data in Indonesia. The distribution of wildfire hotspots as shown in the results is concentrated mainly on two big islands, Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia. The main issue is the peat type of land that is prone to spreading fire. Forecasting the number of hotspots for 2023 has achieved good results with an average error of 7%. Additionally, to prove that the proposed algorithm is working well, a simulation has been conducted using training data from 2018 to 2022 and testing data from 2021 to 2022. The forecasting result achieved a similar pattern of the number of fire hotspots compared to the available data in 2021 and 2022. Full article
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13 pages, 2182 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Siphonic Roof Drainage Systems with EPANET
by Gonzalo López-Patiño, Pedro L. Iglesias-Rey, Francisco Javier Martínez-Solano and Vicente S. Fuertes-Miquel
Environments 2023, 10(7), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070123 - 17 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1605
Abstract
Analysis and design of siphonic roof drainage systems are usually performed with specific software developed by the system’s manufacturers. An experimental study was carried out to verify if a general software for the analysis of hydraulic pressurized pipe networks can be used to [...] Read more.
Analysis and design of siphonic roof drainage systems are usually performed with specific software developed by the system’s manufacturers. An experimental study was carried out to verify if a general software for the analysis of hydraulic pressurized pipe networks can be used to analyze a siphonic roof drainage system. A test model was built and tests were conducted to compare the prototype results with simulation runs in EPANET. A new EPANET data model was developed to overcome software limitations for the siphonic drainage systems analysis. Considering the results, less than 5% of average error was observed between the measures in the real test model and the simulation results, which can be attributed to measurement error. To validate the EPANET data model, it was compared with a specific software that analyzes siphonic roof drainage systems. It can be concluded that EPANET is a software that can be used to analyze and, therefore, to design, siphonic roof drainage systems in buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies of Water and Wastewater Treatment)
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15 pages, 4400 KiB  
Article
Modeling Cyanotoxin Production, Fate, and Transport in Surface Water Bodies Using CE-QUAL-W2
by Bernadel Garstecki and Scott Wells
Environments 2023, 10(7), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070122 - 14 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1406
Abstract
Cyanobacteria are frequently associated with forming toxic blooms. The toxins produced by cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, are harmful to both humans and animals. Rising temperatures due to global climate change are expected to increase the occurrence of cyanobacteria, and it is vital that we protect [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria are frequently associated with forming toxic blooms. The toxins produced by cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, are harmful to both humans and animals. Rising temperatures due to global climate change are expected to increase the occurrence of cyanobacteria, and it is vital that we protect our drinking water supplies and natural water resources. Modeling the production, fate, and transport of these toxins is an important step in limiting exposure to them and evaluating management strategies to mitigate their impact. The research provided here offers an overview of some of the main cyanotoxins of concern and presents preliminary models for the transport and fate of these toxins. Cyanotoxins can be either intracellular or extracellular, and a model for each was developed. The models were incorporated into the two-dimensional (longitudinal and vertical) hydrodynamic and water quality model CE-QUAL-W2. The toxin models were tested using a model of Henry Hagg Lake (Oregon, USA). The models were able to produce similar trends as found in published data, but since the toxin data available at Henry Hagg Lake was minimal, no direct comparisons between model results and field data were made. Four scenarios were conducted to test the functionality of the toxin models in CE-QUAL-W2. The predicted results from each test scenario matched the expected outcomes based on the parameters used in each scenario. Further applications of the toxin models to other water bodies with more consistent toxin data will help verify the accuracy of the models. This research provides a first step at modeling cyanotoxins using CE-QUAL-W2 and provides a framework to further develop the models through continued research of the cyanotoxins. Full article
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20 pages, 2760 KiB  
Review
Artificial Reefs around the World: A Review of the State of the Art and a Meta-Analysis of Its Effectiveness for the Restoration of Marine Ecosystems
by Carolina Bracho-Villavicencio, Helena Matthews-Cascon and Sergio Rossi
Environments 2023, 10(7), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070121 - 14 Jul 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4463
