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Environments, Volume 11, Issue 7 (July 2024) – 26 articles

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22 pages, 944 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Air Pollution from Industrial Fires in Urban Settings: Monitoring, Modelling, Health, and Environmental Justice Perspectives
by Michael E. Deary and Simon D. Griffiths
Environments 2024, 11(7), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070157 (registering DOI) - 21 Jul 2024
Abstract
Industrial fires at facilities including waste management sites, warehouses, factories, chemical works, and fuel storage depots are relatively frequent occurrences. Often, these fires occur adjacent to urban communities and result in ground-level airborne pollutant concentrations that are well above guideline values. Land, water, [...] Read more.
Industrial fires at facilities including waste management sites, warehouses, factories, chemical works, and fuel storage depots are relatively frequent occurrences. Often, these fires occur adjacent to urban communities and result in ground-level airborne pollutant concentrations that are well above guideline values. Land, water, livestock, and crops may also be contaminated by the emissions and by firefighting activities. Moreover, impacted communities tend to have a higher proportion of minority ethnic populations as well as individuals with underlying health vulnerabilities and those of lower socio-economic status. Nevertheless, this is an aspect of air quality that is under-researched, and so this review aims to highlight the public health hazards associated with industrial fires and the need for an effective, coordinated, public health response. We also review the range of monitoring techniques that have been utilised in such fires and highlight the role of dispersion modelling in predicting plume trajectories and in estimating population exposure. We recommend establishing 1 h guideline values for particulate matter to facilitate timely public health interventions, and we highlight the need to review regulatory and technical controls for sites prone to fires, particularly in the waste sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution in Urban and Industrial Areas II)
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14 pages, 1457 KiB  
Article
Innovative Photocatalytic Reactor for Sustainable Industrial Water Decontamination: Utilizing 3D-Printed Components and Silica-Titania Trilayer Coatings
by George V. Theodorakopoulos, Michalis K. Arfanis, Tadej Stepišnik Perdih, Simos Malamis, Dimitrios Iatrou, George Em. Romanos and Polycarpos Falaras
Environments 2024, 11(7), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070156 (registering DOI) - 20 Jul 2024
Viewed by 111
Abstract
Industrial activities generate enormous quantities of polluted effluents, necessitating advanced methods of wastewater treatment to prevent potential environmental threats. Thus, the design of a novel photocatalytic reactor for industrial water decontamination, purification, and reuse is proposed as an efficient advanced oxidation technology. In [...] Read more.
Industrial activities generate enormous quantities of polluted effluents, necessitating advanced methods of wastewater treatment to prevent potential environmental threats. Thus, the design of a novel photocatalytic reactor for industrial water decontamination, purification, and reuse is proposed as an efficient advanced oxidation technology. In this work, the development of the active reactor components is described, utilizing a two-step sol–gel technique to prepare a silica-titania trilayer coating on 3D-printed polymeric filters. The initial dip-coated SiO2 insulator further protects and enhances the stability of the polymer matrix, and the subsequent TiO2 layers endow the composite architecture with photocatalytic functionality. The structural and morphological characteristics of the modified photocatalytic filters are extensively investigated, and their performance is assessed by studying the photocatalytic degradation of the Triton X-100, a common and standard chemical surfactant, presented in the contaminated wastewater of the steel metal industry. The promising outcomes of the innovative versatile reactor pave the way for developing scalable, cost-effective reactors for efficient water treatment technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalytic Applications in Wastewater Treatment)
13 pages, 3433 KiB  
Article
Heated Aeration for Nitrite-Oxidizing Bacteria (NOB) Control in Anammox-Integrated Membrane-Aerated Biofilm Reactors (MABR)
by Natalia Shiu, Hui Guo and Younggy Kim
Environments 2024, 11(7), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070155 - 19 Jul 2024
Viewed by 191
Abstract
Nutrient removal in conventional wastewater treatment systems is expensive due to the high aeration costs. An alternative method for effective and sustainable nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment is anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Anammox) implemented with other innovative technologies, such as membrane-aerated biofilm reactors (MABRs). [...] Read more.
Nutrient removal in conventional wastewater treatment systems is expensive due to the high aeration costs. An alternative method for effective and sustainable nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment is anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Anammox) implemented with other innovative technologies, such as membrane-aerated biofilm reactors (MABRs). A major challenge associated with the Anammox process is effective control of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). High temperature operation in wastewater treatment systems can promote Anammox bacterial growth and inhibit NOB activity. This research aims to investigate the feasibility of integrating Anammox processes with a lab-scale MABR and to examine the effects of high temperature aeration supplied to MABR systems on Anammox bacterial growth and NOB suppression. Experimental results indicate that the membrane’s air permeability was a critical parameter for the successful operation of Anammox-integrated MABR systems due to its influence on the system’s dissolved oxygen concentration (0.41 ± 0.39 mg O2/L). The ammonia removal by AOB and Anammox bacteria was determined to be 7.53 mg N/L·d (76.5%) and 2.12 mg N/L·d (23.5%), respectively. High temperature aeration in MABRs with the Anammox process shows a promising potential for improving energy consumption and sustainable nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment systems. Full article
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14 pages, 708 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Vinegar Bottles’ Environmental Footprint Using the Life Cycle Approach: A Preliminary Analysis
by Maria D. Karvounidi, Alexandra P. Alexandropoulou, Andreas E. Fousteris and Dimitrios A. Georgakellos
Environments 2024, 11(7), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070154 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 219
Abstract
This paper provides a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) comparing glass and PET vinegar bottles in the Greek market to determine the more eco-friendly option. The analysis covers a 500 mL glass bottle and a 390 mL PET bottle, examining eleven subsystems from [...] Read more.
