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Environments, Volume 7, Issue 10 (October 2020) – 22 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Organic matter decline and compaction are two major degradation processes of agricultural soils. Organic amendment is a current practice to compensate for the loss of organic matter, which could contribute to limiting soil compaction. Both organic amendment and compaction physicochemical stresses can affect the fate and impact of pesticides in soil. This research showed that the fate of isoproturon, a wheat herbicide, did not change following compaction and/or organic amendment addition, nor did the corresponding risks for the environment, and that organic amendment could act as a buffer with regard to the impact of isoproturon. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Road Verge Vegetation and the Capture of Particulate Matter Air Pollution
Environments 2020, 7(10), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100093 - 20 Oct 2020
Viewed by 937
Abstract
Urban air quality is considered a major issue in cities worldwide, with particulate matter (PM) recognised as one of the most harmful pollutants regarding human health. The use of plants to act as air filters and immobilise PM has been identified as a [...] Read more.
Urban air quality is considered a major issue in cities worldwide, with particulate matter (PM) recognised as one of the most harmful pollutants regarding human health. The use of plants to act as air filters and immobilise PM has been identified as a potential method to improve the air quality in these areas. The majority of the work has focused on trees, with the application of shrub and herbaceous species largely overlooked. Two contrasting leaf morphologies from a shrub and herbaceous plant species were sampled at four locations across Southampton (UK), from varying traffic conditions. Samples were analysed for the mass of PM captured, particle size, and elemental composition. These analyses were used to characterise the different sites and the plants’ effectiveness at immobilisation of PM. Captured PM mass was shown to be directly related to traffic density, with greater traffic density leading to higher levels of captured PM. PM origins were attributed to emissions from vehicles and the resuspension of particles by vehicle movement. The bulk of the PM mass was shown to originate from natural, crustal sources including large proportions of Al, Si, and/or Ca. Increases in elements from anthropogenic enhancement (such as Fe and Zn) were related to high traffic density. Particle size analysis identified that, despite the use of standard leaf-washing protocols with a final 2.5 µm filter, PM was dominated by fine particles (<2.5 µm physical diameter), with particles >10 µm rare. Bramble leaves were calculated to have a species-specific deposition velocity 0.51 cm s−1 greater than ivy, with deposition velocities calculated at 1.8 and 1.3 cm s−1 for ivy and 2.3 and 1.8 cm s−1 for bramble at Redbridge Road and Brinton’s Road, respectively. These values can allow for the more accurate modelling and estimation of the PM removal abilities of these plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Research on the Evaluation Index System of the Construction of Communities Suitable for Aging by the Fuzzy Delphi Method
Environments 2020, 7(10), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100092 - 18 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 936
Abstract
In order to cope with the rapidly aging society and the Chinese traditional idea of old-age care, community home-based care has become a major mode of care for the aged in China, and the construction of communities suitable for the aged has also [...] Read more.
In order to cope with the rapidly aging society and the Chinese traditional idea of old-age care, community home-based care has become a major mode of care for the aged in China, and the construction of communities suitable for the aged has also become the focus of the whole society. In order to build an objective and scientific evaluation index system of communities suitable for aging, the hierarchical structure and relative important values of the indicators for the assessment were obtained through data text rooted coding and the fuzzy Delphi expert questionnaire survey. The results prove that: the evaluation index system of communities suitable for aging consists of 4 criteria (i.e., humanistic care, public environment, health care, and economic security), 14 sub-criteria, and 48 evaluation indexes. The important values of the four criteria are “health care” (7.35), “public environment” (7.18), “humanistic care” (6.92), and “economic security” (6.87). This shows that with the aging of the elderly and the decline of physical function, health care is the most important material basis for community home care, and is also the core criterion for the construction of communities suitable for aging. Of the 48 important values of the evaluation indexes, “setting up an emergency assistance system” (7.89), “ensuring the accessibility of roads” (7.79), and “handling related affairs” (7.60) ranked the highest. This shows that the protection of the physical and mental health of the elderly and the rights and interests of the elderly are the core values of the construction of communities suitable for aging. This study believes that through constructing an evaluation index system of the communities suitable for aging, the past general constructions suitable for aging according to the standard can be further clarified through the scientific procedure of the ‘community suitable for aging construction evaluation method’, and be a reference for the academic and practical fields. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Soil Metal Bioavailability in Roadside Soils of Different Ages
Environments 2020, 7(10), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100091 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 967
Abstract
Finding a reliable method to predict soil metal bioavailability in aged soil continues to be one of the most important problems in contaminated soil chemistry. To investigate the bioavailability of metals aged in soils, we used roadside soils that had accumulated metals from [...] Read more.