Abstract
Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in marine restoration, requiring a consideration of various approaches for optimal success. Artificial reefs (ARs) have been employed for marine restoration and fisheries management, but their effectiveness in restoring ecosystems lacks well-defined ecological criteria [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in marine restoration, requiring a consideration of various approaches for optimal success. Artificial reefs (ARs) have been employed for marine restoration and fisheries management, but their effectiveness in restoring ecosystems lacks well-defined ecological criteria and empirical evidence. A systematic review of the literature on ARs articles between 1990–2020, a meta-analysis of their effectiveness based on the similarity of species composition with reference natural reefs (NRs), as well as bias risk analyses were carried out. Research on ARs primarily focused production of marine communities (n = 168). There are important information gaps regarding socioeconomic aspects; design, materials, and disposal in the selected habitats; legal, management, and planning aspects considering long-term monitoring. Regarding effectiveness, few articles (n = 13) allowed comparisons between ARs and NRs, highlighting the need to apply proper reference sites in AR implementations. Meta-analysis showed that ARs are not similar to reference NRs (p = 0.03, common effect and p = 0.05 random effect models). However, a high index of heterogeneity (88%) suggests that this relation may be influenced by factors other than the reef type. Thus, further analysis can disguise variables conditioning this AR–NR similarity as a measure of restoration for degraded marine ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Environmental Technologies)
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18 pages, 1130 KiB  
Article
Occurrence of Persistent Organochlorine Pollutants in Sediments from Lake Piediluco, Italy
by Tommaso Mercanti, Mohamed El Hachmi, Stefano Falcinelli and Bartolomeo Sebastiani
Environments 2023, 10(7), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070120 - 11 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1545
Abstract
In surficial sediments of Lake Piediluco, a small, riverine, regulated and heavily modified water body in the Central Italian Apennines, contamination by persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) was assessed. During spring and autumn, six representative points were investigated. Reflecting a substantial zonation of pollution [...] Read more.
In surficial sediments of Lake Piediluco, a small, riverine, regulated and heavily modified water body in the Central Italian Apennines, contamination by persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) was assessed. During spring and autumn, six representative points were investigated. Reflecting a substantial zonation of pollution within this aquatic ecosystem, concentrations were found to vary from site to site. OCPs, particularly DDT and its metabolites DDE and DDD, were detected at varying frequencies and concentrations from 0.301 to 8.185 ng/g d.w., whilst total PCBs (Σ50 congeners) were from 0.570 to 10.206 ng/g d.w. Although both PCB congener-specific and homolog patterns suggest a prevalent presence of Aroclors 1254 and 1260, a more limited likely contribution of 1248 technical mixture is not to be excluded. In the western area of the lake, affected daily by continuous basin water remixing for hydroelectricity production, major seasonal differences in OCP concentrations were found. Conversely, the eastern area was typified by low seasonal fluctuation and small variation among sites. Regardless of either collection site or seasonality, polychlorinated-p-dioxin and furan (PCDD/Fs) contamination were below 8.3 pg WHO-TEQ/g. In contrast to the present study, POP pollution from PCBs, PCDD/Fs and some DDT-derived pollutants has not been investigated so far. Nevertheless, the concentrations are typical of low-polluted or pristine area lakes and are consistently lower than those of other Italian lakes of greater size and depth (e.g., Como, Garda and Maggiore). The physical and chemical properties of investigated analytes are more consistent with probable diffuse point source contamination originating from the catchment area, rather than from atmospheric depositions by regional or long-range transports. Finally, according to the international sediment quality guidelines (SQGs), Piediluco sediments pose a low risk to sediment-dwelling organisms and, more generally, to the wildlife of such aquatic ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Potentially Toxic Elements in Sediments of Protected Areas)
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15 pages, 3755 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Air Pollution on Stone Materials
by Silvestro Antonio Ruffolo, Mauro Francesco La Russa, Natalia Rovella and Michela Ricca
Environments 2023, 10(7), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070119 - 10 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4091
Abstract
Air pollution can have a significant impact on stone materials used in monuments, buildings, and sculptures. Sulfur and nitrogen oxides are particularly harmful pollutants, especially in carbonate stones. These oxides, reacting with moisture in the air, result in the formation of acids able [...] Read more.