This paper provides a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) comparing glass and PET vinegar bottles in the Greek market to determine the more eco-friendly option. The analysis covers a 500 mL glass bottle and a 390 mL PET bottle, examining eleven subsystems from raw material acquisition to recycling. The initial findings indicate that glass bottles require more resources and have a greater environmental impact than PET bottles across several factors, despite the traditional perception of glass as being environmentally superior. This difference is partly due to the heavier weight of glass bottles than PET bottles. The results highlight the complexity of LCA studies. While LCA methodology has limitations, such as data collection quality, system boundary definitions, assessment challenges, and costs, it provides valuable indicators. This study underscores the need for more extensive data collection and systematic LCA application. By integrating LCA methodology through pilot projects and developing internal expertise, companies can make more accurate assessments, leading to sustainable industrial practices and growth. Full article
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18 pages, 2209 KiB  
Article
A Resource-Bound Critical Analysis of the Decarbonisation Roadmaps for the UK Foundation Industries by 2050
by Hisham Hafez, Michal P. Drewniok, Anne P. M. Velenturf and Phil Purnell
Environments 2024, 11(7), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070153 - 18 Jul 2024
Viewed by 286
Abstract
The foundation industries in the UK were responsible for emitting 42 Mt CO2eq in 2020, which is approximately 10% of the yearly territorial greenhouse gas emissions. The UK government decarbonisation roadmap issued in 2015 predicted that high-tech strategies such as carbon capture [...] Read more.
The foundation industries in the UK were responsible for emitting 42 Mt CO2eq in 2020, which is approximately 10% of the yearly territorial greenhouse gas emissions. The UK government decarbonisation roadmap issued in 2015 predicted that high-tech strategies such as carbon capture and utilisation, hydrogen and biofuels, as well as electrification of processes are key for achieving the climate mitigating targets by 2050. In this study, a critical assessment was performed on the limitations to achieve these high-tech strategies such as biomass availability, capital investment, and technology readiness. The study is the first to use the UK carbon budget values as the resource limit for the high-tech decarbonisation strategies. The findings show that the significant uncertainty associated with the high-tech scenarios limits their decarbonisation potential by 2050. More importantly, to stay within the mid-century carbon budget for the foundation industries, 20–40% reduction in production, through circular economic strategies such as material efficiency and/or changes in product specifications, is required in order to achieve the decarbonisation targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Green Energy Utilization)
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20 pages, 4092 KiB  
Article
Seasonal and Interannual Variability of the Trophic State in the Marano and Grado Lagoon (Adriatic Sea, Italy) during the 2011–2021 Period
by Alessandro Acquavita, Nicola Bettoso, Oriana Blasutto, Federico Pittaluga and Claudia Orlandi
Environments 2024, 11(7), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070152 - 16 Jul 2024
Viewed by 241
Abstract
The Marano and Grado Lagoon (Adriatic Sea, Italy) is an important transitional environment that furnishes numerous ecosystem services and is under protection as Site of Community Importance. It suffers from an excess of nutrients, especially nitrate (NO3), and has been [...] Read more.
The Marano and Grado Lagoon (Adriatic Sea, Italy) is an important transitional environment that furnishes numerous ecosystem services and is under protection as Site of Community Importance. It suffers from an excess of nutrients, especially nitrate (NO3), and has been designated as a nitrate vulnerable zone. In this work, sixteen water bodies were seasonally monitored for physicochemical parameters and nutrients, to elucidate the trophic state of the lagoon and to check the occurrence of significant temporal trends in a time series from 2011 to 2021. Steep gradients of spatial and seasonal distribution were observed for all parameters with elevated concentration of N-NO3 (up to 360 µM) in the western sector. The whole lagoon was in phosphorous limitation (P-PO43− mean ± s.d. = 0.15 ± 0.22 µM) with a mean Redfield ratio of 1130. The concentration of nutrients was significantly correlated with the degree of both freshwater inputs and precipitation. The calculation of trophic indices shows that the lagoon is in an oligotrophic to hypertrophic condition (i.e., TRIX 1.9–6.8). The analysis of the temporal series showed that despite some significant trends, the time span considered is too short to detect significant changes in the trophic state of this dynamic environment. Full article
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18 pages, 3885 KiB  
Article
Factors Influencing Endangered Marine Species in the Mediterranean Sea: An Analysis Based on IUCN Red List Criteria Using Statistical and Soft Computing Methodologies
by Dimitris Klaoudatos, Teodora Karagyaurova, Theodoros G. I. Pitropakis, Aikaterini Mari, Dimitris R. Patas, Maria Vidiadaki and Konstantinos Kokkinos
Environments 2024, 11(7), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070151 - 16 Jul 2024
Viewed by 455
Abstract
The Mediterranean Sea is the second largest biodiversity hotspot on earth, with over 700 identified fish species is facing numerous threats. Of more than 6000 taxa assessed for the IUCN Red List, a minimum of 20% are threatened with extinction. A total of [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Sea is the second largest biodiversity hotspot on earth, with over 700 identified fish species is facing numerous threats. Of more than 6000 taxa assessed for the IUCN Red List, a minimum of 20% are threatened with extinction. A total of eight key factors that affect vulnerability of marine fish species in the Mediterranean Sea were identified using the scientific literature and expert-reviewed validated databases. A database of 157 teleost fish species with threat status ranging from least concern to critically endangered was compiled. Nominal logistic curves identified the factor thresholds on species vulnerability, namely, age at maturity, longevity, and asymptotic length at 8.45 years, 36 years, and 221 cm, respectively. A second-degree stepwise regression model identified four significant factors affecting the threat category of Mediterranean fish species, namely, overfishing, by-catch, pollution, and age at maturity according to their significance. Predictive analysis using supervised machine learning algorithms was further employed to predict the vulnerability of Mediterranean marine fish species, resulting in the development of a framework with classification accuracy of 87.3% and 86.6% for Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Gradient Boosting machine learning algorithms, respectively, with the ability to assess the degree of variability using limited information. Full article
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16 pages, 4827 KiB  
Article
Influence of Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) Temperature on Hydrochar and Process Liquid for Poultry, Swine, and Dairy Manure
by Bilash Devnath, Sami Khanal, Ajay Shah and Toufiq Reza
Environments 2024, 11(7), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070150 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 624
Abstract
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising technology for wet manure treatment by converting animal manure into valuable fuels, materials, and chemicals. Among other HTC process parameters, the temperature influences HTC products the most. As various animal manures have different compositions, it is not [...] Read more.