Finding a reliable method to predict soil metal bioavailability in aged soil continues to be one of the most important problems in contaminated soil chemistry. To investigate the bioavailability of metals aged in soils, we used roadside soils that had accumulated metals from vehicle emissions over a range of years. We collected topsoil (0–10 cm) samples representing new-, medium- and old-aged roadside soils and control site soil. These soils were studied to compare the ability of the diffusive gradients in thin films technique (DGT), soil water extraction, CaCl2 extraction, total metal concentrations and optimised linear models to predict metal bioavailability in wheat plants. The response time for the release of metals and the effect on metal bioavailability in field aged soils was also studied. The DGT, and extractable metals such as CaCl2 extractable and soil solution metals in soil, were not well correlated with metal concentrations in wheat shoots. In comparison, the strongest relationships with concentrations in wheat shoots were found for Ni and Zn total metal concentrations in soil (e.g., Ni r = 0.750, p = 0.005 and Zn r = 0.833, p = 0.001); the correlations were still low, suggesting that total metal concentrations were also not a robust measure of bioavailability. Optimised linear models incorporating soil physiochemical properties and metal extracts together with road age as measure of exposure time, demonstrated a very strong relationship for Mn R2 = 0.936; Ni R2 = 0.936 and Zn R2 = 0.931. While all the models developed were dependent on total soil metal concentrations, models developed for Mn and Zn clearly demonstrated the effect of road age on metal bioavailability. Therefore, the optimised linear models developed have the potential for robustly predicting bioavailable metal concentrations in field soils where the metals have aged in situ. The intrinsic rate of release of metals increased for Mn (R2 = 0.617, p = 0.002) and decreased for Cd (R2 = 0.456, p = 0.096), Cu (R2 = 0.560, p = 0.083) and Zn (R2 =0.578, p = 0.072). Nickel did not show any relationship between dissociation time (Tc) and road age. Roadside soil pH was likely to be the key parameter controlling metal aging in roadside soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Contamination by Heavy Metals and Metalloids)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Efficacy of SIFT-MS for Speciation of Wastewater Treatment Plant Odors in Parallel with Human Sensory Analysis
Environments 2020, 7(10), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100090 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 832
Abstract
Odors from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have frequently been attributed primarily to hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Low-to-medium cost hydrogen sulfide sensors have been utilized as odor indicators. However, other odorous species are usually present that may have lower odor thresholds than hydrogen [...] Read more.
Odors from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have frequently been attributed primarily to hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Low-to-medium cost hydrogen sulfide sensors have been utilized as odor indicators. However, other odorous species are usually present that may have lower odor thresholds than hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is not always present in odorous environments and the correlation of hydrogen sulfide to odor at a treatment facility is inconsistent. Such factors determine hydrogen sulfide an inconsistent indicator and more sophisticated measurement techniques are required to accurately predict odor intensity from complex gaseous mixes. In this paper, the performance of a direct mass spectrometric technique, selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS), is evaluated for analysis of odors from diverse sources at a modern WWTP. The soft chemical ionization employed in SIFT-MS provides detection and quantification of a wide range of potential odorants to below, or close to, the human odor detection threshold (ODT). The results presented demonstrate that methyl mercaptan is almost always a more significant odorant at this WWTP than hydrogen sulfide and confirm that the relative abundances of these odorants vary significantly. Parallel SIFT-MS chemical analysis and human sensory analysis (olfactometry) was conducted in this study. Good agreement was observed for samples of moderate to strong “sewage” or “chemical” character. However, in samples that were otherwise low in odor intensity, sensory analysis did not attribute “sewage” odor notes as the predominant odor character. Chemicals attributed with this odor character were present significantly above the ODTs in the mixed samples and were detected by SIFT-MS. A weak correlation was obtained between total odor activity values measured using SIFT-MS and the odor concentration (in odor units per cubic meter) determined using dilution olfactometry. The complexity of the wastewater matrix and complexity of human odor recognition from mixed samples is thought to be the underlying cause of less-than-ideal correlation, perturbing both olfactometry and SIFT-MS analyses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Developments in Molecular Level Characterization of Naphthenic Acid Fraction Compounds Degradation in a Constructed Wetland Treatment System
Environments 2020, 7(10), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100089 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1178
Abstract
The reclamation of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is a matter of environmental importance because of the aquatic toxicity to biota. This study describes refinements in advanced analytical methods to assess the performance of biological treatment systems for OSPW, such as constructed wetland [...] Read more.