Air pollution can have a significant impact on stone materials used in monuments, buildings, and sculptures. Sulfur and nitrogen oxides are particularly harmful pollutants, especially in carbonate stones. These oxides, reacting with moisture in the air, result in the formation of acids able to erode the stone surface and gradually compromise its structural integrity. The acids can also combine with airborne particulate matter, heavy metals, and salts, leading to the development of black crusts. These not only have detrimental effects on the stone’s integrity but also affect the original appearance of the surfaces, threatening the conservation of important monuments and buildings. This review discusses the characteristics of black crusts and their relation to the environment and stone materials. Full article
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14 pages, 1652 KiB  
Article
Alkali-Catalyzed Organosolv Treatment of Oat Bran for Enhanced Release of Hydroxycinnamate Antioxidants: Comparison of 1- and 2-Propanol
by Akram Guenaoui, Selma Casasni, Spyros Grigorakis and Dimitris P. Makris
Environments 2023, 10(7), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070118 - 6 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1509
Abstract
Oat bran (OB) may be regarded as food industry by-product, with a high perspective as a bioresource in the production of high-value polyphenolic substances. On this basis, the investigation presented herein aimed at (i) using 1- and 2-propanol organosolv treatment and studying the [...] Read more.
Oat bran (OB) may be regarded as food industry by-product, with a high perspective as a bioresource in the production of high-value polyphenolic substances. On this basis, the investigation presented herein aimed at (i) using 1- and 2-propanol organosolv treatment and studying the effect of an alkali (sodium hydroxide) catalyst on releasing bound polyphenols, (ii) establishing models of polyphenol recovery by employing severity and response surface methodology, and (iii) investigating the polyphenolic profile of the extracts produced. Yield in total polyphenols as a function of treatment severity was satisfactorily described by linear models, indicating that for both 1- and 2-propanol treatments, temperature and time could be used interchangeably to adjust severity. Furthermore, the 1-propanol process was found to be more efficient at lower severity compared to the 2-propanol process. The optimization using response surface methodology revealed that, under identical condition settings (t = 300 min, T = 90 °C), the 1-propanol treatment afforded a total polyphenol yield of 17.15 ± 0.51 mg ferulic acid equivalents per g−1 dry mass, whereas the 2-propanol treatment gave a yield of 14.78 ± 1.11 mg ferulic acid equivalents per g−1 dry mass. Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry analyses showed that the extract produced from the 1-propanol treatment was significantly more enriched in ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid compared to the extract generated with the 2-propanol treatment. Moreover, the antioxidant activity of the extracts was in concurrence with the polyphenolic composition. Based on the evidence, the alkali-catalyzed, 1-propanol organosolv treatment of OB is proposed as a sustainable and efficient methodology to recover multipurpose natural antioxidants. Full article
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22 pages, 10255 KiB  
Article
Definition and Validation of Vineyard Management Zones Based on Soil Apparent Electrical Conductivity and Altimetric Survey
by João Serrano, Vasco Mau, Rodrigo Rodrigues, Luís Paixão, Shakib Shahidian, José Marques da Silva, Luís L. Paniagua and Francisco J. Moral
Environments 2023, 10(7), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070117 - 6 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1884
Abstract
In the current context of increasing costs of production factors, it is essential to optimize the management of available resources, seeking to incorporate technologies that improve knowledge of the variables involved in the agronomic production process. The aim of this study is to [...] Read more.