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising technology for wet manure treatment by converting animal manure into valuable fuels, materials, and chemicals. Among other HTC process parameters, the temperature influences HTC products the most. As various animal manures have different compositions, it is not certain how the HTC temperature influences the hydrochar and HTC process liquid. To evaluate the temperature’s effect on HTC, three different manures (poultry, swine, and dairy) were hydrothermally carbonized at three different temperatures (180, 220, and 260 °C), and solid and liquid products were characterized for their morphology, elemental compositions, and ions. The carbon contents of the hydrochar reached as high as 38.98 ± 0.36% and 40.05 ± 0.57% for poultry and swine manure, respectively, when these manures were treated at 260 °C. Ammonium showed an around 30% increase in poultry manure hydrochar with the increase in the HTC temperature. In contrast, in swine manure, it decreased by around 80%, and in dairy manure, the HTC temperature did not have any remarkable effect on the ammonium content. The process liquids from HTC of dairy manure at 220 °C showed the most balanced distribution of different ions, with 4970 ± 673 ppm of sodium, 4354 ± 437 ppm of ammonium, 2766 ± 417 ppm of potassium, 978 ± 82 ppm of magnesium, 953 ± 143 ppm of calcium, 3607 ± 16 ppm of chloride, and 39 ± 7 ppm of phosphate. These results emphasize the manure-specific effects of the HTC temperature on both solid and liquid products, indicating the need for optimized strategies to enhance HTC processes for various types of animal manures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermochemical Treatments of Biomass)
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24 pages, 4558 KiB  
Review
Air-Polluting Emissions from Pyrolysis Plants: A Systematic Mapping
by Alberto Pivato, Hamad Gohar, Diogenes L. Antille, Andrea Schievano, Giovanni Beggio, Philipp Reichardt, Francesco Di Maria, Wei Peng, Stefano Castegnaro and Maria Cristina Lavagnolo
Environments 2024, 11(7), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070149 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 379
Abstract
There is a growing interest in the use of pyrolysis plants for the conversion of solid waste into useful products (e.g., oil, gas, and char) and the analysis of air-polluting emissions associated with such a process is an emerging research field. This study [...] Read more.
There is a growing interest in the use of pyrolysis plants for the conversion of solid waste into useful products (e.g., oil, gas, and char) and the analysis of air-polluting emissions associated with such a process is an emerging research field. This study applied a systematic mapping approach to collating, describing, and cataloging available evidence related to the type and level of air pollutants emitted from pyrolysis plants, the factors affecting emissions, and available mitigation strategies that can be adopted to reduce air pollution. The scientific literature indexed in Scopus and Google Scholar, as well as available industry reports, was interrogated to document the evidence. A database comprising 63 studies was synthesized and cataloged from which 25 air pollutants from pyrolysis plants were considered, including volatile organic compounds and persistent organic pollutants. Air pollutant levels varied depending on the scale of the pyrolysis plants, their operating conditions, and the feedstock used. Various technologies, such as wet scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators, and baghouse filters, are available and have been utilized to reduce emissions and comply with the existing EU regulations for waste incineration (2010/75/EU). The systematic mapping identified several knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to inform relevant environmental policymaking, technology development, and the adoption of best practices for the mitigation of emissions from pyrolysis plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermochemical Treatments of Biomass)
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26 pages, 2828 KiB  
Article
Svalbard Fjord Sediments as a Hotspot of Functional Diversity and a Reservoir of Antibiotic Resistance
by Gabriella Caruso, Alessandro Ciro Rappazzo, Giovanna Maimone, Giuseppe Zappalà, Alessandro Cosenza, Marta Szubska and Agata Zaborska
Environments 2024, 11(7), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070148 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 488
Abstract
The sea bottom acts as a key natural archive where the memory of long-term timescale environmental changes is recorded. This study discusses some ecological and chemical features of fjord sediments that were explored during the AREX cruise carried out in the Svalbard archipelago [...] Read more.
The sea bottom acts as a key natural archive where the memory of long-term timescale environmental changes is recorded. This study discusses some ecological and chemical features of fjord sediments that were explored during the AREX cruise carried out in the Svalbard archipelago in the summer of 2021. The activity rates of the enzymes leucine aminopeptidase (LAP), beta-glucosidase (GLU), and alkaline phosphatase (AP) and community-level physiological profiles (CLPPs) were studied with the aim of determining the functional diversity of the benthic microbial community, while bacterial isolates were screened for their susceptibility to antibiotics in order to explore the role of these extreme environments as potential reservoirs of antibiotic resistance. Enzyme activity rates were obtained using fluorogenic substrates, and CLPPs were obtained using Biolog Ecoplates; antibiotic susceptibility assays were performed through the standard disk diffusion method. Spatial trends observed in the functional profiles of the microbial community suggested variability in the microbial community’s composition, presumably related to the patchy distribution of organic substrates. Complex carbon sources, carbohydrates, and amino acids were the organic polymers preferentially metabolized by the microbial community. Multi-resistance to enrofloxacin and tetracycline was detected in all of the examined samples, stressing the role of sediments as a potential reservoir of chemical wastes ascribable to antibiotic residuals. This study provides new insights on the health status of fjord sediments of West Spitsbergen, applying a dual ecological and biochemical approach. Microbial communities in the fjord sediments showed globally a good functional diversity, suggesting their versatility to rapidly react to changing conditions. The lack of significant diversification among the three studied areas suggests that microbial variables alone cannot be suitable descriptors of sediment health, and that additional measures (i.e., physical–chemical characteristics) should be taken to better define environmental status. Full article
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30 pages, 2848 KiB  
Review
Life Cycle Assessment in Renewable Energy: Solar and Wind Perspectives
by Francisco Portillo, Alfredo Alcayde, Rosa Maria Garcia, Manuel Fernandez-Ros, Jose Antonio Gazquez and Nuria Novas
Environments 2024, 11(7), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070147 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 423
Abstract
The growing urgency for sustainable energy solutions necessitates a deeper understanding of the environmental impacts of renewable technologies. This article aims to synthesize and analyze Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) in this domain, providing a comprehensive perspective. We systematically categorized 2923 articles into four [...] Read more.
