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Environments, Volume 11, Issue 6 (June 2024) – 26 articles

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13 pages, 661 KiB  
Article
Copper Distribution and Binding Affinity to Size-Fractioned Dissolved and Particulate Organic Matter in River Sediment
by Ming-Yuan Hung, Wei-Hsiang Huang, Hsiang-Chun Tsai, Chi-Ying Hsieh and Ting-Chien Chen
Environments 2024, 11(6), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060129 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
This study investigated the distribution of copper in sediment dissolved and particulate organic matter (DOM and POM) based on their size. The DOM and alkaline extracted POM (AEOM) were separated into five size fractions using a cross-flow ultrafiltration (CFUF) system. The results showed [...] Read more.
This study investigated the distribution of copper in sediment dissolved and particulate organic matter (DOM and POM) based on their size. The DOM and alkaline extracted POM (AEOM) were separated into five size fractions using a cross-flow ultrafiltration (CFUF) system. The results showed that Cu mass was mainly distributed in the low molecular weight (<1 kDa, LMW) fraction of the DOM with an average range of 78.1–83.1%. Conversely, the high molecular weight (1 kDa–0.45 μm, HMW) AEOM fraction had a higher distribution of Cu mass with an average range of 92.6-93.3%. The Cu and AEOM binding affinity ratios (CuBAAEOM) ranged from 17.0 to 149.6 μmol/g-C in site-1 and from 20.6 to 143.7 μmol/g-C in site-2. The HMW CuBAAEOM ratios were significantly higher than the LMW ratios. The Cu and DOM binding affinity ratios (CuBADOM) ranged from 5.6 to 358.6 μmol/g-C and 17.2 to 126.6 μmol/g-C in site-1 and site-2, respectively. However, the LMW CuBADOM ratios were significantly higher than the HMW ratios. Optical indices suggested that the AEOM had more aromaticity and terrestrial and allochthonous contributions than the DOM. The optical indices were significantly correlated with the CuBAAEOM ratios but weakly correlated with the CuBADOM ratios. Sediment exchange between POM and DOM may affect copper distribution. DOM has a low-molecular-weight composition, while POM retains high-molecular-weight organic matter. Full article
18 pages, 2462 KiB  
Article
Concentrations and Oxidative Potential of PM2.5 and Black Carbon Inhalation Doses at US–Mexico Port of Entry
by Rita Zurita, Penelope J. E. Quintana, Yanis Toledano-Magaña, Fernando T. Wakida, Lupita D. Montoya and Javier Emmanuel Castillo
Environments 2024, 11(6), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060128 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 39
Abstract
Located between Mexico and the US, the San Ysidro/El Chaparral Land Port of Entry (SYPOE) is one of the busiest border crossings in the world. People with activities at the SYPOE are exposed to vehicular pollutants, especially particles with aerodynamic diameters < 2.5 [...] Read more.
Located between Mexico and the US, the San Ysidro/El Chaparral Land Port of Entry (SYPOE) is one of the busiest border crossings in the world. People with activities at the SYPOE are exposed to vehicular pollutants, especially particles with aerodynamic diameters < 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC), both associated with adverse health effects. This study presents the first PM2.5 and BC concentration measurements collected on the Mexican side of the SYPOE. The oxidative potential (OP) for PM2.5 and the inhalation dose of BC for people at the border were also evaluated. Autumn and winter showed the highest PM2.5 concentrations (at 28.7 μg m−3 and 28.2 μg m−3, respectively). BC concentration peaked in the winter of 2017 (at 5.7 ± 6 μgm−3), demonstrating an increase during periods with low wind speeds. The highest OPDTT of PM2.5 was reached in winter, with a value of 18.5 pmol min−1 µg−1 (0.6 nmol min−1m−3). The highest average daily inhalation dose for pedestrians was registered in the autumn of 2018 (5.9 μg for a 60-min waiting time), whereas, for workers, it was in the winter of 2017 (19 μg for a 10-h shift on average). Decreasing waiting times for pedestrians and adjusting work schedules for border workers on high concentration days could ameliorate environmental justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality, Health and Climate)
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17 pages, 1826 KiB  
Article
Association between Combined Metals and PFAS Exposure with Dietary Patterns: A Preliminary Study
by Augustina Odediran and Emmanuel Obeng-Gyasi
Environments 2024, 11(6), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060127 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 115
Abstract
Background: The global burden of chronic diseases has been increasing, with evidence suggesting that diet and exposure to environmental pollutants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and heavy metals, may contribute to their development. The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) assesses the inflammatory [...] Read more.
Background: The global burden of chronic diseases has been increasing, with evidence suggesting that diet and exposure to environmental pollutants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and heavy metals, may contribute to their development. The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) assesses the inflammatory potential of an individual’s diet. However, the complex interplay between PFAS, heavy metals, and DII remains largely unexplored. Objective: The goal of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the associations between diet operationalized as the DII with individual and combined lead, cadmium, mercury, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) exposures using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2017–2018. Methods: Descriptive statistics, a correlational analysis, and linear regression were initially used to assess the relationship between the variables of interest. We subsequently employed Bayesian kernel Machine regression (BKMR) to analyze the data to assess the non-linear, non-additive, exposure–response relationships and interactions between PFAS and metals with the DII. Results: The multi-variable linear regression revealed significant associations between the DII and cadmium and mercury. Our BKMR analysis revealed a complex relationship between PFAS, metal exposures, and the DII. In our univariate exposure–response function plot, cadmium and mercury exhibited a positive and negative linear relationship, respectively, which indicated a positive and negative relationship across the spectrum of exposures with the DII. In addition, the bivariate exposure–response function between two exposures in a mixture revealed that cadmium had a robust positive relationship with the DII for different quantiles of lead, mercury, PFOA, and PFOS, indicating that increasing levels of cadmium are associated with the DII. Mercury’s bivariate plot demonstrated a negative relationship across all quantiles for all pollutants. Furthermore, the posterior inclusion probability (PIP) results highlighted the consistent importance of cadmium and mercury with the inflammatory potential of an individual’s diet, operationalized as the DII in our study, with both showing a PIP of 1.000. This was followed by PFOS with a PIP of 0.8524, PFOA at 0.5924, and lead, which had the lowest impact among the five environmental pollutants, with a PIP of 0.5596. Conclusion: Our study suggests that exposures to environmental metals and PFAS, particularly mercury and cadmium, are associated with DII. These findings also provide evidence of the intricate relationships between PFAS, heavy metals, and the DII. The findings underscore the importance of considering the cumulative effects of multi-pollutant exposures. Future research should focus on elucidating the mechanistic pathways and dose–response relationships underlying these associations in a study that examines causality, which will enable a deeper understanding of the dietary risks associated with environmental pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environments: 10 Years of Science Together)
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24 pages, 12143 KiB  
Article
Constraints on Organic Matter Stability in Pyrenean Subalpine Grassland Soils: Physical Protection, Biochemical Quality, and the Role of Free Iron Forms
by Pere Rovira, Teresa Sauras-Yera and Rosa Maria Poch
Environments 2024, 11(6), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060126 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 255
Abstract
The stability of soil organic matter (SOM) depends on its degree of physical protection, biochemical quality (q), and mineralogical features such as the abundance of iron or aluminum oxyhydroxides: All constraints stabilize SOM, but the relevance of each is herein discussed. [...] Read more.