In the current context of increasing costs of production factors, it is essential to optimize the management of available resources, seeking to incorporate technologies that improve knowledge of the variables involved in the agronomic production process. The aim of this study is to define and validate management zones (MZ) in a 3.3 ha vineyard located near Évora, in the South of Portugal. A contact sensor (“Veris 2000 XA”) was used to map soil apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) and a precision altimetric survey of the field was carried out with a global navigation satellite system receiver (GNSS). The results of these surveys were submitted to geostatistical treatments that allowed the definition of three MZ (less, intermediate, and more productive potential). The validation of such MZ was carried out by laboratory analysis of soil samples (texture, pH, organic matter—OM, moisture content, phosphorous, potassium, exchange bases, and cation exchange capacity—CEC), measurements of soil compaction (cone index—CI) with an electronic cone penetrometer, and through indices (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index—NDVI, and Normalized Difference Water Index—NDWI) obtained by remote sensing (RS) using Sentinel-2 satellite images. All these parameters (soil parameters and RS indices) proved the validity of the MZ (of less, intermediate, and more productive potential) defined from the ECa and altimetric survey. This validation attests to the interest of expeditious technological tools for monitoring ECa as a fundamental step in implementing smart agronomic decision-making processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Environmental Technologies)
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20 pages, 9862 KiB  
Article
Experimental and Numerical Analysis of Wooden Sonic Crystals Applied as Noise Barriers
by Tommaso D’Orazio, Francesco Asdrubali, Luís Godinho, Matheus Veloso and Paulo Amado-Mendes
Environments 2023, 10(7), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070116 - 4 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1837
Abstract
Recent research has been developed by different groups towards the development of sonic crystals as noise barriers. The present paper aims to contribute to this research, focusing on the possible application of this technology in practice, and exploring some aspects that may be [...] Read more.
Recent research has been developed by different groups towards the development of sonic crystals as noise barriers. The present paper aims to contribute to this research, focusing on the possible application of this technology in practice, and exploring some aspects that may be useful for its further development. One of the objectives of this work is to explore the differences between experimental results obtained under laboratory conditions and numerical results computed with the finite element method (FEM), in 2D and 3D, understanding if different types of simplified models can be of use in the practical analysis of sonic crystals. Through this comparison, a validation of the prediction numerical models is performed, giving confidence for their use in the development and study of sonic crystal configurations. In this context, different geometric arrangements of the sonic crystals’ scatterers (the individual elements that make up the barriers) have been analyzed with the help of the numerical method, evaluating their behavior in different arrangements of numbers of elements, shape and size. A number of parametric studies are also performed introducing some randomness in the structure (in scatterer size and spacing), and analyzing its effect on the insertion loss provided by the sonic crystal. These contributions can be significantly useful for the development of new solutions, giving important hints about the sensitivity of these structures to possible defects or limitations in their production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution II)
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13 pages, 1646 KiB  
Article
Uncovering the Hidden Dangers of Microplastic Pollution in Lake Ecosystems: Effects of Ingestion on Talitrid Amphipods
by Camilla Ciotti, Andrea Setini, Francesca Lecce and Valentina Iannilli
Environments 2023, 10(7), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070115 - 4 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1861
Abstract
Microplastic (MP) contamination is a globally recognised issue in aquatic environments, and recently, there has been an increase in investigations focusing on lake contamination, revealing significant amounts of dispersed MPs. However, our understanding of the ingestion and effects of MPs on organisms living [...] Read more.
Microplastic (MP) contamination is a globally recognised issue in aquatic environments, and recently, there has been an increase in investigations focusing on lake contamination, revealing significant amounts of dispersed MPs. However, our understanding of the ingestion and effects of MPs on organisms living in lake ecosystems remains limited. This study aims to develop an effective protocol for assessing the ingestion of MPs by the talitrid amphipod Cryptorchestia garbinii, with the goal of verifying and evaluating the biological effects following ingestion. Individuals sampled from the shores of Lake Albano were exposed to four different polymers, namely low-density polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyester (PES), and polypropylene (PP), under laboratory conditions. To deliver MPs through the diet, we decided to employ DECOTABs (DEcomposition and COnsumption TABlets) which have been successfully used as a food source in aquatic toxicity tests. At the end of the experiments, we employed the solvatochromic and fluorescent dye Nile red to detect and quantify the MPs present in the digestive tube contents of the animals. The results clearly demonstrate the ingestion of the supplied polymers through the tabs, validating this method of exposure as effective. Furthermore, the measurement of glucose, glycogen, and lipid levels reveals that within 24 h of ingestion, MPs had an impact on the macromolecules involved in the energy metabolism of C. garbinii. This research underscores the suitability of this species as a model organism for studying MP uptake and its effects. Full article
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17 pages, 2076 KiB  
Article
Bioaccumulation of Selenium, Heavy Metals and Rare Earth Elements with Different Rice Cultivars Grown on Seleniferous Soils in Lianchen County, Fujian Province, China
by Minjian Chen, Jinying Chen, Huangping Wang, Xianyong Lu, Xuhui Luo and Mingkuang Wang
Environments 2023, 10(7), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070114 - 3 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1622
Abstract
Seleniferous red soils cover a large area in the southern part of China. These agricultural soils are enriched in selenium (Se), heavy metals, and rare earth elements and have been cultivated for more than 1000 years for rice production without any consideration of [...] Read more.