The reclamation of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is a matter of environmental importance because of the aquatic toxicity to biota. This study describes refinements in advanced analytical methods to assess the performance of biological treatment systems for OSPW, such as constructed wetland treatment systems (CWTSs). Assessment of treatment efficiency by measurement of the degradation of naphthenic acid fraction compounds (NAFCs) in OSPW is challenging in CWTS due to potentially interfering constituents such as humic acids, organic acids, salts, and hydrocarbons. Here we have applied a previous weak anion exchange (WAX) solid-phase extraction (SPE) method and high-resolution Orbitrap-mass spectrometry (MS) to remove major interferences from the NAFC analysis. The refinements in data processing employing principal component analysis (PCA) indicates that the relative abundance of NAFCs decreased with time in the treated OSPW relative to the untreated OSPW. The most saturated NAFCs with higher carbon numbers were relatively more degraded as compared to unsaturated NAFCs. The use of Kendrick plots and van Krevelen plots for assessment of the performance of the CWTS is shown to be well-suited to detailed monitoring of the complex composition of NAFCs as a function of degradation. The developments and application of analytical methods such as the WAX SPE method and high-resolution Orbitrap-MS are demonstrated as tools enabling the advancement of CWTS design and optimization, enabling passive or semi-passive water treatment systems to be a viable opportunity for OSPW treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treatment Wetlands)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Tourism Activity on Coastal Biodiversity: A Case Study at Praia da Cova Redonda (Algarve—Portugal)
Environments 2020, 7(10), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100088 - 12 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1073
Abstract
Tourism activity has a very significant weight in the world economy, even being the main activity responsible for the export of many countries, in the form of providing services to foreign citizens. In mainland Portugal, the main tourist region is the Algarve, where [...] Read more.
Tourism activity has a very significant weight in the world economy, even being the main activity responsible for the export of many countries, in the form of providing services to foreign citizens. In mainland Portugal, the main tourist region is the Algarve, where beach tourism, known as sun and sea tourism, plays a decisive role. However, this activity also has its negative impacts. In the present work, a case study was analyzed, at Praia da Cova Redonda, located in the parish of Porches, in the municipality of Lagoa. Negative impacts on land use and occupation were identified, caused by the excessive presence of people, the introduction of invasive species and the artificial filling of beaches. At the end, a set of mitigating measures are presented that aim to ensure that the exploitation of natural resources can be maintained, but in a perspective of preservation and recovery of natural resources and biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic of Vegetation and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Small Environmental Actions Need of Problem-Solving Approach: Applying Project Management Tools to Beach Litter Clean-Ups
Environments 2020, 7(10), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100087 - 11 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1020
Abstract
Clean-ups can be considered real conservation actions since beach litter may impact many ecosystem components. However, although these actions are quite easy to carry out, we think that they need to follow specific criteria and clear planning. Contrariwise, an unplanned clean-up could lead [...] Read more.
Clean-ups can be considered real conservation actions since beach litter may impact many ecosystem components. However, although these actions are quite easy to carry out, we think that they need to follow specific criteria and clear planning. Contrariwise, an unplanned clean-up could lead to counter-productive—or even harmful—consequences to the fragile dune ecosystem; e.g., excessive trampling and/or extreme sand removal. Here, we defined a road map for implementing beach clean-ups according to the logic of problem solving and project management, also adding a flow chart. More particularly, we subdivided the clean-up project into different steps as follows: context analysis, input and planning, process, monitoring (outputs and outcomes) and adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Beach Litter and Impact on Habitats)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Lowland Bog Biomass for Ex Situ Remediation of Petroleum-Contaminated Soils
Environments 2020, 7(10), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100086 - 08 Oct 2020
Viewed by 873
Abstract
Bog petroleum-contaminated soils have been remediated ex situ in conditions close to natural ones. It was found that during the first 30 days in natural conditions, the decomposition of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) was 30 ± 5%. On the 60th and 90th days, [...] Read more.