The growing urgency for sustainable energy solutions necessitates a deeper understanding of the environmental impacts of renewable technologies. This article aims to synthesize and analyze Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) in this domain, providing a comprehensive perspective. We systematically categorized 2923 articles into four sectors: (1) photovoltaic systems, (2) wind energy systems, (3) solar thermal systems, and (4) materials for auxiliary industry supporting these systems. A comparative analysis was conducted to identify methodological consistencies and disparities across these sectors. The findings reveal diverse methodological approaches and a range of environmental impacts, highlighting the complexities in assessing renewable energy systems. The article underscores the significance of material selection in photovoltaic, solar, and wind systems, providing a critical overview of the current state of LCA research in renewable energy and stressing the need for standardized methodologies. It also identifies gaps in recent research, offering insights for future studies focused on integrating environmental, economic, and social considerations in renewable energy assessments. Integrating environmental assessments provides a robust framework for making informed decisions on sustainable technologies. The findings are critical for projects that balance technological needs with sustainability 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, 5327 KiB  
Article
Towards a Consensus Method for the Isolation of Microplastics from Freshwater Sediments
by Daniel E. Enenche, Christine M. Davidson and John J. Liggat
Environments 2024, 11(7), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070146 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 324
Abstract
Environmental pollution caused by plastic waste is of global concern. There is growing interest in the study of microplastics in freshwater systems. However, the lack of harmonized analytical methodology makes it difficult to compare results obtained by different laboratories. This work compared methods [...] Read more.
Environmental pollution caused by plastic waste is of global concern. There is growing interest in the study of microplastics in freshwater systems. However, the lack of harmonized analytical methodology makes it difficult to compare results obtained by different laboratories. This work compared methods for the recovery of microplastics from freshwater sediments based on density separation by flotation followed by digestion of organic matter. Simulated sediment was spiked with virgin polypropylene, polystyrene, polyamide (PA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) pellets, and post-consumer polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fragments. Density separation was carried out using distilled water and NaCl, CaCl2, ZnCl2, and NaI solutions, both for intact pellets/fragments and following grinding and sieving to three size fractions (<1 mm, 1–2 mm, and >2 mm). Digestions with HNO3, NaOH, and Fenton’s reagent were compared. Only NaI quantitatively recovered all types of polymers. However, CaCl2 and ZnCl2 recovered all but PVF and PTFE. Different flotation patterns were observed for different size fractions of the same polymer, highlighting the fact that density is not the only factor affecting recovery. Digestion efficiencies were 6–78% in HNO3, 4–45% in NaOH, and 49–80% in Fenton’s reagent. Overall, CaCl2 is recommended for density separation and Fenton’s reagent for organic matter removal. Full article
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12 pages, 420 KiB  
Article
Simple Sugars Alter the Odorant Composition of Dairy Cow Manure
by John H. Loughrin, Getahun E. Agga and Nanh Lovanh
Environments 2024, 11(7), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070145 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 375
Abstract
A study was conducted to determine if the odor profile of Bos taurus manure could be altered by the addition of the simple saccharides glucose, lactose, and sucrose. Sucrose was added to manure slurry at 0, 12.5, 25, 50, or 125 g L [...] Read more.
A study was conducted to determine if the odor profile of Bos taurus manure could be altered by the addition of the simple saccharides glucose, lactose, and sucrose. Sucrose was added to manure slurry at 0, 12.5, 25, 50, or 125 g L−1, while glucose and lactose were added at 0, 6.45, 13.2, 26.4, or 65.8 g L−1. One hundred mL slurries were incubated in capped bottles at 30 °C for four weeks. Biogas production was measured throughout the incubations, and the pH and concentrations of short-chain fatty acids were measured at the end of the incubations. Odor compounds of the final manure slurries were isolated by stir bar sorptive extraction and identified by stir bar gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. Unamended manure had high concentrations of the typical manure malodorants phenol, p-cresol, p-ethylphenol, indole, and skatole. The addition of the sugars decreased these malodors in a dose-dependent manner. The addition of sugars shifted odor production to aliphatic esters including ethyl butyrate and propyl propanoate. The sugar-amended manure therefore had a different odor profile than the unamended manure did. The addition of sugar also caused the accumulation of short-chain fatty acids and, thus, decreased the pH of the manure. The production of lactic acid was particularly enhanced at high concentrations of sugar, suggesting that lactic acid bacteria could be responsible for changes in the odor profile. Future research will investigate if the addition of lesser concentrations of sugars or agricultural and food wastes rich in carbohydrates can reduce manure malodor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environments: 10 Years of Science Together)
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22 pages, 2841 KiB  
Article
Urban Biodiversity Index for Trees: A Climate Adaptation Measure for Cities Based on Tree Inventories
by Nefta-Eleftheria Votsi, Orestis Speyer, Danai-Eleni Michailidou, Athanasios Koukoulis, Charalampos Chatzidiakos, Ine Vandecasteele, Christiana Photiadou, Jose Miguel Rubio Iglesias, Jean-Philippe Aurambout and Evangelos Gerasopoulos
Environments 2024, 11(7), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070144 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 400
Abstract
A historically large percentage of the world’s population has moved to urban areas in the past few decades, causing various negative effects for the environment, such as air, noise, water, and light pollution; land degradation; and biodiversity loss. Under the current climate crisis, [...] Read more.