Seleniferous red soils cover a large area in the southern part of China. These agricultural soils are enriched in selenium (Se), heavy metals, and rare earth elements and have been cultivated for more than 1000 years for rice production without any consideration of the effects of selenium, heavy metals, and rare earth element bioaccumulation in the food plants produced. To address this knowledge gap, this study focuses on the investigation of Se, heavy metals, and rare earth elements within soils and plants in the region. The rice (Oryza spp.) plants studied were grown in the Gutian (GT), Gechuan (GC), and Pengkou (PK) villages in Lianchen (LC) County, Fujian Province. The surface soils and harvested rice tissues were collected to determine the Se, Cd, Zn, Pb, La, Ce, and Nd concentrations in the soils and plant tissues. Different rice cultivars possessed various potentials for elemental accumulation. Generally, rice plant tissues accumulated certain amounts of these elements; however, the elemental concentrations found in rice grain were within the acceptable ranges stipulated by the National Security Standard of Food. The Hongbaoshi (HBS) Indica red rice produced in the PK village accumulated more selenium, heavy metals, and rare earth elements than those in the plant tissues of the Xinyinzhan (XYZ) and Wushansimiao (WSSM) rice cultivars because HBS had more root hairs and finer root distribution. Thus, in the interest of food safety, increased attention needs to be given to the careful selection of the optimum crop species planted in these types of seleniferous red soils. Full article
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13 pages, 740 KiB  
Article
A Survey on Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases in Taiwan: Emission Trends, Regulatory Strategies, and Abatement Technologies
by Wen-Tien Tsai and Chi-Hung Tsai
Environments 2023, 10(7), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070113 - 3 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2084
Abstract
Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases), including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), are used in a variety of applications, but they are potent greenhouse gases (GHGs). Therefore, they have been blanketed into the list of [...] Read more.
Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases), including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), are used in a variety of applications, but they are potent greenhouse gases (GHGs). Therefore, they have been blanketed into the list of items to be phased out under international protocols or treaties. During the desk research, the updated statistics of Taiwan’s National Inventory Report (NIR) were used to analyze the trends of F-gases (i.e., HFCs, PFCs, SF6, and NF3) emissions during the period of 2000–2020. Furthermore, the regulatory strategies and measures for the reduction of the four F-gas emissions will be summarized to be in accordance with the national and international regulations. With the rapid development in the electronics industry, the total F-gas emissions indicate a significant increase from 2462 kilotons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) in 2000 to the peak value (i.e., 12,643 kilotons) of CO2eq in 2004. However, it sharply decreased from 10,284 kilotons of CO2eq in 2005 to 3906 kilotons of CO2eq in 2020 due to the ongoing efforts of the regulatory requirements and the industry’s voluntary reduction in time sequence. It was also found that the most commonly used method for controlling the emissions of F-gases from the semiconductor and optoelectronic industries in Taiwan is based on the thermal destruction-local scrubbing method. Full article
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13 pages, 2479 KiB  
Article
Simulating Gibberellic Acid Effect on Pasture Yield on Naturally Deposited and Fixed Area Urine
by Dumsane Themba Matse, Fernando Avendano, Peter Bishop, Paramsothy Jeyakumar and Geoff Bates
Environments 2023, 10(7), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070112 - 2 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1714
Abstract
Nitrate (NO3-N) leaching from urine patches is a serious environmental concern in dairy pastoral systems. In our previous research, we established that application of a plant growth hormone, gibberellic acid (GA), can potentially reduce NO3-N leaching in [...] Read more.
