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Environments, Volume 7, Issue 8 (August 2020) – 9 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Constructed wetlands serve functions of water treatment and nutrient removal with the additional benefit of animal habitat restoration. These two functions can serve cross-purposes when animal species excrete allochthonous nutrients at the wetland. The research herein quantified the addition of uric acid and monobasic urate throughout the flow train of treatment wetlands. The nutrient abatement processes of the wetland were found to also remediate the additional uric acid and urate ion. View this paper
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10 pages, 973 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Microaeration and Sound to Increase Biogas Production from Poultry Litter
by John Loughrin, Stacy Antle, Michael Bryant, Zachary Berry and Nanh Lovanh
Environments 2020, 7(8), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080062 - 16 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3502
Abstract
Microaeration, wherein small amounts of air are introduced into otherwise anaerobic digesters, has been shown to enhance biogas production. This occurs by fostering the growth of facultatively aerobic bacteria and production of enzymes that enhance the degradation of complex polymers such as cellulose. [...] Read more.
Microaeration, wherein small amounts of air are introduced into otherwise anaerobic digesters, has been shown to enhance biogas production. This occurs by fostering the growth of facultatively aerobic bacteria and production of enzymes that enhance the degradation of complex polymers such as cellulose. The treatment of anaerobic digestate with sound at sonic frequencies (<20 kHz) has also been shown to improve biogas production. Microaeration at a rate of 800 mL day−1, treatment with a 1000-Hz sine wave, and combined microaeration/sound were compared to a control digester for the production of biogas and their effect on wastewater quality. Poultry litter from a facility using wood chips as bedding was used as feed. The initial feeding rate was 400 g week−1, and this was slowly increased to a final rate of 2400 g week−1. Compared to the control, sound treatment, aeration, and combined sound/aeration produced 17%, 32%, and 28% more biogas. The aeration alone treatment may have been more effective than combined aeration/sound due to the sound interfering with retention of aeration or the formation of free radicals during cavitation. Digesters treated with sound had the highest concentrations of suspended solids, likely due to cavitation occurring within the sludge and the resulting suspension of fine particles by bubbles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small-Scale Anaerobic Digestion for Biogas Production)
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18 pages, 2033 KiB  
Article
Indoor and Outdoor Design in Healthcare Environments: The Employees’ Views in the General University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Greece
by Paraskevi Karanikola, Veronika Andrea, Stilianos Tampakis and Anastasia Tsolakidou
Environments 2020, 7(8), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080061 - 9 Aug 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 6281
Abstract
Healthcare environments should be designed and operate as healing places for all their users. Therefore, the design of outdoor and indoor spaces, has to be oriented towards distressing solutions. The employees’ occupational stress affects their feelings and in turn their services they provide. [...] Read more.
Healthcare environments should be designed and operate as healing places for all their users. Therefore, the design of outdoor and indoor spaces, has to be oriented towards distressing solutions. The employees’ occupational stress affects their feelings and in turn their services they provide. Thus, this study aimed at the evaluation of the General University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Greece according to its employees’ views. With the use of two step cluster analysis and the hierarchical cluster analysis, important findings were derived, concerning the interior and landscape design of the healthcare environment. The hospital indoor and outdoor spaces were investigated in relation with environmental parameters and psychological effects on their users. The results have shown a lack of the appropriate green spaces—even though their beneficial role was acknowledged—and marginal satisfaction with available spaces. Conclusively, it should be noted that there is still room for improvements in both interior and outdoor premises of the hospital to reduce stress levels, especially for its nursing staff. Full article
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12 pages, 3502 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Non-Anthropogenic Addition of Uric Acid to a Water Treatment Wetlands
by Joseph Welch, Vanessa Simmons, Eduardo Meléndez, Mark Sees, Yolanda Gold and Emily C. Heider
Environments 2020, 7(8), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080060 - 5 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3694
Abstract
Artificial water-treatment wetlands can reduce nitrogen and phosphorous nutrient concentrations in wastewater effluent to improve water quality and decrease eutrophication in natural waters. The Orlando Easterly Wetlands (OEW) is an engineered wetland that polishes 57 million liters of wastewater per day, lowering the [...] Read more.
Artificial water-treatment wetlands can reduce nitrogen and phosphorous nutrient concentrations in wastewater effluent to improve water quality and decrease eutrophication in natural waters. The Orlando Easterly Wetlands (OEW) is an engineered wetland that polishes 57 million liters of wastewater per day, lowering the total nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations through biological, physical, and chemical processes. In addition to purifying the water, the wetlands provide habitat for avian, mammalian, reptilian and macroinvertebrate species. Previous research has shown that avian species affect the eutrophication of agricultural reservoirs near their roost. The research herein quantifies uric acid in avian and reptilian excretory product and tracks its concentration profile throughout the OEW over a seven-month period. This measure of the non-anthropogenic contribution to nitrogen within the park includes winter months when large numbers of migratory birds occupy the wetland. The enzymatic decomposition of uric acid and the subsequent fluorimetric analysis were used to quantify uric acid throughout the flow train of the OEW. High concentrations of 2–4 mg/L uric acid were found in the influent, but drastically declined to concentrations below 0.2 mg/L in the effluent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treatment Wetlands)
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19 pages, 1564 KiB  
Article
From Boiling to Frozen? The Rise and Fall of International Tourism to Iceland in the Era of Overtourism
by Anna Dóra Sæþórsdóttir, C. Michael Hall and Margrét Wendt
Environments 2020, 7(8), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080059 - 3 Aug 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 11975
Abstract
Overtourism has emerged as a common concept to describe the perceived negative impacts that large numbers of tourists can have on destinations. Iceland is one of the destinations which has been most associated with the concept of overtourism. Tourism in Iceland grew rapidly [...] Read more.