The stability of soil organic matter (SOM) depends on its degree of physical protection, biochemical quality (q), and mineralogical features such as the abundance of iron or aluminum oxyhydroxides: All constraints stabilize SOM, but the relevance of each is herein discussed. We studied from this point of view the stability of SOM in four grassland soils. The SOM in these profiles was characterized for its physical protection (ultrasonic dispersion + size fractionation) and its q (acid hydrolysis, carbohydrates, phenolics, and unhydrolyzable carbon). The profiles were also analyzed for free iron forms extracted with several chemicals: dithionite-citrate-bicarbonate, citric acid, oxalic-oxalate (Tamm’s solution), and DTPA. Soil horizons were incubated under optimal conditions to obtain the C lost after 33 days (Cresp33) and basal respiration rate (BRR). The microbial C was obtained at the end of the incubation. The microbial activity rate (MAR: mg C respired per g microbial C per day) was obtained from these measures. The sum soluble + microbial C was taken as the active C pool. As expected, the stability of SOM depends on its distribution between the size fractions: The higher the proportion of particulate organic matter (POM: >20 µm size), the higher the soil respiration rate. In contrast, q barely affects SOM decomposition. Both physical availability (size fractionation) and q (acid hydrolysis) affect the size of the microbial C pool, but they barely affect MAR. The effects of free iron on SOM stability are complex: While dithionite-extracted Fe negatively affected Cresp33, BRR, and MAR, the Fe extracted by smoother methods (Tamm’s reagent and DTPA) positively relates to Cresp33, BRR, and MAR. Free iron apparently modulates soil microbial metabolism because it is the only studied parameter that significantly affected MAR; however, the precise effect depends on the precise free Fe fraction. From our data, SOM stability relies on a net of constraints, including physical availability and free Fe forms, with q being of minor relevance. Our dataset suggests a role for free iron as a modulator of microbial activity, deserving future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Iron–Carbon Biogeochemical Processes)
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11 pages, 956 KiB  
Review
Environmental Stressors of Mozambique Soil Quality
by Mario J. S. L. Pereira and Joaquim Esteves da Silva
Environments 2024, 11(6), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060125 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 275
Abstract
Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, it has natural resources, and if they are managed under sustainable development principles, it can overcome its current problems. In the present socio-economic status, soil is one of its most important resources [...] Read more.
Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, it has natural resources, and if they are managed under sustainable development principles, it can overcome its current problems. In the present socio-economic status, soil is one of its most important resources and must be protected from pollution and degradation. This review identifies and discusses the main soil quality stressors, namely soil fertility; deforestation and its sources: agriculture, timber harvesting, charcoal production, and uncontrolled fires; mining activities, manly gold artisanal explorations, and industrial open-pit coal mining; and solid wastes management. The sustainable use of natural resources is mandatory for future generations to continue to profit from this nature-based wealth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights in Soil Quality and Management)
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37 pages, 4863 KiB  
Review
A Review on Electrochemical Advanced Oxidation Treatment of Dairy Wastewater
by Ashish Kumar Das and Lide Chen
Environments 2024, 11(6), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060124 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 344
Abstract
Dairy wastewater (DW) contains a high concentration of organic and inorganic pollutants. In recent years, extensive research has been conducted to develop more efficient techniques for the treatment of DW. Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) have gained significant attention among the various treatment [...] Read more.
Dairy wastewater (DW) contains a high concentration of organic and inorganic pollutants. In recent years, extensive research has been conducted to develop more efficient techniques for the treatment of DW. Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) have gained significant attention among the various treatment approaches. EAOPs rely on electrochemical generation of hydroxyl radicals (•OH) which are considered highly potent oxidizing compounds for the degradation of pollutants in DW. In this paper, we provide an overview of the treatment of DW using various EAOPs, including anodic oxidation (AO), electro-Fenton (EF), photo electro-Fenton (PEF), and solar photo electro-Fenton (SPEF) processes, both individually and in combination with other techniques. Additionally, we discuss the reactor design and operating parameters employed in EAOPs. The variation in degradation efficiency is due to different oxidizing agents produced in specific approaches and their pollutant degradation abilities. In AO process, •OH radicals generated on electrode surfaces are influenced by electrode material and current density, while EF procedures use Fe2+ to create oxidizing agents both on electrodes and in the DW solution, with degradation mechanisms being affected by Fe2+, pH, and current density; additionally, PEF and SPEF approaches enhance oxidizing component production and pollutant degradation using ultraviolet (UV) light. Integration of EAOPs with other biological processes can enhance the pollutant removal efficiency of the treatment system. There is a scope of further research to exhibit the effectiveness of EAOPs for DW treatment in large scale implementation. Full article
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33 pages, 1075 KiB  
Review
Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Waste to Energy Systems in the Developing World: A Review
by Oluwaseun Nubi, Richard Murphy and Stephen Morse
Environments 2024, 11(6), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060123 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 736
Abstract
The global move towards a circular economy, as well as that of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has necessitated the search for several sustainable solutions in various sectors. Given this, the provision of sustainable waste management and electricity systems constitute [...] Read more.