A historically large percentage of the world’s population has moved to urban areas in the past few decades, causing various negative effects for the environment, such as air, noise, water, and light pollution; land degradation; and biodiversity loss. Under the current climate crisis, cities are anticipated to play an essential part in adaptation strategies to extreme atmospheric events. This study aims at developing indicators at an urban scale that can highlight adaptation progress by investigating relevant data (especially in situ) and statistics at a pan-European level in support of the EU’s strategy for adapting to the impacts of climate change. The proposed indicator, Urban Biodiversity Indicator for Trees (UBI4T), which can be derived from city tree inventories, assesses one essential component of urban biodiversity by computing the proportion of native, alien, invasive, and toxic tree species spatially across a city. According to our findings (applying the UBI4T for Amsterdam and exploring its policy potential for Barcelona), the UBI4T can offer crucial information for decision and policy makers, as well as stakeholders of a city, with the aim of conducting dedicated and effective strategic initiatives to restore, improve, and protect nature in the urban environment, thus contributing to adaptation and resilience to extreme atmospheric events in cities. Full article
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15 pages, 3628 KiB  
Article
Enhancement of Sustainable Recycling Systems for Industrial Waste in South Korea via Hazardous Characteristics Analysis
by Su-Han Jang, Na-Hyeon Cho, Tae-Woo Kim, Young-Yeul Kang, Young-Sam Yoon and Heung-Min Yoo
Environments 2024, 11(7), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070143 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 382
Abstract
The South Korean government has implemented an acceptance system to promote the high-quality recycling of waste. Industrial waste generators must provide “hazardous characteristics data” to recycling operators. Nonetheless, ~80% of industrial safety accidents in South Korea occur during recycling, most involving fire or [...] Read more.
The South Korean government has implemented an acceptance system to promote the high-quality recycling of waste. Industrial waste generators must provide “hazardous characteristics data” to recycling operators. Nonetheless, ~80% of industrial safety accidents in South Korea occur during recycling, most involving fire or explosions. Moreover, a gap in safety management exists during ‘Circular Resource’ acceptance if the target substance is not regarded as waste. In this study collected data on hazardous waste characteristics. From 62 waste generators, 72 waste samples were collected, accounting for most of the resources accepted for recycling, including waste synthetic polymers, slag, dust, waste sand, and waste foundry sand. Then, the hazardous characteristics, as stated in the Ministry of Environment notifications, were assessed. Leaching toxicity was detected in one slag sample and six dust samples. The Cd, Cu, As, Pb, Zn, Ni, Hg, F, and CN levels dissatisfied the Soil Contamination Warning Standard in 31 samples. Explosivity was not detected in any sample, whereas flammability was detected in one waste synthetic polymer sample. The results revealed 15 cases of potential flammability. Flammability is legally defined as below the criteria if the combustion speed criterion is not met. However, in the case of flame ignition, which could cause large fires and safety accidents, the relevant notification should be revised. In this study, we aimed to improve the gap between the hazardous waste management systems and industrial fields through actual measurements of hazardous characteristics. By doing so, we seek to contribute to the prevention of environmental and safety accidents. By continuously accumulating data and utilizing actual measurements, we aim to revise and enhance relevant regulations, ultimately improving the hazardous characteristics of waste management systems. Full article
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25 pages, 2846 KiB  
Article
Small Decentralized Technologies for High-Strength Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions
by Khaja Zillur Rahman, Shamsa Al Saadi, Mohamed Al Rawahi, Manfred van Afferden, Katy Bernhard, Jan Friesen and Roland A. Müller
Environments 2024, 11(7), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070142 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 421
Abstract
Rural and semi-urban areas in arid/semi-arid regions are facing severe water scarcity and a series of environmental challenges nowadays, specifically due to rapid urbanization and economic development, climate change, population growth, increasing water demand, influxes of refugees caused by war and regional political [...] Read more.
Rural and semi-urban areas in arid/semi-arid regions are facing severe water scarcity and a series of environmental challenges nowadays, specifically due to rapid urbanization and economic development, climate change, population growth, increasing water demand, influxes of refugees caused by war and regional political conflict, etc. To solve the emerging problems, the safe reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture can provide an additional water resource for countries with high water scarcity. The aim of this study was to investigate the treatment performance and effectiveness of small decentralized wastewater treatment (DWWT) technologies treating high-strength wastewater with concentrations far beyond the European Union testing ranges of parameters such as five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5 > 500 mg/L), chemical oxygen demand (COD > 1000 mg/L), or total suspended solids (TSS > 700 mg/L). Four (4) commercially available DWWT technologies with a design capacity of 4–8 PE (population equivalent) were selected and operated with various wastewater compositions in Leipzig, Germany. The technologies were (i) the moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR), (ii) the sequencing batch reactor (SBR), (iii) the membrane bioreactor (MBR) and (iv) the aerated vertical-flow constructed wetland (AVFCW). This study results clearly demonstrated that the EU-certified small DWWT technologies are quite capable of treating high-strength wastewater and can provide high-quality treated water for safe reuse in rural communities of arid and semi-arid regions. During operation with high-strength wastewater with a mean inflow BOD5, COD and TSS concentrations of 1532 ± 478, 2547 ± 830 and 546 ± 176 mg/L, a low mean BOD5 (<10 mg/L), COD (<70 mg/L) and TSS (<15 mg/L) in the outflow of the four systems showed removal efficiency of BOD5 (>99%), COD (>97%) and TSS (>97%), and met the maximum allowable limit value of water quality class A for reuse in agriculture according to Jordanian and Omani standard. The MBR showed almost a complete removal of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in a range of 6.1–6.9-log removal in the outflow during all three experimental phases and performed best for BOD5, COD, TSS and pathogen removal when treating high-strength wastewater if properly maintained to prevent potential fouling and clogging of the membrane. Before the final permitting process, long-term monitoring under local temperature and climatic conditions as well as guidelines based on local needs (e.g., in Jordan, Oman, etc.) should be developed to guarantee a minimum level of performance standards of such small DWWT technologies and requirements for operation and maintenance (O&M). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies of Water and Wastewater Treatment)
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16 pages, 2755 KiB  
Article
Microplastics in the Mississippi River System during Flash Drought Conditions
by Kendall Wontor, Boluwatife S. Olubusoye and James V. Cizdziel
Environments 2024, 11(7), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070141 - 3 Jul 2024
Viewed by 528
Abstract
The Mississippi River System is of great ecological and economic importance, making it crucial to monitor contaminants within it. While nutrient pollution is well studied, there are little data on microplastics (MPs) in the Mississippi River System (MSRS), especially during drought conditions. Herein, [...] Read more.