Overtourism has emerged as a common concept to describe the perceived negative impacts that large numbers of tourists can have on destinations. Iceland is one of the destinations which has been most associated with the concept of overtourism. Tourism in Iceland grew rapidly from 2010 to 2019, much higher than in most other countries, with Iceland reaching a ranking as high as thirteenth on a list of countries with the highest ratio of tourists per inhabitant. The increase in visitors to the country has had various impacts on Iceland’s economy, society and environment. This paper provides an overview of the different ways in which overtourism has revealed itself at a national level in Iceland. The implications of supposed overtourism are shown to be complex, with management responses limited by their relative focus. Full article
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13 pages, 2479 KiB  
Article
Multi-Scale Modeling and Study of Aerosol Growth in an Amine-based CO2 Capture Absorber
by Jia-Lin Kang, Kuan-Ting Liu, David Shan-Hill Wong, Shi-Shang Jang and De-Hao Tsai
Environments 2020, 7(8), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080058 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3449
Abstract
A monoethanolamine (MEA) aerosol growth model was developed to quantify the aerosol growth factor in an amine-based CO2 capture absorber that considers the gas-liquid interactions, and it is empirically validated by measuring the aerosol particle size and concentration. The aerosol growth model, [...] Read more.
A monoethanolamine (MEA) aerosol growth model was developed to quantify the aerosol growth factor in an amine-based CO2 capture absorber that considers the gas-liquid interactions, and it is empirically validated by measuring the aerosol particle size and concentration. The aerosol growth model, using sucrose as the aerosol nuclei instead of sulfuric acid to prevent the corrosion of the test equipment, accurately predicted that the outlet aerosol size increased to the same level regardless of the sucrose concentration. It also found that particle concentration was the primary factor affecting aerosol growth and amine emissions. We found an inverse relationship between aerosol particle concentration and the aerosol size, while the MEA emissions were proportional to particle concentration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deployment of Green Technologies for Sustainable Environment)
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14 pages, 6312 KiB  
Review
Fire as a Selection Agent for the Dissemination of Invasive Species: Case Study on the Evolution of Forest Coverage
by Leonel J. R. Nunes, Mauro A. M. Raposo, Catarina I. R. Meireles, Carlos J. Pinto Gomes and Nuno M. C. Almeida Ribeiro
Environments 2020, 7(8), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080057 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3905
Abstract
Climate change has enhanced the occurrence of rural fires, since changes in the hydrological cycle have led to the occurrence of increasingly long and frequent periods of drought. This recurrence of rural fires in Portugal, in turn, has led to the successive elimination [...] Read more.
Climate change has enhanced the occurrence of rural fires, since changes in the hydrological cycle have led to the occurrence of increasingly long and frequent periods of drought. This recurrence of rural fires in Portugal, in turn, has led to the successive elimination of vast areas traditionally occupied by native species or species of economic interest, which are being successively replaced by new species with invasive behavior. Among these, Acacia dealbata stands out for its dispersion capacity and for the area it has already occupied. In the present work, which reviews the evolution of forest cover over the last 18,000 years in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, we intend to demonstrate that fire acts as a species selection agent and that it enhances the development of heliophile and pyrophyte species. For this purpose, an area of the municipality of Seia was selected, more specifically Casal do Rei, where the development of Acacia dealbata forests is monitored. In the end, it was concluded that, in fact, by analyzing the ages of the specimens present in these populations, fire acts as a selection agent by freeing up the space previously occupied by other species, opening the way for the growth of heliophiles and pyrophytes invasive species while enhancing their germination. Full article
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12 pages, 1533 KiB  
Article
Economic Valuation of Green Infrastructure Investments in Urban Renewal: The Case of the Station District in Taichung, Taiwan
by Kuo-Wei Hsu and Jen-Chih Chao
Environments 2020, 7(8), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080056 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5072
Abstract
The extreme weather conditions that are increasingly affecting Taiwan require urgent solutions, especially as land-use pressures and intensive urban development are triggering new types of vulnerability to natural disasters. Green infrastructure is an especially promising means of enhancing the resilience of urban environments, [...] Read more.