The global move towards a circular economy, as well as that of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has necessitated the search for several sustainable solutions in various sectors. Given this, the provision of sustainable waste management and electricity systems constitute a significant part of the SDGs, and the waste-to-energy (WtE) concept has recently become a key topic given that it can potentially help reduce the dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation, as well as minimizing the need to dispose of waste in landfill. However, to date, the sustainability assessments of WtE generation technologies have been limited in scope concerning the three-dimensional sustainability framework (economic, environmental, and social). Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) has been proposed as a potential approach that could comprehensively address these three pillars of sustainability simultaneously based on life cycle thinking. LCSA, as a holistic method, could also potentially deal with the complexity associated with decision-making by allowing for the consideration of a full range of possible sustainability consequences. LCSA is an analytical tool that integrates the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC), and Social Life Cycle Assessment (sLCA) methodologies, which already exist and continue to be developed. Individually, these life-cycle approaches tend to be used to point out particular ‘hotspots’ in product or service systems, and hence focus on direct impacts in a given sustainability domain, neglecting the indirect ones. LCSA aims for a more holistic sustainability perspective and seeks to address the associated challenge of integrating these three pillars of sustainability into an overall and more comprehensive sustainability assessment. This need for harmonization within the LCSA methodology is a major challenge in its operationalization. In recent years there has been steady progress towards developing and applying LCSA, including for WtE. The aim of this paper is to review the most recent trends and perspectives in developing countries, especially regarding how LCSA could help inform decision-making. The paper also analyses the LCSA literature to set out the theoretical and practical challenges behind integrating the three methods (LCA, LCC, and sLCA). The review was conducted via a search of keywords such as LCSA, waste, and energy in the Web of Science databases, resulting in the selection of 187 publications written in English. Of those, 13 articles operationalized LCSA in specific waste and WtE related case studies. The review provides a review of the application of LCSA for researchers, technological experts, and policymakers through published findings and identifies perspectives on new research. These include uncertainty, subjectivity in weighting, double-counting, the low maturity of sLCA, and the integration of the interconnection between the three dimensions (environmental, economic, and social dimensions) of LCSA results in decision-making. In addition, gaps (such as the integration of the interconnection between the three dimensions) that need to be addressed via further research are highlighted to allow for a better understanding of methodological trade-offs that come from using the LCSA analytical approach to assess the sustainability of WtE generation technologies, especially in developing countries. It is hoped that this study will be a positive contribution to environmental and energy policy decisions in developing countries faced with the dual problems of waste management and electricity supply along with their sustainable development goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balancing Energy and Environment: A Life Cycle Assessment Perspective)
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18 pages, 2047 KiB  
Article
Are Ecological Risk Indices for Trace Metals Relevant for Characterizing Polluted Substrates in the Katangese Copperbelt (DR Congo) and for Assessment of the Performance of Remediation Trials?
by Serge Langunu, Jacques Kilela Mwanasomwe, Gilles Colinet and Mylor Ngoy Shutcha
Environments 2024, 11(6), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060122 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 402
Abstract
This study aims to contribute to the characterization of Katangese Copperbelt’s (DR Congo) mining wastes and soils polluted with trace metals, using pollution indices and direct concentration measurements. This study also evaluated the use of these indices in assessing the success of remediation [...] Read more.
This study aims to contribute to the characterization of Katangese Copperbelt’s (DR Congo) mining wastes and soils polluted with trace metals, using pollution indices and direct concentration measurements. This study also evaluated the use of these indices in assessing the success of remediation projects. Data from previous studies and samples collected from six types of discharge and one polluted soil were used to address the first objective. Soil and plant samples were collected at Kipushi and Penga Penga for the second objective. The results reveal very high concentrations of As, Cd, Co, Cu, Mn, Pb, and Zn in all mine tailings and polluted soils, compared with local references. The degree of contamination (DC) values (from 72 to 5440) and potential ecological risk (RI) values (from 549 to 162,091) indicate very high-risk situations associated with polluted discharges and soils. Regarding revegetation trials, the results show lower concentrations and RIs in tree rhizospheres compared with unamended areas at both sites. However, trace metal concentrations are higher in tree rhizospheres compared with local references, and RI values are in the considerable risk range for Penga Penga (RI = 533) and in the very high range (>1500) for Kipushi. Bioconcentration factor values are below 1, indicating low accumulation in roots, wood, and leaves, and low risk of contamination of the trophic chain. In this context, it seems that the pollution indices used are suitable for characterizing pollution and prioritization for remediation. However, there seems unsuitable for assessing the effectiveness of phytotechnology processes based on metal stabilization. Direct plant performance measurements combined with direct measurements of metals in substrates and plants to assess transfer and efficiency are more appropriate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights in Soil Quality and Management)
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17 pages, 6074 KiB  
Article
What Occurs within the Mangrove Ecosystems of the Douala Region in Cameroon? Exploring the Challenging Governance of Readily Available Woody Resources in the Wouri Estuary
by Jean-François Bissonnette, Kossivi Fabrice Dossa, Celestin Arnaud Nsangou, Yangue Abidah Satchie, Haman Moussa, Yann Emmanuel Miassi, Nathalie Gravel, Guillaume Marie and Raphaël Onguene
Environments 2024, 11(6), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060121 - 7 Jun 2024
Viewed by 451
Abstract
Mangrove ecosystems provide key ecosystem services in coastal areas. This study describes the riparian mangrove of the Wouri estuary, in the Douala region (Cameroon), emphasizing the changes in this ecosystem over the past decade and its current state. It highlights the different groups [...] Read more.
Mangrove ecosystems provide key ecosystem services in coastal areas. This study describes the riparian mangrove of the Wouri estuary, in the Douala region (Cameroon), emphasizing the changes in this ecosystem over the past decade and its current state. It highlights the different groups of actors who participate in the management and regulation of the resource. Finally, an analysis of the governance of the mangrove wood resource based on the theory of common goods by Elinor Ostrom (1990) is proposed by examining the results obtained from the previous points. The scientific interest lies in contributing to a better understanding of the socio-ecological changes in the mangrove in the context of increasing anthropogenic pressures, highlighting the governance challenges and conservation opportunities in a strategic region of Central Africa. This research reveals complex processes that characterize mangrove ecosystems on the Manoka and Cap Cameroon Islands. The lack of urbanization regulations, continued infrastructure growth, repeated flooding, and coastal erosion all have a negative impact on natural landscapes and forests. The use of wood for smoking and fishing, as well as coastal pollution resulting from deficient garbage management, also have a considerable influence. Strategic interventions are needed to ensure sustainable ecosystem management. Recommendations include the application of rules to prevent forest overexploitation. Full article
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18 pages, 1164 KiB  
Review
A Review of the Multi-Stakeholder Process for Salmon Recovery and Scenario Mapping onto Stability Landscapes
by Gregory M. Hill and Steven A. Kolmes
Environments 2024, 11(6), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060120 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 258
Abstract
We review and draw distinctions between positions held by various federal agencies, tribal agencies, and civil society organizations to identify distinct stakeholder scenarios for salmonid recovery in the Columbia River Basin. We view the Columbia River Basin through a resilience lens from the [...] Read more.