Bog petroleum-contaminated soils have been remediated ex situ in conditions close to natural ones. It was found that during the first 30 days in natural conditions, the decomposition of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) was 30 ± 5%. On the 60th and 90th days, the process of TPH decomposition was 45 ± 5% and 60 ± 5%, respectively. The effect of various stimulant supplements was negligible. For the entire observed period, bog soil showed a very high self-cleaning potential with pollution concentration of 5 g of petroleum per 100 g of soil sample. Such diagnostic indicators of soil condition as urease and cellulase activities turned out to be most sensitive in the bog soil. The introduction of mineral fertilizers to stimulate the TPH decomposition increased the activity of urease in comparison with the background soil. On the other hand, the nonionic surfactant acted as an inhibitor of microorganisms involved in nitrogen metabolism, even in the presence of mineral fertilizers. The introduction of mineral fertilizers to petroleum-polluted bog soil stimulated the cellulases activity, while surfactants suppressed them in the early stages. The simultaneous introduction of surfactants and fertilizers kept the cellulase activity at the background level. It is concluded that in the case of petroleum pollution of infertile soils, the introduction of the upper layers of the phytomass of lowland bogs by providing looseness and long-term supply of nutrients from the dying parts of the moss will accelerate the self-cleaning processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Evaluation of PM10 Concentrations within the Greater Athens Area, Greece. Trends, Variability and Analysis of a 19 Years Data Series
Environments 2020, 7(10), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100085 - 06 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
This work investigates the spatiotemporal variation of suspended particles with aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 10 μm (PM10) during a nineteen years period. Mean daily PM10 concentrations between 2001 and 2018, from five monitoring stations within the greater [...] Read more.
This work investigates the spatiotemporal variation of suspended particles with aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 10 μm (PM10) during a nineteen years period. Mean daily PM10 concentrations between 2001 and 2018, from five monitoring stations within the greater Athens area (GAA) are used. The aim is to investigate the impact of the economic crisis and the actions taken by the Greek state over the past decade on the distribution of PM10 within the GAA. Seasonality, intraweek, intraday and spatial variations of the PM10 concentrations as well as trends of data, are statistically studied. The work may assist the formation of PM10 forecasting models of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual horizon. Innovations are alternative ways of statistical treatment and the extended period of data, which, importantly, includes major economic and social events for the GAA. Significant decreasing trend in PM10 series concentrations at all examined stations were found. This may be due to economic and social reasons but also due to measures taken by the state so as to be harmonised with the European Directives concerning the protection of public health and the atmospheric environment of the European Union (EU) members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Light Gradient Boosted Machine Learning Technique in Large Scale Land Use and Land Cover Classification
Environments 2020, 7(10), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100084 - 03 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
The ability to rapidly produce accurate land use and land cover maps regularly and consistently has been a growing initiative as they have increasingly become an important tool in the efforts to evaluate, monitor, and conserve Earth’s natural resources. Algorithms for supervised classification [...] Read more.
The ability to rapidly produce accurate land use and land cover maps regularly and consistently has been a growing initiative as they have increasingly become an important tool in the efforts to evaluate, monitor, and conserve Earth’s natural resources. Algorithms for supervised classification of satellite images constitute a necessary tool for the building of these maps and they have made it possible to establish remote sensing as the most reliable means of map generation. In this paper, we compare three machine learning techniques: Random Forest, Support Vector Machines, and Light Gradient Boosted Machine, using a 70/30 training/testing evaluation model. Our research evaluates the accuracy of Light Gradient Boosted Machine models against the more classic and trusted Random Forest and Support Vector Machines when it comes to classifying land use and land cover over large geographic areas. We found that the Light Gradient Booted model is marginally more accurate with a 0.01 and 0.059 increase in the overall accuracy compared to Support Vector and Random Forests, respectively, but also performed around 25% quicker on average. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deployment of Green Technologies for Sustainable Environment)
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Open AccessReview
Terrestrial Protected Areas and Food Security: A Systematic Review of Research Approaches
Environments 2020, 7(10), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100083 - 02 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Achieving food security is one of the most important sustainable development goals and is a major global concern, specifically in remote and rural areas of the developing world where high biodiversity can be found and many protected areas are located. The goals of [...] Read more.