The extreme weather conditions that are increasingly affecting Taiwan require urgent solutions, especially as land-use pressures and intensive urban development are triggering new types of vulnerability to natural disasters. Green infrastructure is an especially promising means of enhancing the resilience of urban environments, as well as their residents’ quality of life. However, due to the indirect nature of green investment, the economic value of green infrastructure is not adequately reflected in market prices, and novel methods of economic valuation are needed to ascertain their value. To fulfill that need, this study conducts a cost–benefit analysis of investment in green infrastructure related to urban renewal and identifies economic factors that could directly and indirectly increase environmental quality and promote sustainable development. The main finding of this work is that the increased cost of a green approach for a particular urban-renewal infrastructure project in Taiwan could be recouped in approximately eight years. Specifically, version of the plan based on green infrastructure would cost an additional US $9.2 million up front, but its positive impact would be greater than the non-green version by US $1.2 million per year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deployment of Green Technologies for Sustainable Environment)
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10 pages, 2693 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Copper and Zinc Contents of Soils in the Vineyards of La Rioja (Spain)
by Victoria Iñigo, Alvaro Marín, Marisol Andrades and Raimundo Jiménez-Ballesta
Environments 2020, 7(8), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080055 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3543
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the concentrations of Cu and Zn in soils in the vineyards of La Rioja and to calculate reference values for the two elements. Samples were taken from the surface horizon (0–20 cm) and the subsurface [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the concentrations of Cu and Zn in soils in the vineyards of La Rioja and to calculate reference values for the two elements. Samples were taken from the surface horizon (0–20 cm) and the subsurface horizon (40–60 cm) in 106 locations. Some physico-chemical properties were analyzed along with the total and bioavailable contents of these elements. Various statistical parameters were calculated, and distribution maps were then created using the ordinary-Kriging method. The Cu content was in the range of 2.46–121.52 mg kg–1, and the Zn content was 9.05–125.67 mg kg–1. These values fell within the normal ranges in comparison with other areas of Spain and the rest of Europe. The concentrations in the surface and in the subsurface were compared; in the case of Cu, the concentration was higher at the surface, whereas significant differences in the vertical distribution of Zn were not observed. Both metals had a heterogeneous distribution across the entire area of study. In the case of Zn, the similarity of the maps between surface and depth was verified, while the case of Cu was different. The main source of these metals was the parent material from which the soil had been formed, but in the case of Cu, maps showed increased Cu at the surface, which was especially marked at certain points and seemed to indicate the presence of an exogenous contribution at these locations. That means that the copper concentrations in the topsoil resulted from the yearlong grapevine protection with copper-based agents. Reference values were calculated to be 85.28 and 48.88 mg kg–1 of Cu and 83.69 and 72.05 mg kg–1 for Zn at the surface and at depth, respectively. Full article
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16 pages, 3149 KiB  
Article
Alleviation of Cadmium Adverse Effects by Improving Nutrients Uptake in Bitter Gourd through Cadmium Tolerant Rhizobacteria
by Muhammad Zafar-ul-Hye, Muhammad Naeem, Subhan Danish, Shah Fahad, Rahul Datta, Mazhar Abbas, Ashfaq Ahmad Rahi, Martin Brtnicky, Jiří Holátko, Zahid Hassan Tarar and Muhammad Nasir
Environments 2020, 7(8), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7080054 - 26 Jul 2020
Cited by 81 | Viewed by 5936
Abstract
Cadmium is acute toxicity inducing heavy metal that significantly decreases the yield of crops. Due to high water solubility, it reaches the plant tissue and disturbs the uptake of macronutrients. Low uptake of nutrients in the presence of cadmium is a well-documented fact [...] Read more.
Cadmium is acute toxicity inducing heavy metal that significantly decreases the yield of crops. Due to high water solubility, it reaches the plant tissue and disturbs the uptake of macronutrients. Low uptake of nutrients in the presence of cadmium is a well-documented fact due to its antagonistic relationship with those nutrients, i.e., potassium. Furthermore, cadmium stressed plant produced a higher amount of endogenous stress ethylene, which induced negative effects on yield. However, inoculation of 1-amino cyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase (ACCD), producing plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), can catabolize this stress ethylene and immobilized heavy metals to mitigate cadmium adverse effects. We conducted a study to examine the influence of ACCD PGPR on nutrients uptake and yield of bitter gourd under cadmium toxicity. Cadmium tolerant PGPRs, i.e., Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Agrobacterium fabrum were inoculated solely and in combination with recommended nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers (RNPKF) applied under different concentration of soil cadmium (2 and 5 mg kg−1 soil). Results showed that A. fabrum with RNPKF showed significant positive response towards an increase in the number of bitter gourds per plant (34% and 68%), fruit length (19% and 29%), bitter gourd yield (26.5% and 21.1%), N (48% and 56%), and K (72% and 55%) concentration from the control at different concentrations of soil cadmium (2 and 5 mg kg−1 soil), respectively. In conclusion, we suggest that A. fabrum with RNPKF can more efficaciously enhance N, K, and yield of bitter gourd under cadmium toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Contamination by Heavy Metals and Metalloids)
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