We review and draw distinctions between positions held by various federal agencies, tribal agencies, and civil society organizations to identify distinct stakeholder scenarios for salmonid recovery in the Columbia River Basin. We view the Columbia River Basin through a resilience lens from the point of view of the resident endangered salmonid populations. Using the resilience concept of multiple stable states we describe a stability landscape for the basin as a social–ecological system. We use a shared stability landscape as a common locus for mapping and comparing multiple scenarios representing distinct stakeholder perspectives of pathways towards salmon recovery. We found that the potential of using this approach goes well beyond the specifics of the Columbia River Basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environments: 10 Years of Science Together)
22 pages, 2626 KiB  
Review
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal from Wastewater Using Calcareous Waste Shells—A Systematic Literature Review
by Kien Tat Wai, Aisling D. O’Sullivan and Ricardo Bello-Mendoza
Environments 2024, 11(6), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060119 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 307
Abstract
Nitrogen and phosphorus in freshwaters are a global environmental challenge. Concurrently, the shellfish industry’s calcareous waste shells (CWSs) amount to ~10 million tonnes annually. CWSs can effectively adsorb dissolved pollutants, including nutrients, from water, which has motivated a growing number of experimental studies [...] Read more.
Nitrogen and phosphorus in freshwaters are a global environmental challenge. Concurrently, the shellfish industry’s calcareous waste shells (CWSs) amount to ~10 million tonnes annually. CWSs can effectively adsorb dissolved pollutants, including nutrients, from water, which has motivated a growing number of experimental studies on recycling CWSs in wastewater treatment. This comprehensive literature review summarises and critically assesses the effectiveness of using different CWSs for removing nutrients from water. The effects of CWS type, initial pollutant concentration, adsorbent dosage, particle size, and contact time (CT) are investigated. The results show that phosphorus removal has been examined more than nitrogen. Most studies have been conducted using synthetic wastewater under laboratory conditions only. There is a large variability in experimental conditions, such as CWS adsorbent dosages (0.1–100 g/L) and CT (0.083–360 h). The calcination of CWSs is frequently used to enhance adsorption capacity. The Langmuir isotherm model has been found to fit adsorption data best when raw oyster shells are used, while the Freundlich isotherm is best when the adsorbent is calcinated mussel shells. The pseudo-second-order (PSO) kinetics model tends to describe adsorption data better than the pseudo-first-order (PFO) model in all shell types. There is significant potential for using calcareous waste shells to remove nutrients from wastewater in line with circular economy aspirations. Full article
15 pages, 3182 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Greenhouse Gas Emission Assessments of Solar and Energy Efficiency Improvements at Small Water Resource Recovery Facilities
by Matthew Thompson and Bruce Dvorak
Environments 2024, 11(6), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060118 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 205
Abstract
Small water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) account for the majority of centralized systems in the world and have higher energy intensities than large facilities. This study compares potential greenhouse gas emission reductions based on on-site solar energy and energy efficiency (E2) improvements made [...] Read more.
Small water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) account for the majority of centralized systems in the world and have higher energy intensities than large facilities. This study compares potential greenhouse gas emission reductions based on on-site solar energy and energy efficiency (E2) improvements made at small WRRFs. Case study data from 31 existing small WRRFs in Nebraska were collected and included 35 site-specific energy efficiency (E2) recommendations and on-site solar renewable energy systems integrated at three facilities, and the data were used to compare the benefits of on-site solar energy and E2 improvements made at small WRRFs. Improvements in E2 (e.g., improved aeration control) presented the largest reduction in emissions per dollar invested. They often exhibited shorter paybacks, with operational changes in aeration strategies showing the highest impact (up to 0.2 kg CO2eq/m3 treated water). On-site solar systems showed the largest net potential for reducing environmental footprint (0.35 kg CO2eq/m3) but often showed the smallest emissions reduction per cost. While the use of both E2 improvements and the integration of on-site solar renewable energy can significantly improve the sustainability of small WRRFs, on-site solar has advantages for small facilities in that it often requires less operational involvement, allows for greater facility resiliency, and presents less uncertainty in terms of environmental benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Green Energy Utilization)
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23 pages, 1901 KiB  
Article
Simultaneous Determination of 17 Phenolic Compounds in Surface Water and Wastewater Matrices Using an HPLC-DAD Method
by Iuliana Paun, Luoana Florentina Pascu, Vasile Ion Iancu, Florinela Pirvu, Toma Galaon and Florentina Laura Chiriac
Environments 2024, 11(6), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060117 - 1 Jun 2024
Viewed by 248
Abstract
A high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) analytical method was developed for the simultaneous detection of 17 phenolic compounds, including phenols, chlorophenols, alkylphenols, and nitrophenols, in two types of water matrices: wastewater and surface water. Prior to HPLC-DAD determination, a solid-phase [...] Read more.