Achieving food security is one of the most important sustainable development goals and is a major global concern, specifically in remote and rural areas of the developing world where high biodiversity can be found and many protected areas are located. The goals of food security and biodiversity conservation are two of the most critical challenges of our time. This study aims to better understand the state of research on protected areas and food security through a methodological lens. The literature search was conducted in the Web of Science core collection and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CAB) abstracts database. The search results indicate that this is an understudied topic with only nineteen articles published in various research domains. The findings reveal that studies were explanatory research rather than confirmatory and most studies had a snapshot design with no control or baseline. National parks were the main category of protected areas reported in studies. Data collection commonly employed a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods at a household level. We also found that spatial data and methods are important yet underutilized. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Temperature and Organic Load on the Performance of Anaerobic Bioreactors Treating Grasses
Environments 2020, 7(10), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100082 - 01 Oct 2020
Viewed by 923
Abstract
The organic residues generated in grasslands can be treated by adopting anaerobic digestion technology. This technology can enhance the efforts for sustainable waste management around the world. In the northern Netherlands, there is a vast amount of ditch clippings and canal grasses that [...] Read more.
The organic residues generated in grasslands can be treated by adopting anaerobic digestion technology. This technology can enhance the efforts for sustainable waste management around the world. In the northern Netherlands, there is a vast amount of ditch clippings and canal grasses that can be used as a renewable source of energy; however, optimal bioenergy production from grasses is still under research and this study aims to evaluate biogas production from grassy residues at the local level in the context of a sustainable waste management scheme. Batch tests were facilitated to investigate the impact of temperature and organic load on the anaerobic digestion performance of grass mixtures (ditch clippings and canal grasses). The results showed that high temperature favors the degradation of high lignocellulosic materials like grasses. Specifically, bioreactors at 55 °C with an organic load of 30 g volatile solids (VS) L−1 reached 360.4 mL g VSsubstrate−1. Moreover, reactors with low organic loads resulted in a lower methane yield. The kinetics study also showed good fitting of the predicted and experimental values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small-Scale Anaerobic Digestion for Biogas Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Urban Hedges as Air Pollution Barriers: Importance of Sampling Method, Species Characteristics and Site Location
Environments 2020, 7(10), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100081 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4008
Abstract
Urban hedgerows can act as barriers to roadside particulate air pollution, but details on methodologies to quantify pollutant capture, most efficient species to use, and practical planning advice are still evolving. We aimed to compare three widely used approaches to quantify particulate accumulation [...] Read more.
Urban hedgerows can act as barriers to roadside particulate air pollution, but details on methodologies to quantify pollutant capture, most efficient species to use, and practical planning advice are still evolving. We aimed to compare three widely used approaches to quantify particulate accumulation and deposition, and to ascertain the most cost-effective and robust approach for the rapid screening of various types of hedges. Secondly, using the most efficient methodology, we screened the summertime deposition of particulates on roadside hedges in Reading (UK), not just on species with differing leaf surface characteristics, but also along a transect of the hedge depth. Finally, we also compared particles’ capture by hedge leaf surfaces in locations with different traffic intensities, to try and ascertain the extent of reduction of particles’ concentration in various hedge types and urban locations. Results suggest that the gravimetric determination of particulate capture was most rapid and cost-effective, while being least technically demanding. We confirmed that hairy and more complex leaves captured most particulates, particularly in the >10 μm range. However, species choice only had a significant impact on the extent of capture on major roads, where the pollutant concentrations were highest. Furthermore, only hedge depths in excess of 2 m were found to noticeably reduce the concentration of fine particles in species with less capacity for particulates’ capture. Findings complement the growing body of knowledge to guide urban and landscape planners in choosing the most appropriate species to mitigate air quality in various urban contexts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Vulnerability to Agricultural Nitrate in Two Highly Diversified Environmental Settings
Environments 2020, 7(10), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100080 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 892
Abstract
A significant rise of groundwater pollution has been registered worldwide, where nitrate has been recognized as the most widespread pollutant. In this context, the groundwater vulnerability assessment and more specifically the delineation of “Nitrate Vulnerable Zones” represents a reliable cost-effective tool for groundwater [...] Read more.