The Mississippi River System is of great ecological and economic importance, making it crucial to monitor contaminants within it. While nutrient pollution is well studied, there are little data on microplastics (MPs) in the Mississippi River System (MSRS), especially during drought conditions. Herein, we characterize MP pollution from seven sites across the MSRS during both flash drought and non-drought periods using FTIR microspectroscopy (µ-FTIR). Additionally, we evaluate the impact of multiple water level conditions on MP polymer composition across five time points at a single sampling site. Of all MPs identified, polyethylene terephthalate (PET, 22%), resin (17%), and polyethylene (PE, 10%) were the most abundant polymers. Average concentrations ranged from 16 to 381 MPs/L across seven sites, with no significant difference in concentration between conditions. Irregular particles were the most common morphology, with most MPs falling in the lowest size range measured (30–100 μm). Drought condition had a significant (p < 0.001) impact on polymer composition, and polymers most strongly correlated with flash drought were mostly fluoropolymers. For the single sampling site, concentrations differed, but not significantly, across the five timepoints. These results demonstrate the complex relationship between MP concentration and drought condition, and also highlight the importance of fully characterizing MPs in environmental studies. Full article
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17 pages, 2394 KiB  
Review
Navigating Environmental Concerns: Assessing the Ecological Footprint of Photovoltaic-Produced Energy
by Halina Falfushynska
Environments 2024, 11(7), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070140 - 1 Jul 2024
Viewed by 519
Abstract
The European Union’s Green Deal concept prioritizes the installation of photovoltaic and wind turbine systems, with the aim of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and expanding the use of renewable energy. The inclusion of metals/metaloids such as Cd, Pb, Ni, and As to [...] Read more.
The European Union’s Green Deal concept prioritizes the installation of photovoltaic and wind turbine systems, with the aim of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and expanding the use of renewable energy. The inclusion of metals/metaloids such as Cd, Pb, Ni, and As to PV panels may be a matter of concern because they may provoke numerous negative environmental effects, especially after decommissioning. Although the release of Pb and Cd from solar panels is generally low, these releases may increase, posing long-term harm. Cd and Pb, if only released from solar panels, can enter the environment, including soil and water, posing a significant risk to human health and ecosystems. Cd, in particular, can have profound and lasting negative impacts on animals and humans, affecting cellular responses, enzyme operations, and immune system functionality. Pb exposure, in turn, can induce oxidative stress and neurotoxicity, disrupt ion regulatory pathways, and impair immune function. Despite efforts to reduce the release of toxic metals from PV panels, controlling their disposal and avoiding environmental contamination remains challenging. Discovering substitute materials for PV panel manufacture, implementing enhanced recycling procedures, performing bioremediation, and enforcing stronger restrictions are among the strategies to mitigate environmental concerns. Full article
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32 pages, 3565 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Environmental Management Performance in Wineries: A Survey-Based Analysis to Create Key Performance Indicators
by Jesús López-Santiago, Amelia Md Som, Luis Ruiz-Garcia, Sergio Zubelzu Mínguez and María Teresa Gómez Villarino
Environments 2024, 11(7), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070139 - 1 Jul 2024
Viewed by 887
Abstract
This study assesses the adoption and operational effectiveness of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) in Italian wineries, focusing on ISO 14001:2015. It evaluates commitment, planning, communication strategies, emergency preparedness, and employee training practices. Using a comprehensive survey-based methodology, the research elucidates the dynamics of [...] Read more.
This study assesses the adoption and operational effectiveness of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) in Italian wineries, focusing on ISO 14001:2015. It evaluates commitment, planning, communication strategies, emergency preparedness, and employee training practices. Using a comprehensive survey-based methodology, the research elucidates the dynamics of EMS implementation across various scales of winery operations. The research reveals a strong commitment among wineries to environmental objectives such as waste reduction and efficient electricity and water use. However, significant deficiencies were identified in EMS policy implementation, emergency preparedness, and the uptake of ISO 14001:2015 certification, with larger wineries showing more robust engagement in environmental training than smaller ones. The study incorporates five key performance indicators (KPIs) and a predictive model using logistic regression and Random Forest to analyze the likelihood of ISO 14001 certification based on the analyzed variables. The model highlights established processes, environmental policies, and frequent reviews as significant predictors of certification. These findings contribute original value by identifying critical leverage points and barriers affecting EMS effectiveness within the wine sector. The research uncovers nuanced interactions between the scale of operations and management engagement influencing EMSs’ success. It proposes novel, survey-based KPIs essential for assessing EMS performance in wineries, demonstrating their practical utility in pinpointing areas for improvement. The research limitations include potential biases from varying participation rates among surveyed wineries, affecting extrapolation to the broader Italian wine industry. Despite these limitations, the study provides substantive practical implications, suggesting that wineries can enhance both environmental sustainability and a competitive edge by addressing gaps in EMS implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environments: 10 Years of Science Together)
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27 pages, 23168 KiB  
Article
Development of a 3D Digital Model of End-of-Service-Life Buildings for Improved Demolition Waste Management through Automated Demolition Waste Audit
by Muhammad Omer, Yong C. Wang, Mikel Quintana Roma, Stanislav Bedrich, Václav Nežerka, Juan Ferriz-Papi, Jesus J. Moros Montanes and Ines Diez Ortiz
Environments 2024, 11(7), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070138 - 29 Jun 2024
Viewed by 497
Abstract
This paper presents the development of a 3D digital model of end-of-service-life buildings to facilitate a step change in preparation of pre-demolition protocols that can eliminate problems of inadequate documentation and extensive time spent in preparing pre-demolition audits. The 3D digital model consists [...] Read more.