A high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) analytical method was developed for the simultaneous detection of 17 phenolic compounds, including phenols, chlorophenols, alkylphenols, and nitrophenols, in two types of water matrices: wastewater and surface water. Prior to HPLC-DAD determination, a solid-phase extraction (SPE) procedure was optimized. The proposed method uses multiwavelength analysis, with the optimum detection wavelengths selected as 268 nm, 280 nm, 386 nm, 304 nm, and 316 nm. The highest resolution was achieved using a chromatographic column, Eclipse XDB-C18 (150 × 4.6 mm, 5 μm), which was kept at 20 °C. The mobile phase consisted of a gradient elution program, with mobile phase A being a 0.1% H3PO4 aqueous solution and mobile phase B being acetonitrile. The flow rate was set at 0.6 mL/min. The 17 target phenolic compounds were fully separated in less than 27 min. All compounds showed good linear regression, with correlation coefficients higher than 0.999. The method’s quantitation limits ranged from 4.38 to 89.7 ng/L for surface water and 7.83 to 167 ng/L for wastewater. The recovery rates were in the range of 86.2–95.1% for surface water and 79.1–86.3% for wastewater. The SPE-HPLC-DAD method was proven to be fast, sensitive, accurate, and reproducible. The developed method was successfully applied for the analysis of the 17 phenolic compounds in real surface water and wastewater samples, with phenol, 2,4-DNP, and 2,4-DNP being determined at levels greater than the method’s limits of quantitation (LOQs). The proposed analytical method represents an original technical resource for the simultaneous determination of 17 phenolic compounds in environmental water matrices. Full article
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11 pages, 618 KiB  
Article
Proposed Detection Limits for Radioactivity Concentrations in Water in the Decommissioning and Dismantling of Nuclear Facilities
by Raquel Idoeta, Susana Petisco-Ferrero, Saroa Rozas, Concepción Olondo and Margarita Herranz
Environments 2024, 11(6), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060116 - 1 Jun 2024
Viewed by 195
Abstract
The Dismantling and Decommissioning (D&D) of nuclear facilities poses several challenges for radioactivity measurement laboratories involved in environmental radiation monitoring plans. One of them is the definition of the detection limits to be achieved for the radionuclides analysis in different samples. The detection [...] Read more.
The Dismantling and Decommissioning (D&D) of nuclear facilities poses several challenges for radioactivity measurement laboratories involved in environmental radiation monitoring plans. One of them is the definition of the detection limits to be achieved for the radionuclides analysis in different samples. The detection limits should be set in such a way that the obtained concentration values for each radionuclide are easily discriminated from certain maximum activity concentration levels. These maximum activity concentration levels are usually set in view of the respective dose contributions from each radionuclide. There are some national legislations that settle detection limits for drinking water. However, there is no regulation containing detection limits for groundwater or surface water. In this way, different institutions or companies require very different detection limits for radioactivity concentration assessment in those types of water associated with D&D activities. In this work, we focus on the detection limits required for the D&D activities in rainwater, surface water and groundwater. We propose detection limits obtained by applying the WHO methodology for maximum activity concentration levels and compare with those requested by radioactive waste management agencies and regulatory bodies. Some real cases where our proposal allows identification of events are analysed and conclusions are extracted. Full article
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29 pages, 1672 KiB  
Article
Seeding Density Alters the Assembly of a Restored Plant Community after the Removal of a Dam in Southern Wisconsin, USA
by Ana J. Wells, John Harrington and Nick J. Balster
Environments 2024, 11(6), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060115 - 29 May 2024
Viewed by 246
Abstract
Recently exposed reservoir sediments, prone to colonization by invasive species, provide novel settings to test hypotheses related to soil conditions and propagule supply as potential drivers of plant assembly in disturbed ecosystems. We used a dam removal site in southwestern Wisconsin to examine [...] Read more.
Recently exposed reservoir sediments, prone to colonization by invasive species, provide novel settings to test hypotheses related to soil conditions and propagule supply as potential drivers of plant assembly in disturbed ecosystems. We used a dam removal site in southwestern Wisconsin to examine the relationship between the physiochemical properties of dewatered sediments, seeding density, and plant community assembly. The plant communities from five seed densities (1000, 500, 250, 125, and 0 seed m2) were annually assessed over four years. We hypothesized (1) that the native aboveground biomass and the proportion of native to invasive (non-seeded species) aboveground biomass would increase with the seeding density and (2) that the diversity of seeded native species would increase with a higher seeding density. We found evidence that sowing at least 500 seeds m2 of prairie species increased their abundance, establishment, and plot diversity compared to non-seeded plants that persisted four years after seeding (p < 0.05). The seeding density treatments led to the assembly of two distinct communities: “native” and “invasive”. The “native” community, assembled in plots seeded with at least 500 seeds m2, had a greater aboveground biomass and diversity (i.e., richness) of seeded plants compared to plots with lower seed densities, and its productivity was positively related to this richness. In the “weedy” community, the diversity of invasive species had no relationship to their aboveground biomass, likely because these species share similar traits (i.e., redundancy) and may have performed similar functions within the plant community. These findings suggest that the seeding density interacted with the disturbed soil resources to increase the diversity and productivity of seeded native species and may serve as a positive feedback mechanism for the establishment of native communities in dewatered sediments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environments: 10 Years of Science Together)
17 pages, 6919 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Immobilised and Slurry Photocatalytic Systems for Removal of Natural Organic Matter in Water
by Dan C. A. Gowland, Neil Robertson and Efthalia Chatzisymeon
Environments 2024, 11(6), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060114 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 374
Abstract
This study investigates the environmental impacts caused by the scaling up of the photocatalytic purification of drinking water using ultraviolet light-emitting diode technology. The life cycle assessment methodology was utilised to estimate the environmental impacts of two different reactor setups commonly used in [...] Read more.
This study investigates the environmental impacts caused by the scaling up of the photocatalytic purification of drinking water using ultraviolet light-emitting diode technology. The life cycle assessment methodology was utilised to estimate the environmental impacts of two different reactor setups commonly used in lab-scale studies: an immobilised and a suspended TiO2 catalytic system. The functional unit adopted was the treatment of 1 L of water with an initial 7.8 mg/L concentration of natural organic matter, achieving a final 1 mg/L concentration. The use of a suspended photocatalyst was found to have an environmental footprint that was 87% lower than that of the immobilised one. From the sensitivity analysis, the environmental hotspots of the treatment process were the electricity usage and immobilised catalyst production. Therefore, alternative scenarios investigating the use of a renewable electricity mix and recyclable materials were explored to enhance the environmental performance of the photocatalytic treatment process. Using a renewable electricity mix, a decrease of 55% and 15% for the suspended and immobilised catalyst, respectively, was observed. Additionally, the process of recycling the glass used to support the immobilised catalyst achieved a maximum reduction of 22% in the environmental impact from the original scenario, with 100 glass reuses appearing to provide diminishing returns on the environmental impact savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalytic Applications in Wastewater Treatment)
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16 pages, 1085 KiB  
Article
The Spatial Distribution of Copepod Functional Traits in a Highly Anthropized Mediterranean Coastal Marine Region
by Daniele Bellardini, Jessica Vannini, Luca Russo, Angela Buondonno, Maria Saggiomo, Paolo Vassallo, Maria Grazia Mazzocchi, Domenico D’Alelio and Priscilla Licandro
Environments 2024, 11(6), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060113 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 342
Abstract
Copepods dominate marine zooplankton in abundance and play key roles in pelagic food webs. These small crustaceans show high taxonomic and functional diversity. Although there has been considerable research on their taxonomy, only a few studies have focused on their functional traits. In [...] Read more.