Nitrate (NO3-N) leaching from urine patches is a serious environmental concern in dairy pastoral systems. In our previous research, we established that application of a plant growth hormone, gibberellic acid (GA), can potentially reduce NO3-N leaching in urine patches; however, this was investigated in two locations in New Zealand. The performance of GA in influencing pasture nitrogen (N) uptake and NO3-N leaching needs to be undertaken in multi-locations to draw conclusions. However, multi-location studies are a challenge due to a lack of funding and time constraints, so models such as the agricultural production systems simulator (APSIM) have been used. Therefore, field studies were conducted to determine whether APSIM can be used to quantify and simulate the effect of GA on NO3-N leaching and pasture yield in three experimental sites known as Ashburton, Stratford, and Rotorua in New Zealand. Treatments examined were control (no urine applied), urine at 600 kg N ha−1, urine + GA at 8 g ha−1. The observed data was used to calibrate and validate the model. APSIM simulated that application of GA reduced NO3-N leaching (relative to urine treatment) by 4.6, 5.1, and 8.8 kg NO3-N ha−1 in Ashburton, Stratford, and Rotorua, respectively. APSIM reliably simulated pasture dry matter yield, and this was confirmed by the coefficient of determination ranging from R2 = 0.8562 to 0.995 in all treatments and experimental sites. This study demonstrated that APSIM can effectively be used to simulate the effect of GA application on NO3-N leaching and pasture yield. Therefore, APSIM can be applied in other areas to simulate NO3-N leaching and pasture yield. Full article
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20 pages, 3844 KiB  
Article
Effective Speed: Can Cost Effective Transportation Be Sustainable (Reducing Emissions and External Costs)?
by Maren Schnieder
Environments 2023, 10(7), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070111 - 27 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
Given the need to reduce fuel emissions from transport many research studies have been devoted to the development of technologies and identification of new policies to tackle this problem. The majority of these strategies either increase the costs (e.g., new technology), are more [...] Read more.
Given the need to reduce fuel emissions from transport many research studies have been devoted to the development of technologies and identification of new policies to tackle this problem. The majority of these strategies either increase the costs (e.g., new technology), are more time-consuming (i.e., choosing a more sustainable mode of transport), or encourage consumers to forgo travel plans (i.e., flights to holiday destinations). Implementing any of these changes is challenging for a society where cost, quality and time are the key motivators. The paper differs from previous research, given that the focus is not to slow down global warming, through the development of new technologies, or through inconveniences to lifestyle. Instead, the focus is to improve the sustainability of transport using current technology without increasing the cost or time factor. By using the concept of effective speed, this paper estimates the possible reduction in emissions, external costs and land use if people can be persuaded to choose the most cost-effective mode of transport. The effective speed is calculated by dividing the distance travelled by the time spent (i.e., travelling to work and earning the money to pay for the commute). This case study uses data from a survey of residents in New York City (NYC) and incorporates supporting data about commuting patterns in Germany. If people use their most cost-effective mode of transport in NYC, it is possible to have emission reductions of up to 14.7%, external cost reduction of 11.6% and a reduction in the time–area requirements of 16.5%. The results of this paper highlight that people do not always need to spend more time or money on their transport activity to travel in a more sustainable way. Indeed, encouraging people to use a mode of transport with a faster effective speed may even reduce the external effects for some. Full article
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22 pages, 2466 KiB  
Article
Assessing Coastal Erosion and Climate Change Adaptation Measures: A Novel Participatory Approach
by Carlos Coelho, Márcia Lima, Filipe M. Alves, Peter Roebeling, Joaquim Pais-Barbosa and Marco Marto
Environments 2023, 10(7), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070110 - 26 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3719
Abstract
This work aims to provide a more complete characterization of coastal erosion mitigation and climate change adaptation measures by presenting a participatory approach that integrates medium- to long-term perspectives, considering simultaneously social, environmental, economic and engineering dimensions to help decision makers implement sustainable [...] Read more.