A significant rise of groundwater pollution has been registered worldwide, where nitrate has been recognized as the most widespread pollutant. In this context, the groundwater vulnerability assessment and more specifically the delineation of “Nitrate Vulnerable Zones” represents a reliable cost-effective tool for groundwater management. In this study, the Agricultural Nitrate Hazard Index (ANHI) method was applied to two case histories in southern Italy: the Lete River catchment and the eastern sector of the Campania Plain. The first area is characterized by agricultural activities and a low anthropic influence while the eastern part of the Campania Plain, around Caserta city, is strongly urbanized and developed on an extensive alluvial plain filled with volcaniclastic deposits. The parametric method applied suggests moderate hazard for the more natural setting highlighting how the intensive crop farming and livestock activities that characterized the area negatively influenced the results. For the eastern part of the Campania Plain, where a strong urbanization and widespread industrial crops are dominant, a low to very low hazard has been identified. The groundwater quality value, in contrast with the methodology results underlines the importance of further risk evaluations based on accurate aquifer characterization. A multiple year assessment based on land use change and climate variation could further highlights the difference between the study areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Effect of Multiple Stresses, Organic Amendment and Compaction, on the Fate and Impact of Isoproturon in Soil
Environments 2020, 7(10), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100079 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
Organic matter decline and compaction are two major processes of soil degradation. Organic amendment is a current practice to compensate the loss of organic matter, which could in addition contribute to increase soil aggregate stability and limit compaction. Therefore, the objective of this [...] Read more.
Organic matter decline and compaction are two major processes of soil degradation. Organic amendment is a current practice to compensate the loss of organic matter, which could in addition contribute to increase soil aggregate stability and limit compaction. Therefore, the objective of this work was to study the effect of multiple physico-chemical stresses, organic amendment (compost of sewage sludge and green waste) addition and soil compaction, on the fate and impact (measured through the urease enzyme activity) of isoproturon. Compost addition and compaction did not significantly affect the fate and impact of isoproturon. The lack of effect of compost can be due to the delay between soil sampling and soil amendment. Compaction had no effect probably because the porosity reduction does not affect the habitable pore space accessible to degrading microorganisms. Nevertheless, isoproturon significantly increased the urease enzyme activity in compacted and not compacted unamended soils contrary to the amended ones. It seems that the organic amendment could act as a buffer with regards to the impact of isoproturon. The results obtained in this work suggest that, in general, the fate and impact of isoproturon in soils will not change following compaction and/or organic amendment addition, neither the corresponding risks for the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Description of a Decentralized Small Scale Digester for Treating Organic Wastes
Environments 2020, 7(10), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100078 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 944
Abstract
This manuscript deals with the detailed design of a small digestion prototype intended as a commercial unit fully operational to cover the demand for decentralized treatment of wastes. These plants are highly affected by the complex nature of wastes giving rise to different [...] Read more.
This manuscript deals with the detailed design of a small digestion prototype intended as a commercial unit fully operational to cover the demand for decentralized treatment of wastes. These plants are highly affected by the complex nature of wastes giving rise to different operating problems that should be considered in detail. This paper describes the design and start-up strategy of a small-scale digestion plant with a volume of 8 m3 designed to operate with a hydrolysis pretreatment unit. The plant was designed to treat fruit and vegetable wastes as substrates derived from a local processing food factory. The performance of the plant during fed-batch operation was reported. The strategy of inoculating the reactor only to a third of its original volume and subsequently increasing the volume of the reactor by using the fed-batch mode was inadequate. The acid pH of the feeding substrate resulted in the application of a low organic loading rate with a volumetric variation of just 19.7 L/d. The performance of the plant was evaluated at non-steady state conditions and resulted in excessive destruction of volatile solids due to the low nitrogen content of the feeding substrate. The prototype reported a specific methane production of 232 L/kg volatile solids despite the low feeding rate supplemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small-Scale Anaerobic Digestion for Biogas Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Variability in Phytoplankton Bloom Phenology in Eastern Canadian Lakes Related to Physiographic, Morphologic, and Climatic Drivers
Environments 2020, 7(10), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100077 - 27 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1098
Abstract
Phytoplankton bloom monitoring in freshwaters is a challenging task, particularly when biomass is dominated by buoyant cyanobacterial communities that present complex spatiotemporal patterns. Increases in bloom frequency or intensity and their earlier onset in spring were shown to be linked to multiple anthropogenic [...] Read more.