Copepods dominate marine zooplankton in abundance and play key roles in pelagic food webs. These small crustaceans show high taxonomic and functional diversity. Although there has been considerable research on their taxonomy, only a few studies have focused on their functional traits. In this study, we analyzed the functional traits of 95 copepod species, considering their body size, trophic regime, feeding behavior, and spawning strategy. Based on samples collected during two surveys (autumn 2020 and summer 2021) located in the coastal waters of three gulfs (Gaeta, Naples, and Salerno) in the highly populated Campania region (the central Tyrrhenian Sea, NW Mediterranean), we identified nine functional groups of copepods with different characteristics. The group that comprised herbivorous copepods with feeding currents and a broadcast strategy was the most abundant in both seasons and all gulfs. This group was dominated by Acartia clausi, Centropages typicus, Temora stylifera, and the Paracalanus parvus complex. The other functional groups showed differences in their temporal and spatial distribution. Our study reports the functional diversity of copepods along the Campania coast, thus contributing to advancing our knowledge of the planktonic trophic structure in a region of considerable importance due to its marine resources and services. Full article
17 pages, 13027 KiB  
Article
Detection of Microplastic Contamination in Commercial Insect Meals
by Simona Rimoldi, Jessica Ponti, Andrea Valsesia, Giulio Saroglia, Rita La Spina, Francesco Fumagalli and Genciana Terova
Environments 2024, 11(6), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060112 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Background: Escalating global plastic production, expected to reach 34,000 million tons by 2050, poses a significant threat to human and environmental well-being, particularly in aquatic ecosystems. Microplastics (MP) and nanoplastics (NP), which originate from the degradation of plastics, are of concern due to [...] Read more.
Background: Escalating global plastic production, expected to reach 34,000 million tons by 2050, poses a significant threat to human and environmental well-being, particularly in aquatic ecosystems. Microplastics (MP) and nanoplastics (NP), which originate from the degradation of plastics, are of concern due to their potential bioaccumulation and uptake of pollutants. This study addresses identification methods and focuses on insect meal, a raw material for aquaculture feed. Methods: By using different techniques, the study was able to detect MP and NP in insect meal samples. Chemical digestion with KOH at 60 °C efficiently removed organic matter without affecting the synthetic polymer polyethylene (PE). Filtration, confocal Raman microscopy, SEM, and TEM were used for comprehensive analysis, and integrity tests on PE films were performed using Raman and FTIR spectroscopy. The results showed the presence of PE microplastic particles in the insect meal, which was confirmed by correlative Raman and SEM mapping on a positively charged surface. In addition, the increased resolution of the Raman microscope identified submicrometric PE NP (800 nm). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) confirmed plastic-like structures in the insect meal, highlighting the presence of PE plastics characterized by irregular shapes and some agglomeration. The higher carbon concentration in the EDX analysis supported the plastic nature, which was also confirmed by Raman spectroscopy. Conclusions: The study provides a robust method for the detection of MP and NP in insect meal and provides valuable insight into the possible presence of plastics in insect-based aquafeeds. The combination of different analytical methods increases the reliability of the results and sets the stage for future investigations that could focus on the quantification of NP and the assessment of their potential environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastics Pollution in Aquatic Environments)
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34 pages, 1448 KiB  
Review
Reappraising Natures and Perspectives of Wasteland in the Developing World with a Focus on India
by Surajit Kar, Trude Sundberg, Lakshminarayan Satpati and Subham Mukherjee
Environments 2024, 11(6), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060111 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 343
Abstract
This article seeks to provide an improved and more comprehensive understanding of the concept and theories on wasteland. It achieves this by focusing on the Indian context, allowing us to unpack the importance of including multiple perspectives of wasteland narratives; this means including [...] Read more.
This article seeks to provide an improved and more comprehensive understanding of the concept and theories on wasteland. It achieves this by focusing on the Indian context, allowing us to unpack the importance of including multiple perspectives of wasteland narratives; this means including more positive narratives of the potential of wasteland to inform and improve prospects for land policies in the Global South. Wasteland is commonly recognized as an underutilized category of land that may transform into a valuable resource base with proper management measures. The term waste has multiple angles that carry different notions ranging from fallow to agroforestry land in the Global South and brownfield to green space in the Global North. We conduct a narrative review approach to qualitatively analyze the concept of wastelands, which has been studied in the pre-existing literature from 1970 to the present. This unsystematic literature review approach incorporates multiple elements of wasteland discourse, like understanding the meaning of the term on a global scale, setting out the meaning of the term waste into multiple perspectives explicitly in the Indian context, along with different classes and management approaches to wasteland from a national perspective. The multiple perspectives of wasteland not only generate misconceptions of land resources but spawn difficulties in land-use policy, particularly for the Indian scenario. For sustainable land-use policy, reclaiming wasteland would be the best possible way for India and other countries in the Global South, which requires a comprehensive methodological overview on wasteland narrative. Full article
87 pages, 41602 KiB  
Review
The Cultural Ecohydrogeology of Mediterranean-Climate Springs: A Global Review with Case Studies
by Roger Pascual, Lucia Piana, Sami Ullah Bhat, Pedro Fidel Castro, Jordi Corbera, Dion Cummings, Cristina Delgado, Eugene Eades, Roderick J. Fensham, Marcos Fernández-Martínez, Verónica Ferreira, Maria Filippini, Guillermo García, Alessandro Gargini, Stephen D. Hopper, Lynette Knapp, Ian D. Lewis, Josep Peñuelas, Catherine Preece, Vincent H. Resh, Estela Romero, Boudjéma Samraoui, Farrah Samraoui, Stefano Segadelli, Nikolaos Th. Skoulikidis, Cüneyt N. Solak, Jaume Solé, Karen G. Villholth, Huma Khurshid Wani, Marco Cantonati and Lawrence E. Stevensadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Environments 2024, 11(6), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060110 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 735
Abstract
Cultures in Mediterranean climate zones (MCZs) around the world have long been reliant on groundwater and springs as freshwater sources. While their ecology and cultural sustainability are recognized as critically important, inter-relationships between springs and culture in MCZs have received less attention. Here [...] Read more.