This paper presents the development of a 3D digital model of end-of-service-life buildings to facilitate a step change in preparation of pre-demolition protocols that can eliminate problems of inadequate documentation and extensive time spent in preparing pre-demolition audits. The 3D digital model consists of the following four main components: (i) digitization of paper-based drawings and their conversion to CAD; (ii) automated generation of a 3D digital model from CAD; (iii) corrections to the 3D digital model to account for changes in the lifetime of a building; (iv) a sub-model for performing pre-demolition audit. This paper proposes the innovative approaches of incorporating a minimal amount of human intervention to overcome numerous difficulties in automated drawing analysis, application of augmented reality (AR) in corrections to the 3D digital model, and data compatibility for pre-demolition audit. These processes are demonstrated using one building as case study. Using the digital model, a pre-demolition audit can be prepared in minutes rather than the many days required in current practice without a digital model. The accurate quantification of the quantities and locations of different demolition waste materials and products in buildings to be demolished will enable a systematic and quantitative evaluation of potentials of material and product reuse and eliminate contamination of different demolition waste streams (which may contain hazardous waste), which is the main cause of environmental degradation and downcycling of demolition waste materials. Full article
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19 pages, 1602 KiB  
Article
Ecotoxicity of Pesticides Approved for Use in European Conventional or Organic Agriculture for Honeybees, Birds, and Earthworms
by Lena Goritschnig, Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, Thomas Durstberger and Johann G. Zaller
Environments 2024, 11(7), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070137 - 28 Jun 2024
Viewed by 712
Abstract
Pesticides affect biota inside and outside agricultural fields due to their intrinsic mode of action. This study investigated whether pesticide active substances (AS) approved for conventional agriculture in Europe differ in their ecotoxicity from AS approved for organic agriculture. The evaluation was based [...] Read more.
Pesticides affect biota inside and outside agricultural fields due to their intrinsic mode of action. This study investigated whether pesticide active substances (AS) approved for conventional agriculture in Europe differ in their ecotoxicity from AS approved for organic agriculture. The evaluation was based on official ecotoxicological data for surrogate honeybee, bird, and earthworm species, which also serve as a reference for official environmental risk assessments in the pesticide authorization process. In October 2022, 268 chemical-synthetic AS approved for conventional and 179 nature-based AS approved for organic agriculture were listed in the EU Pesticide Database. Ecotoxicological data were only available for 254 AS approved for use in conventional agriculture and 110 AS approved for use in organic agriculture. The results showed a higher ecotoxicity of conventional AS: 79% (201 AS), 64% (163 AS) and 91% (230 AS) were moderately to acutely toxic to honeybees, birds, and earthworms, respectively, compared to 44% (48 AS), 14% (15 AS) and 36% (39 AS) of AS approved for organic agriculture. We have only considered the potential ecotoxicities of individual substances in this assessment; actual exposure in the field, where multiple AS formulations with other chemicals (including impurities) are applied, will be different. Nevertheless, these results emphasize that an increase in organic agriculture in Europe would reduce the ecotoxicological burden on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Full article
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13 pages, 8668 KiB  
Article
The Formation and Stability of HA–Fe/Mn Colloids in Saturated Porous Media
by Junhao Zheng, Mei Jiang, Qingzhu Li and Weichun Yang
Environments 2024, 11(7), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070136 - 27 Jun 2024
Viewed by 476
Abstract
Fe/Mn (hydr)oxides are metallic compounds that exhibit significant redox activity in environmental media and play a pivotal role in geochemical processes, thereby influencing the fate of metals in porous media. The morphology of Fe/Mn (hydr)oxides in natural environments and their interactions with trace [...] Read more.
Fe/Mn (hydr)oxides are metallic compounds that exhibit significant redox activity in environmental media and play a pivotal role in geochemical processes, thereby influencing the fate of metals in porous media. The morphology of Fe/Mn (hydr)oxides in natural environments and their interactions with trace metals are significantly influenced by the presence of natural organic matter (NOM). However, there is limited understanding regarding the formation, transport, and stability of Fe/Mn (hydr)oxides in the environment. The present study employed humic acid (HA) as a representative NOM material to investigate the positive influence of HA on the formation of Fe/Mn colloids. However, there remains limited comprehension regarding the formation, transport, and stability of Fe/Mn (hydr)oxides in the natural environment. In this study, we investigated the positive effect of natural organic matter (NOM) on the formation of Fe/Mn colloids using humic acid (HA) as a representative NOM material. We comprehensively characterized the chemical and physical properties of HA–Fe/Mn colloids formed under various environmentally relevant conditions and quantitatively analyzed their subsequent aggregation and stability behaviors. The findings suggest that the molar ratios of C to Fe/Mn (hydr)oxide play a pivotal role in influencing the properties of HA–Fe/Mn colloids. The formation and stability of HA–Fe/Mn colloids exhibit an upward trend with increasing initial molar ratios of C to Fe/Mn. Redox and metal–carboxylic acid complexation reactions between HA and hydrated iron/manganese oxides play a pivotal role in forming colloidal HA–Fe/Mn complexes. Subsequent investigations simulating porous media environments have demonstrated that the colloidal structure resulting from the interaction between HA and Fe/Mn facilitates their migration within surrounding porous media while also enhancing their retention in the surface layers of these media. This study offers novel insights into the formation and stabilization mechanisms of HA–Fe/Mn colloids, which are pivotal for comprehending the behavior of Fe/Mn colloids and the involvement of Fe/Mn (hydr)oxides in geochemical cycling processes within porous media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Iron–Carbon Biogeochemical Processes)
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16 pages, 2128 KiB  
Article
Short-Term Associations of Road Density and Road Features with In-Vehicle PM2.5 during Daily Trips in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area
by Jenna R. Krall, Jonathan Thornburg, Ting Zhang, Anna Z. Pollack, Yi-Ching Lee, Michelle McCombs and Lucas R. F. Henneman
Environments 2024, 11(7), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070135 - 26 Jun 2024
Viewed by 882
Abstract
Increased daily exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) is associated with increased morbidity, yet high exposures over shorter timeframes (e.g., hourly) may also play a role. Transportation is a milieu for increased transient pollution exposures. Both the road traveled [...] Read more.