This work aims to provide a more complete characterization of coastal erosion mitigation and climate change adaptation measures by presenting a participatory approach that integrates medium- to long-term perspectives, considering simultaneously social, environmental, economic and engineering dimensions to help decision makers implement sustainable climate change adaptation (CCA) strategies. The work lists, explains and characterizes existing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures as well as their costs and positive and negative social, environmental and economic impacts, in three distinct databases. These databases are discussed, complemented and validated in participatory moments with local stakeholders of the Ovar Municipality, Portugal, which represents the case study to support the proposed methodology. Although Ovar is a pilot case, the integrated framework for resilient CCA has a global application with respect to methodologies and concepts. The proposed approach is useful to help coastal management entities to engage in more efficient, effective and beneficial planned action to mitigate coastal erosion and adapt to future climate change effects. The open-source databases and the participatory approach facilitate decision makers and coastal communities to navigate the complexity of solutions and build consensus around collective actions for coastal areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Risk and Climate Change II)
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17 pages, 4294 KiB  
Article
Carbon Dioxide Utilization Using Chlorella Microalgae
by Natalia Politaeva, Igor Ilin, Ksenia Velmozhina and Polina Shinkevich
Environments 2023, 10(7), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070109 - 23 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 7074
Abstract
The problem of the excessive CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is one of the significant problems for the modern world and ecology. This article examines the dynamics of carbon dioxide absorption from thermal power plants, TPP, and waste gases by three types [...] Read more.
The problem of the excessive CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is one of the significant problems for the modern world and ecology. This article examines the dynamics of carbon dioxide absorption from thermal power plants, TPP, and waste gases by three types of microalgae, the most typical for the Russian Federation: Chlorella kessleri, Chlorella vulgaris, and Chlorella sorokiniana. The exhaust gases of the TPP contain up to 39% carbon dioxide. In this work, the rate of absorption of carbon dioxide from model exhaust gases with a CO2 content of up to 39% was studied. As a result of the study, a species of microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris) was identified, characterized by the maximum rate of absorption of CO2 = 0.412 g/L·day and the maximum volume of CO2 utilized in 1 day = 8.125 L. The conducted research proved the possibility of utilizing a large content (up to 39%) of carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases of the TPP with the help of microalgae of the genus Chlorella. A scheme for the utilization of CO2 with the help of microalgae is also proposed, which meets the principles of a circular economy (closed cycle). Full article
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16 pages, 1823 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Impact of a New Industrial Discharge on an Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant: Proposal for an Experimental Protocol
by Maria Cristina Collivignarelli, Francesca Maria Caccamo, Stefano Bellazzi, Alessandro Abbà and Giorgio Bertanza
Environments 2023, 10(7), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070108 - 22 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1846
Abstract
Assessing the compatibility of industrial discharges with the biological process of a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) may represent a critical task. Indeed, either focusing only on chemical characterization or ecotoxicity tests designed to assess the impact on surface waters may lead to [...] Read more.