Cultures in Mediterranean climate zones (MCZs) around the world have long been reliant on groundwater and springs as freshwater sources. While their ecology and cultural sustainability are recognized as critically important, inter-relationships between springs and culture in MCZs have received less attention. Here we augmented a global literature review with case studies in MCZ cultural landscapes to examine the diversity and intensity of cultural and socio-economic relationships on spring ecohydrogeology. MCZs are often oriented on western and southern coasts in tectonically active landscapes which control aquifer structure, the prevalence of westerly winds, and aridity, and generally expose associated habitats and cultures to harsh afternoon sunlight. Cultural appreciation and appropriation of springs ranges widely, from their use as subsistence water supplies to their roles in profound traditions such as Greco-Roman nymphalea as well as Asian and Abrahamic spiritual cleansing and baptism. The abandonment of traditional ways of life, such as rural livestock production, for urban ones has shifted impacts on aquifers from local to regional groundwater exploitation. The commoditization of water resources for regional agricultural, industrial (e.g., mining, water bottling, geothermal resorts), and urban uses is placing ever-increasing unsustainable demands on aquifers and spring ecosystems. When the regional economic value of springs approaches or exceeds local cultural values, these irreplaceable aquatic ecosystems are often degraded, over-looked, and lost. Sustainable stewardship of springs and the aquifers that support them is a poorly recognized but central conservation challenge for modern Mediterranean societies as they face impending impacts of global climate change. Solutions to this crisis require education, societal dialogue, and improved policy and implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrological Modeling and Sustainable Water Resources Management)
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12 pages, 1548 KiB  
Article
The Potential Impact of Long-Term Copper Fungicide Sprays on Soil Health in Avocado Orchards
by Dumsane Themba Matse, Thangavelautham Geretharan, Eileen F. van Gorp, Sean Anderson, Paramsothy Jeyakumar and Christopher W. N. Anderson
Environments 2024, 11(6), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060109 - 25 May 2024
Viewed by 388
Abstract
The long-term use of copper (Cu)-based fungicide sprays in orchards is associated with changes in soil Cu levels. However, there is a gap in knowledge regarding the potential accumulation of Cu in orchards and the associated impacts on the soil microbial structure. This [...] Read more.
The long-term use of copper (Cu)-based fungicide sprays in orchards is associated with changes in soil Cu levels. However, there is a gap in knowledge regarding the potential accumulation of Cu in orchards and the associated impacts on the soil microbial structure. This study assessed the possibility of Cu accumulation in different avocado orchard farms and further evaluated the potential effect on soil microbial activities. Soil Cu levels were quantified in Tauranga and Northland, and three avocado orchards were analysed in each experimental location. All avocado farms in both sites received Cu-based fungicide sprays for over eight years. Soil samples were collected at a 0–20 cm depth from all six orchards. The soil total and bioavailable Cu, changes in soil chemical properties, microbial biomass, dehydrogenase activity, alkaline phosphatase activity, and acid phosphatase activity were measured. The results revealed that the total Cu and bioavailable Cu concentrations in Tauranga orchards were 81.3 and 0.32, 196.7 and 0.82, and 33.6 and 0.31 mg Cu kg−1 in Farms 1, 2, and 3, respectively. In Northland orchards, the total Cu and bioavailable Cu were 54.5 and 0.06, 18.4 and 0.77, and 46 and 0.34 mg Cu kg−1 in Farm 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Five out of six of the avocado orchard farms assessed in this study had total Cu concentrations greater than 30 mg Cu kg−1 reported in New Zealand native land. The magnitude of Cu accumulation was linked with soil pH and C content. No clear trend was observed between soil Cu concentrations and the soil microbial activity. Our study results demonstrated that the long-term use of Cu-based fungicide sprays can elevate Cu concentrations in orchard soils. Mitigation strategies need to be explored to abate the accumulation of Cu in orchard soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights in Soil Quality and Management)
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24 pages, 1545 KiB  
Review
Critical Review of Life Cycle Assessment of Hydrogen Production Pathways
by Manfredi Picciotto Maniscalco, Sonia Longo, Maurizio Cellura, Gabriele Miccichè and Marco Ferraro
Environments 2024, 11(6), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060108 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 809
Abstract
In light of growing concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change, the global situation demands immediate action to transition towards sustainable energy solutions. In this sense, hydrogen could play a fundamental role in the energy transition, offering [...] Read more.
In light of growing concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change, the global situation demands immediate action to transition towards sustainable energy solutions. In this sense, hydrogen could play a fundamental role in the energy transition, offering a potential clean and versatile energy carrier. This paper reviews the recent results of Life Cycle Assessment studies of different hydrogen production pathways, which are trying to define the routes that can guarantee the least environmental burdens. Steam methane reforming was considered as the benchmark for Global Warming Potential, with an average emission of 11 kgCO2eq/kgH2. Hydrogen produced from water electrolysis powered by renewable energy (green H2) or nuclear energy (pink H2) showed the average lowest impacts, with mean values of 2.02 kgCO2eq/kgH2 and 0.41 kgCO2eq/kgH2, respectively. The use of grid electricity to power the electrolyzer (yellow H2) raised the mean carbon footprint up to 17.2 kgCO2eq/kgH2, with a peak of 41.4 kgCO2eq/kgH2 in the case of countries with low renewable energy production. Waste pyrolysis and/or gasification presented average emissions three times higher than steam methane reforming, while the recourse to residual biomass and biowaste significantly lowered greenhouse gas emissions. The acidification potential presents comparable results for all the technologies studied, except for biomass gasification which showed significantly higher and more scattered values. Regarding the abiotic depletion potential (mineral), the main issue is the lack of an established recycling strategy, especially for electrolysis technologies that hamper the inclusion of the End of Life stage in LCA computation. Whenever data were available, hotspots for each hydrogen production process were identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Balancing Energy and Environment: A Life Cycle Assessment Perspective)
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14 pages, 3033 KiB  
Article
An Evaluation of the Influence of Meteorological Factors and a Pollutant Emission Inventory on PM2.5 Prediction in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Region Based on a Deep Learning Method
by Xiaofei Shi, Bo Li, Xiaoxiao Gao, Stephen Dauda Yabo, Kun Wang, Hong Qi, Jie Ding, Donglei Fu and Wei Zhang
Environments 2024, 11(6), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060107 - 23 May 2024
Viewed by 361
Abstract
In this study, a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) network approach is employed to evaluate the prediction performance of PM2.5 in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region (BTH). The proposed method is evaluated using the hourly air quality datasets from the China National Environmental Monitoring Center, [...] Read more.