Increased daily exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) is associated with increased morbidity, yet high exposures over shorter timeframes (e.g., hourly) may also play a role. Transportation is a milieu for increased transient pollution exposures. Both the road traveled and nearby roadways (i.e., surrounding road density) may play a role in increased PM2.5 exposure during commutes. For 2311 min of commutes, corresponding to 25 participants, we obtained in-vehicle PM2.5 exposures using personal monitors and, through GPS data, road features, including road density and road type (e.g., highway vs. local roads). We considered the density of both the surrounding highways and the local roads at 500 m and 1000 m resolutions. We estimated associations of road features with minute-averaged in-vehicle PM2.5 by applying linear mixed-effects models with random intercepts and autoregressive errors. The difference in log PM2.5, comparing the highest vs. lowest quartile of highway road density at 1 km resolution, was 0.09 log μg/m3 (95% confidence interval: 0, 0.19), which was similar to the difference between driving on highways vs. local roads (0.07 log μg/m3 (95% confidence interval: 0.00, 0.14)). Estimated differences were attenuated for local road density and 500 m resolution. The results were robust to adjustment for meteorology and ambient PM2.5. Unlike road features such as speed and road type, the surrounding road density is less modifiable during transportation. Therefore, road choice may not have a large impact on personal PM2.5 exposures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality, Health and Climate)
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21 pages, 3402 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Different Combinations of Cattle Organic Soil Amendments and Copper on Lettuce (cv. Rufus) Plant Growth
by Chiara De Carolis, Valentina Iori, Alessandra Narciso, Davide Gentile, Barbara Casentini, Fabrizio Pietrini, Paola Grenni, Anna Barra Caracciolo and M. Adelaide Iannelli
Environments 2024, 11(7), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070134 - 25 Jun 2024
Viewed by 893
Abstract
In modern agricultural production, cattle manure waste recovery is considered as a sustainable approach to agricultural waste management, reducing environmental pollution and chemical fertilizer use. This study aimed to investigate the effects of manure and digestate derived from a pilot-scale livestock waste-recycling system, [...] Read more.
In modern agricultural production, cattle manure waste recovery is considered as a sustainable approach to agricultural waste management, reducing environmental pollution and chemical fertilizer use. This study aimed to investigate the effects of manure and digestate derived from a pilot-scale livestock waste-recycling system, in combination with a low copper concentration as a fungicide, on the physiological response of lettuce cv Rufus (Lactuca sativa L.) plants and the associated soil microbiome. A five-week microcosm experiment was conducted in a greenhouse under environmental conditions. Lettuce plant performance was assessed in terms of biomass, leaf area index, photosynthetic activity, chlorophyll measurements, lipid peroxidation, total phenolic content, and nutrient uptake. The results suggested that incorporating digestate into the potting soil mix significantly enhanced crop yields compared to the control and manure treatments. The soil microbial activity increased in the presence of fertilizers, improving the soil chemical and biological properties. The addition of copper negatively affected the growth and physiological performance of the lettuce plants under both the control and manure-treated conditions, except for those grown in the presence of digestate, where copper accumulation was reduced. These findings highlight the potential of growing horticultural crops using organic fertilization through livestock waste anaerobic digestate, establishing a waste-to-food recycling system. Full article
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27 pages, 4500 KiB  
Article
Future (2020–2099) Carbon and Water Dynamics of Lehigh Valley Based on Land Use and Land Cover Change
by Benjamin S. Felzer and Christopher Andrade
Environments 2024, 11(7), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070133 - 24 Jun 2024
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Increased urbanization has reduced the amount of green space, resulting in a reduced carbon sink potential across urban landscapes. Through the use of biogeochemical modeling, different land use scenarios have been developed and run for the future (2020–2099) to compare and quantify the [...] Read more.
Increased urbanization has reduced the amount of green space, resulting in a reduced carbon sink potential across urban landscapes. Through the use of biogeochemical modeling, different land use scenarios have been developed and run for the future (2020–2099) to compare and quantify the potential for change in carbon and water dynamics by having more tree cover and reducing impervious surfaces or turf lawns in Lehigh Valley, PA. These results show that the effect of deforestation is larger than the effect of reforestation. Due to young-stand age trees having a lower capacity for carbon storage than mature trees, the loss of the mature trees has a more immediate impact. The conversion of lawns or impervious surfaces to forests has somewhat similar effects, although the higher nutrients of lawns allow the forest to grow better. However, replacing impervious surfaces with trees reduces runoff more. This study shows that within the city of Bethlehem, the most socially vulnerable area benefits the most from increasing the number of trees. When converting 25% of the impervious area to forest, South Bethlehem significantly increased its vegetation carbon, productivity, and carbon storage, reduced its runoff, and generally created a safer and cleaner environment for residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Sequestration Potential of Urban Parks)
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27 pages, 7770 KiB  
Article
Rhythm of Exposure in Town Centres: A Case Study of Lancaster City Centre
by Ekpo Otu, Kirsti Ashworth and Emmanuel Tsekleves
Environments 2024, 11(7), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11070132 - 24 Jun 2024
Viewed by 510
Abstract
This study proposes a novel air pollution exposure index (APEI) metric, drawing from traditional elements in rhythmanalysis and public-life studies to help understand how people are exposed to air pollution in their urban environment and when the risks are greatest. It expands on [...] Read more.
This study proposes a novel air pollution exposure index (APEI) metric, drawing from traditional elements in rhythmanalysis and public-life studies to help understand how people are exposed to air pollution in their urban environment and when the risks are greatest. It expands on the notion of rhythm as a socially constructed natural phenomenon connected to urban life and spaces. Air quality monitoring data, as well as bus times and in situ traffic and pedestrian counts, from Cable Street and Dalton Square in Lancaster were applied to define the APEI, which combines an air pollution index (NO2 and PM10), a surrogate for ambient air pollution level, with a population index, a surrogate for population flow. The index values were subsequently ranked in numeric order, i.e., a higher ranking shows increased exposure risk and vice versa, to determine total exposure on an individual level. This metric proves valuable in defining air pollution exposure status and recognizing factors associated with high pollution and population levels. Similarly, by comparing APEI values, one could evaluate exposure levels in different locations and seasons to verify when the APEI has increased at a given location and the different rhythms and flows responsible for an individual’s exposure. Hence, it has potential use for urban planners and the city council’s policymakers who are involved in Lancaster Air Quality Management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution in Urban and Industrial Areas II)
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