Phytoplankton bloom monitoring in freshwaters is a challenging task, particularly when biomass is dominated by buoyant cyanobacterial communities that present complex spatiotemporal patterns. Increases in bloom frequency or intensity and their earlier onset in spring were shown to be linked to multiple anthropogenic disturbances, including climate change. The aim of the present study was to describe the phenology of phytoplankton blooms and its potential link with morphological, physiographic, anthropogenic, and climatic characteristics of the lakes and their watershed. The spatiotemporal dynamics of near-surface blooms were studied on 580 lakes in southern Quebec (Eastern Canada) over a 17-year period by analyzing chlorophyll-a concentrations gathered from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite images. Results show a significant increase by 23% in bloom frequency across all studied lakes between 2000 and 2016. The first blooms of the year appeared increasingly early over this period but only by 3 days (median date changing from 6 June to 3 June). Results also indicate that high biomass values are often reached, but the problem is seldom extended to the entire lake surface. The canonical correlation analysis between phenological variables and environmental variables shows that higher frequency and intensity of phytoplankton blooms and earlier onset date occurred for smaller watersheds and higher degree-days, lake surface area, and proportion of urban zones. This study provides a regional picture of lake trophic state over a wide variety of lacustrine environments in Quebec, a detailed phenology allowing to go beyond local biomass assessments, and the first steps on the development of an approach exploiting regional trends for local pattern assessments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Areas Suitable to Grow Some Key Crops in New Jersey, USA
Environments 2020, 7(10), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100076 - 26 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
We used the Climate Change and Adaptation Modeler (CCAM), a Terrset software toolset, to project the effects of global climate change on crops in New Jersey. We selected two scenarios—A1FI-MI and B1TME. We found that temperatures will increase by the end of this [...] Read more.
We used the Climate Change and Adaptation Modeler (CCAM), a Terrset software toolset, to project the effects of global climate change on crops in New Jersey. We selected two scenarios—A1FI-MI and B1TME. We found that temperatures will increase by the end of this century compared to 1981–2010 normal temperatures baseline downloaded from PRISM. The temperature increase will vary from 3 to 6 °C depending upon the scenario while the precipitation remains relatively the same. These changes will negatively affect the suitability of many economically valuable crops in New Jersey including blueberry, cranberry, squash, sweet corn and tomato. Many crops that are highly or very suitable will move into marginal or very marginal categories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic of Vegetation and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping of GIS-Land Use Suitability in the Rural–Urban Continuum between Ar Riyadh and Al Kharj Cities, KSA Based on the Integrating GIS Multi Criteria Decision Analysis and Analytic Hierarchy Process
Environments 2020, 7(10), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100075 - 26 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1179
Abstract
The management of land use in big cities and capitals and the surrounding adjacent urban aggregates is still of major importance in the field of urban development, especially in cities with populations of millions and various types of land uses and economic activities. [...] Read more.
The management of land use in big cities and capitals and the surrounding adjacent urban aggregates is still of major importance in the field of urban development, especially in cities with populations of millions and various types of land uses and economic activities. The rural–urban continuum between the cities of Ar Riyadh and Al Kharj suffers from an unclear general land use trend, due to urban expansion at the expense of the agriculture lands, the imbalance of the population compound, the deterioration of the urban fabric, lack and poor distribution of services, and the dominance of industrial land use at the expense of other uses. These factors have led to an increase in environmental changes and loss of the environmental and ecological characteristics of this area between Ar Riyadh and Al Kharj. The present study aims at evaluating the land use suitability for urban development in the rural–urban continuum between Ar Riyadh and Al Kharj cities. This is achieved by using the GIS-based Multi Criteria decision Analysis (GIS-MCDA) on twelve various economic, environmental, urban, and law criteria. The weights of criteria were determined using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method. The results of the spatial suitability map of the land use for sustainable urban development revealed that there are five categories of spatial suitability ranging in suitability from 32% to 86%. The recommended areas for sustainable urban development are those with a spatial suitability upwards of 70% in the rural–urban continuum corridor between Ar Riyadh and Al Kharj cities. The sustainable development in this corridor can be achieved by executing high priority projects that ensure and support the urban sustainable development plan through establishing four local urban development centers and upgrading four current villages to rural communities, aiming at strengthening the functional bonds between the rural communities and the local urban development centers. These projects will limit the sustainable urban development to specific areas without allowing random expansion, avoiding the urban conjugation of the two Ar Riyadh and Al Kharj cities through the connecting area between them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geospatial Technology for Land Restoration and Planning)
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Open AccessArticle
Techno-Economic Assessment of CHP Systems in Wastewater Treatment Plants
Environments 2020, 7(10), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100074 - 26 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1373
Abstract
Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) utilization of combined heat and power (CHP) systems allows for the efficient use of on-site biogas production, as well as increased annual savings in utility costs. In this paper, a review of biogas energy recovery options, CHP prime mover [...] Read more.
Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) utilization of combined heat and power (CHP) systems allows for the efficient use of on-site biogas production, as well as increased annual savings in utility costs. In this paper, a review of biogas energy recovery options, CHP prime mover technologies, and the costs associated with biogas cleaning give a broad summary of the current state of CHP technology in WWTPs. Even though there are six different prime mover technologies, the main ones currently being implemented in WWTPs are micro turbines, fuel cells and reciprocating engines. Different prime movers offer varying efficiencies, installation costs, and biogas impurity (H2S, siloxanes, HCl) tolerances. To evaluate the long-term savings capabilities, a techno-economic assessment of a CHP installation at a case study WWTP shows the payback, annual savings, and initial costs associated with the installation of a CHP system. In this case, a study a payback of 5.7 years and a net present value of USD 709,000 can be achieved when the WWTP generates over 2,000,000 m3 of biogas per year and utilizes over 36,000 GJ of natural gas per year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollution Prevention/Environmental Sustainability for Industry)
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Open AccessReview
The Way of Macroplastic through the Environment
Environments 2020, 7(10), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100073 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1664
Abstract
With the focus on microplastic in current research, macroplastic is often not further considered. Thus, this review paper is the first to analyse the entry paths, accumulation zones, and sinks of macroplastic in the aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric environment by presenting transport paths [...] Read more.
With the focus on microplastic in current research, macroplastic is often not further considered. Thus, this review paper is the first to analyse the entry paths, accumulation zones, and sinks of macroplastic in the aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric environment by presenting transport paths and concentrations in the environment as well as related risks. This is done by applying the Source–Pathway–Receptor model on macroplastic in the environment. Based on this model, the life cycle of macroplastic is structurally described, and knowledge gaps are identified. Hence, current research aspects on macroplastic as well as a sound delimitation between macro- and microplastic that can be applied to future research are indicated. The results can be used as basic information for further research and show a qualitative assessment of the impact of macroplastic that ends up in the environment and accumulates there. Furthermore, the applied model allows for the first time a quantitative and structured approach to macroplastic in the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioplastics in the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Adsorption/Desorption Patterns of Selenium for Acid and Alkaline Soils of Xerothermic Environments
Environments 2020, 7(10), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100072 - 24 Sep 2020
Viewed by 908
Abstract
Selenium adsorption/desorption behavior was examined for eight Greek top soils with different properties, aiming to describe the geochemistry of the elements in the selected soils in terms of bioavailability and contamination risk by leaching. Four soils were acid and four alkaline, and metal [...] Read more.
Selenium adsorption/desorption behavior was examined for eight Greek top soils with different properties, aiming to describe the geochemistry of the elements in the selected soils in terms of bioavailability and contamination risk by leaching. Four soils were acid and four alkaline, and metal oxides content greatly differed between the two groups of soils. The concentrations of Se(IV) used for the performed adsorption batch experiments ranged from 1 to 50 mg/L, while the soil to solution ratio was 1 g/0.03 L. Acid soils adsorbed significantly higher amounts of the added Se(IV) than alkaline soils. Freundlich and Langmuir equations adequately described the adsorption of Se(IV) in the studied soils, and the parameters of both isotherms significantly correlated with soil properties. In particular, both KF and qm values significantly positively correlated with ammonium oxalate extractable Fe and with dithionite extractable Al and Mn, suggesting that amorphous Fe oxides and Al and Mn oxides greatly affect exogenous Se(IV) adsorption in the eight soils. These two parameters were also significantly negatively correlated with soil electrical conductivity (EC) values, indicating that increased soluble salts concentration suppresses Se(IV) adsorption. No significant relation between adsorbed Se(IV) and soil organic content was recorded. A weak salt (0.25 M KCl) was used at the same soil to solution ratio to extract the amount of the adsorbed Se(IV) that is easily exchangeable and thus highly available in the soil ecosystem. A much higher Se(IV) desorption from alkaline soils was observed, pointing to the stronger retention of added Se(IV) by the acid soils. This result implies that in acid soils surface complexes on metal oxides may have been formed restricting Se desorption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Contamination by Heavy Metals and Metalloids)
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