In this study, a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) network approach is employed to evaluate the prediction performance of PM2.5 in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region (BTH). The proposed method is evaluated using the hourly air quality datasets from the China National Environmental Monitoring Center, European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasts ERA5 (ECMWF-ERA5), and Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China (MEIC) for the years 2016 and 2017. The predicted PM2.5 concentrations demonstrate a strong correlation with the observed values (R2 = 0.871–0.940) in the air quality dataset. Furthermore, the model exhibited the best performance in situations of heavy pollution (PM2.5 > 150 μg/m3) and during the winter season, with respective R2 values of 0.689 and 0.915. In addition, the influence of ECMWF-ERA5’s hourly meteorological factors was assessed, and the results revealed regional heterogeneity on a large scale. Further evaluation was conducted by analyzing the chemical components of the MEIC inventory on the prediction performance. We concluded that the same temporal profile may not be suitable for addressing emission inventories in a large area with a deep learning method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Urban Air Pollution)
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17 pages, 1742 KiB  
Review
Are Low Emission Zones Truly Embraced by the Public?
by Ana Claudia Andriolli and Lígia Torres Silva
Environments 2024, 11(6), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060106 - 23 May 2024
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Rapid urbanization and car-centric mobility solutions have resulted in the degradation of environmental urban quality, impacting people’s health and well-being and city economies and harming urban ecosystems. Faced with the need to tackle traffic pollution, more than 300 low emission zones (LEZs) have [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization and car-centric mobility solutions have resulted in the degradation of environmental urban quality, impacting people’s health and well-being and city economies and harming urban ecosystems. Faced with the need to tackle traffic pollution, more than 300 low emission zones (LEZs) have been implemented, causing some social controversy. Nonetheless, researchers have focused their studies on evaluating LEZ efficacy towards urban congestion and air pollutants reduction, health and well-being improvement. This study presents a literature review of what is known about acceptability and acceptance of the population regarding the implementation of LEZs, along with the main issues, best practices, and suggestions to promote a better perception and mobility behavior change. Based on research conducted in the Web of Science and Scopus databases, only 36 of 540 peer-reviewed articles on LEZs address public attitudes. Among the main findings, the following stand out: the existing gap in environmental urban quality approaches between countries, namely the Global North; the existence of few studies that evaluate perceptions before and after LEZ implementation; the lack of LEZ studies that consider noise and biodiversity, seeking a broader approach to this measure; and the importance of developing a support package measures that involves affected stakeholders and are adapted to each city’s characteristics. Full article
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18 pages, 3779 KiB  
Article
Can Lagoons Serve as a Quaternary Treatment for Micropollutants in Wastewater Treatment Plants? Recent Implications for Compliance with the New Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive
by Lissette Díaz-Gamboa, Sofía Martínez-López, Luis Miguel Ayuso-García, Agustín Lahora and Isabel Martínez-Alcalá
Environments 2024, 11(6), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060105 - 22 May 2024
Viewed by 684
Abstract
This study explores the potential of storage lagoons as a quaternary treatment step in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), focusing on compliance with the recent European Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD), which mandates an 80% reduction in specific micropollutants. While conventional treatments effectively remove [...] Read more.
This study explores the potential of storage lagoons as a quaternary treatment step in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), focusing on compliance with the recent European Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD), which mandates an 80% reduction in specific micropollutants. While conventional treatments effectively remove residual nutrients and solids, the potential of storage lagoons as an additional treatment is not fully defined. This research aims to address this gap by assessing the efficacy of storage lagoons in refining the effluent quality at the Cabezo Beaza WWTP, considering recent UWWTD requirements. We conduct a comprehensive assessment of the water quality parameters and micropollutants, before and after the storage lagoon stage, at the Cabezo Beaza WWTP. The results indicate that this strategy of prolonged storage in lagoons manages to meet the reduction objectives established by the Directive, reaching elimination percentages greater than 80% for the majority of the analyzed micropollutants. Our findings suggest that lagoons significantly improve water quality and reduce contaminants beyond conventional treatments, offering environmental and economic benefits. This paper discusses the mechanisms behind these improvements, such as natural sedimentation, microbial activity, and potential phytoremediation. This study contributes to the research on advanced wastewater treatment and supports the integration of storage lagoons as a viable quaternary treatment solution that meets the UWWTD standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research on Micropollutants in Water)
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46 pages, 6949 KiB  
Review
Fin Whale Balaenoptera physalus Historical Sightings and Strandings, Ship Strikes, Breeding Areas and Other Threats in the Mediterranean Sea: A Review (1624–2023)
by Rocío Espada, Adrián Camacho-Sánchez, Liliana Olaya-Ponzone, Estefanía Martín-Moreno, Daniel Patón and José Carlos García-Gómez
Environments 2024, 11(6), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11060104 - 21 May 2024
Viewed by 673
Abstract
A review of the last 399 years (1624–2023) on fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Mediterranean Sea was conducted, based on an extensive compilation of records published in the scientific literature, technical reports, public databases, journals, and social media. A total [...] Read more.
A review of the last 399 years (1624–2023) on fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Mediterranean Sea was conducted, based on an extensive compilation of records published in the scientific literature, technical reports, public databases, journals, and social media. A total of 10,716 sightings and 575 mortality events have been computed, analysed by semesters and mapped in order to compare the summer–winter seasons especially and their implications on migration–residence. Visual and acoustic detections, feedings, migrations, primary production areas (chlorophyll), threats and causes of death and their relations have been addressed, and a mini-review on heavy metals and pollutants has been carried out on fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Mortality events were most frequent between November and April, coinciding with the decreased sighting period. Ship strikes posed the greatest threat, peaking between May and October, when marine traffic tends to increase in the Mediterranean Sea. Two populations coexist in the Mediterranean Sea, one resident and the other migratory, the latter using the Strait of Gibraltar for its biannual movements. Two areas with a presence of calves (up to 7 m in length) between October and February were detected: one scattered in the northern Mediterranean and the Strait of Gibraltar and its surroundings. A critical zone for collisions has been established according to the results for fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environments: 10 Years of Science Together)
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