Assessing the compatibility of industrial discharges with the biological process of a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) may represent a critical task. Indeed, either focusing only on chemical characterization or ecotoxicity tests designed to assess the impact on surface waters may lead to questionable or misleading conclusions. The feasibility of an industrial connection to the sewer should better take into account the features of the downstream WWTP, in particular by studying the potential effects on the biomass of that specific plant. With this aim, a multi-step experimental protocol applicable by water utilities has been proposed: (step 1) calculation of the flow rate/load ratio between industrial discharge (ID) and urban wastewater (WW); (step 2) analysis of the modified operating conditions of the biological stage; (step 3) experimental assessment of the impact of the ID on the WWTP biomass by means of respirometric tests. An application of this protocol is presented in this work as a case study, namely a new ID (average flowrate 200 m3 d−1) coming from an aqueous waste treatment plant (AWTP) to be connected to the public sewer. The integrated evaluation of results showed that no negative impacts could be expected on the downstream urban activated sludge WWTP (treating a flow rate of around 45,000 m3 d−1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Environmental Technologies)
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17 pages, 4528 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Attractiveness and Passage Efficiency of Different Fish Passage Solutions at a Hydropower Plant by Combining Fine Scale 2D-Telemetry and Hydraulic Numerical Modelling
by Séverine Renardy, Utashi D. Ciraane, Jean-Philippe Benitez, Arnaud Dierckx, Justine Gelder, Ana T. Silva, Pierre Archambeau, Benjamin Dewals, Michel Pirotton, Sébastien Erpicum and Michaël Ovidio
Environments 2023, 10(7), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070107 - 22 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1965
Abstract
Mitigation measures for downstream-migrating Atlantic salmon smolts (Salmo salar L.) are commonly insufficiently attractive to enable safe entrance and passage with no delay. Combining 2D telemetry with hydrodynamic modelling has been shown to be a good tool to better understand the influence [...] Read more.
Mitigation measures for downstream-migrating Atlantic salmon smolts (Salmo salar L.) are commonly insufficiently attractive to enable safe entrance and passage with no delay. Combining 2D telemetry with hydrodynamic modelling has been shown to be a good tool to better understand the influence of hydrodynamic factors on the migration route choice of fishes. In this study, we investigated the smolt downstream migration at a hydropower plant in Belgium that offers five migration routes, including two Archimedes screws and one nature-like fishway. At the hydropower plant, the Archimedes screws were the most used migration routes, due to higher discharges and more important water depths at their entrance. The weir and the canal intake were less used by the smolts. The nature-like fishway turned out to be less used, with 23% of the smolts. Its associated crossing time was significantly longer, probably due to shallow water depths and high flow velocities. The nature-like fishway had the potential to become a good migration route for salmon smolts after improvements to increase attractiveness and passage efficiency. Moreover, the Archimedes screws were not detrimental to the smolts and did not cause any significant delays to the crossing time. Full article
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29 pages, 1817 KiB  
Article
Environmental and Social Life Cycle Assessment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Management in Italy According to EU Directives
by Patrizia Ghisellini, Renato Passaro and Sergio Ulgiati
Environments 2023, 10(7), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070106 - 22 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2439
Abstract
The current Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) management system of the European Union to be applied in all member states was introduced in 2002 by the first WEEE directive (2002/96/EC). Since the beginning, the system was intended to improve the management of [...] Read more.
The current Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) management system of the European Union to be applied in all member states was introduced in 2002 by the first WEEE directive (2002/96/EC). Since the beginning, the system was intended to improve the management of WEEE and promote circular economy principles in the sector. This study aims at evaluating the environmental and social impacts of the WEEE management system in Italy, with a special focus on collection and recycling in Campania Region (the third more populated Italian Region, Southern Italy). The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is jointly applied with the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA). All five categories of WEEE (R1 to R5) are considered in the assessment. The LCA results show that the extraction of metals and materials from 1 tonne of WEEE collection and recycling generates much lower environmental impacts than the extraction and refining of an equivalent amount of virgin resources. In particular, the results of the environmental LCA highlight that the treatment of 1 tonne of WEEE collected in the Campania Region provides the opportunity to recover several metals such as Aluminum, Iron, Steel and ferrous materials, Copper, Nickel, Lead, and precious metals (Gold, Silver, and Palladium). According to S-LCA, the collection and recycling of 1 tonne of WEEE provides positive impacts to the investigated sub-categories of recipients (i.e., local community and society), except in some cases where the collection may potentially generate negative impacts, expressed by a lower “safe and healthy living conditions” indicator in the local community sub-category. In particular, much more must be done to support small Municipalities towards better collection procedures and integration within the largest Regional and national WEEE valorization networks. Solutions are suggested to improve the transition of the WEEE management system towards a more just environmental and social circular economy model. Full article
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