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Environments, Volume 7, Issue 5 (May 2020) – 7 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Developments in heat recovery from municipal sewage and community-based wastewater treatment have [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Centralized and Decentralized Recycle Policy with Transboundary Pollution
Environments 2020, 7(5), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050040 - 24 May 2020
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Abstract
In this study, under the existence of unilateral cross-border environmental pollution in two regions, a complete information dynamic game theory is constructed to discuss the environmental policy (recycling fee and treatment subsidy) formulation of the central government by two local governments. As a [...] Read more.
In this study, under the existence of unilateral cross-border environmental pollution in two regions, a complete information dynamic game theory is constructed to discuss the environmental policy (recycling fee and treatment subsidy) formulation of the central government by two local governments. As a result, it was found that the spillover effect will reduce the level of social welfare. At the same time, the intervention of the central government and the adoption of policies tailored to local conditions will be conducive to the improvement of social welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollution Prevention/Environmental Sustainability for Industry)
Open AccessArticle
Control of Invasive Forest Species through the Creation of a Value Chain: Acacia dealbata Biomass Recovery
Environments 2020, 7(5), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050039 - 20 May 2020
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Abstract
In Portugal, some species are now considered invasive by law and have proliferated in recent years. Among these, Acacia dealbata stands out. This work investigated the behavior of this species, in order to characterize and evaluate its potential as raw material for biomass [...] Read more.
In Portugal, some species are now considered invasive by law and have proliferated in recent years. Among these, Acacia dealbata stands out. This work investigated the behavior of this species, in order to characterize and evaluate its potential as raw material for biomass pellets production, while controlling its proliferation. It was found that A. dealbata has a large capacity for raw material supply, as cutting 2 ha resulted in about 140 tons of biomass. Thus, the attribution of a market value for this material could result in a reduction in the area occupied by the invasive species, once the demand for it increases, causing a pressure over the resource. This pressure on the species must be duly followed by other control measures, such as reducing the population and mitigating its proliferation. Laboratory tests have shown that both the raw material and the finished product are similar to those obtained with other species normally used for biomass pellet production, such as Pinus pinaster and Eucalyptus globulus. Thus, it can be concluded that there is a high potential for this species in the production of biomass pellets for energy, and that this may be an important contribution to controlling the proliferation of this invasive species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Plastic Pollution in Soils: Governance Approaches to Foster Soil Health and Closed Nutrient Cycles
Environments 2020, 7(5), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050038 - 20 May 2020
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Abstract
Plastic pollution in soils pose a major threat to soil health and soil fertility that are directly linked to food security and human health. In contrast to marine plastic pollution, this ubiquitous problem is thus far scientifically poorly understood and policy approaches that [...] Read more.
Plastic pollution in soils pose a major threat to soil health and soil fertility that are directly linked to food security and human health. In contrast to marine plastic pollution, this ubiquitous problem is thus far scientifically poorly understood and policy approaches that tackle plastic pollution in soils comprehensively do not exist. In this article, we apply a qualitative governance analysis to assess the effectiveness of existing policy instruments to avoid harmful plastic pollution in (agricultural) soils against the background of international environmental agreements. In particular, environmental and fertiliser legislation relevant to soil protection in the European Union and in Germany are assessed. Regulatory weaknesses and gaps of the respective legislation are identified, and proposals for enhanced command-and-control provisions developed. However, the legal analysis furthermore shows that plastic pollution ecologically is also a problem of quantity, which is difficult to solve exclusively through command-and-control legislation. Instead, comprehensive quantity-control instruments to phase out fossil fuels (worldwide and in all sectors) as required by climate protection law can be effective approaches to tackle plastic pollution in environmental media like agricultural soils as well. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Vehicular Emission: Estimate of Air Pollutants to Guide Local Political Choices. A Case Study
Environments 2020, 7(5), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050037 - 16 May 2020
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Abstract
The aim of this case study was to show how, with the use of software, is it possible to carry out a preventive screening of vehicular emissions. Moreover, thanks to this preliminary analysis, some areas that are potentially polluted can be identified in [...] Read more.
The aim of this case study was to show how, with the use of software, is it possible to carry out a preventive screening of vehicular emissions. Moreover, thanks to this preliminary analysis, some areas that are potentially polluted can be identified in advance and suitable samplings on small-scale on them would help to verify the effectiveness of policies that can be adopted for the reduction of pollution. To this end, this paper reports a case study on vehicle traffic pollution in Calabria, a region in the south of Italy. We used the methodology called Corinair (Coordination Information AIR), developed by the EEA (European Environment Agency) and uses the software Copert4 (Computer Program to calculate Emission from Road Traffic). The total emissions per area were analyzed and the emissions for particular pollutants per unit area (km²) and per citizen were considered. The obsolete vehicles determined a substantial impact on the local atmospheric pollution. It was demonstrated how it is possible to substantially reduce the pollution of an area by adopting policies that encourage, for example, through tax concessions, the replacement of old cars of private citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring of Pollutants)
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Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Assessment of Community-Based Sewer Mining: Integrated Heat Recovery and Fit-For-Purpose Water Reuse
Environments 2020, 7(5), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050036 - 14 May 2020
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Abstract
Municipal sewage contains significant embedded resources in the form of chemical and thermal energy. Recent developments in sustainable technology have pushed for the integration of resource recovery from household wastewater to achieve net zero energy consumption and carbon-neutral communities. Sewage heat recovery and [...] Read more.
Municipal sewage contains significant embedded resources in the form of chemical and thermal energy. Recent developments in sustainable technology have pushed for the integration of resource recovery from household wastewater to achieve net zero energy consumption and carbon-neutral communities. Sewage heat recovery and fit-for-purpose water reuse are options to optimize the resource recovery potential of municipal wastewater. This study presents a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) focused on global warming potential (GWP), eutrophication potential (EUP), and human health carcinogenic potential (HHCP) of an integrated sewage heat recovery and water reuse system for a hypothetical community of 30,000 people. Conventional space and water heating components generally demonstrated the highest GWP contribution between the different system components evaluated. Sewage-heat-recovery-based district heating offered better environmental performance overall. Lower impact contributions were demonstrated by scenarios with a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and chlorination prior to water reuse applications compared to scenarios that use more traditional water and wastewater treatment technologies and discharge. The LCA findings show that integrating MBR wastewater treatment and water reuse into a district heating schema could provide additional environmental savings at a community scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water and Energy Consumption in Urban Water Cycles)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Energy-Based CO2 Emission and Workers’ Health Risks at the Shipbreaking Industries in Bangladesh
Environments 2020, 7(5), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050035 - 30 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1483
Abstract
The study represents the estimation of energy-based CO2 emission and the health risks of workers involved in the shipbreaking industries in Sitakunda, Bangladesh. To calculate the carbon emission (CE) from three shipbreaking activities, i.e., metal gas cutting (GC), diesel fuel (FU) and [...] Read more.
The study represents the estimation of energy-based CO2 emission and the health risks of workers involved in the shipbreaking industries in Sitakunda, Bangladesh. To calculate the carbon emission (CE) from three shipbreaking activities, i.e., metal gas cutting (GC), diesel fuel (FU) and electricity consumption (EC), we used the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Emission and Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) emission factors. Moreover, the geographic weighted regression (GWR) model was applied to assess the contribution of influencing factors of CE throughout the sampling points. To assess the workers’ health condition and their perceptions on environmental degradation, a semi-structured questionnaire survey among 118 respondents were performed. The results showed that total CO2 emissions from GC were 0.12 megatons (MT), 11.43 MT, and 41.39 MT for daily, monthly, and yearly respectively, and the values were significantly higher than the surrounding control area. Emissions from the FU were estimated as daily: 0.85 MT, monthly: 1.92 MT, and yearly: 17.91 MT, which were significantly higher than EC. The study also revealed that workers were very susceptible to accidental hazards especially death (91%), and pollution (79%). Environmental consequences and health risks of the workers in shipbreaking industry warrant more attention nationally and internationally at the industry-level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Environmental Monitoring in an Arctic Lake Polluted by Metals under Climate Change
Environments 2020, 7(5), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7050034 - 29 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Lake Kuetsjarvi (in the lower reaches of the Pasvik River, Murmansk Region, Russia) in the border area between Russia and Norway, is one of the most polluted water reservoirs in the European Arctic. The operation of the Pechenganikel Smelter located on its shores [...] Read more.
Lake Kuetsjarvi (in the lower reaches of the Pasvik River, Murmansk Region, Russia) in the border area between Russia and Norway, is one of the most polluted water reservoirs in the European Arctic. The operation of the Pechenganikel Smelter located on its shores has led to the extremely high concentrations of heavy metals observed in the waters and sediments of the lake. Long-term comprehensive studies of the ecosystem of Lake Kuetsjarvi have made it possible to identify the response of its components to the global and regional change in the environment and climate as a whole, resulting in increased water toxicity and eutrophication, reduction in the number of stenobiont species of aquatic organisms against the background of an increase in the number of eurybiontic and invasive species. Modern communities of Lake Kuetsjarvi are the result of a combination of long-term changes in the abiotic environment and biotic interactions. Heavy-metal pollution of Lake Kuetsjarvi, observed since the 1930s, has led to the formation of a community that is resistant to this type of impact and supports large populations of adapted species. Adaptations of communities to the dynamics of the environmental conditions that their members are exposed to include changes in the species composition, quantitative indicators, ratios between individual taxonomic groups, and the population structure. The development of sympatric forms that differ in the ecological niches they occupy, morphology, and life cycle strategies, including the transition to a short-cycle survival strategy, allows whitefish to remain the dominant species and maintain high population numbers. Unlike the organismal level, responses to medium-term environmental changes on the population and community level are less specific and characterized by stronger inertia. Full article
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