Next Issue
Volume 9, November
Previous Issue
Volume 9, September
 
 
Due to planned maintenance work on our platforms, there might be short service disruptions on Saturday, December 3rd, between 15:00 and 16:00 (CET).

Environments, Volume 9, Issue 10 (October 2022) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Water is the basis of all life on this planet. Water can become unsafe due to contamination by various organic and inorganic compounds. It is still challenging to identify and monitor water quality changes in space and time, especially when contamination events occur over large geographic areas. This study investigates recent advancements in remote sensing that allow us to detect and monitor the unique spectral characteristics of three critical water quality events over large areas: algal blooms, acid mine drainage, and suspended solids. The findings of this review will help stakeholders to utilize, share, and embed satellite-derived Earth observations to monitor and track the ever-evolving water quality in the Earth’s freshwater reserves. View this paper
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Review
Nickel in the Environment: Bioremediation Techniques for Soils with Low or Moderate Contamination in European Union
Environments 2022, 9(10), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100133 - 21 Oct 2022
Abstract
The review deals with the environmental problem caused by low or moderate nickel concentrations in soils. The main effects of this potentially toxic element on the soil biota and the most common crop species are addressed. Moreover, the paper emphasises biological remediation methods [...] Read more.
The review deals with the environmental problem caused by low or moderate nickel concentrations in soils. The main effects of this potentially toxic element on the soil biota and the most common crop species are addressed. Moreover, the paper emphasises biological remediation methods against nickel pollution in European soils. The focus is on the well-accepted phytoremediation strategy alone or in combination with other more or less innovative bioremediation approaches such as microbial bioremediation, vermiremediation and the use of amendments and sequestrants. Results acquired in real field and laboratory experiments to fight against nickel contamination are summarised and compared. The main objective was to evidence the ability of the above natural techniques to reduce the nickel concentration in contaminated sites at a not-risky level. In conclusion, the examined works agree that the efficiency of phytoremediation could be implemented with co-remediation approaches, but further studies with clear and comparable indices are strongly recommended to meet the challenges for future application at a large scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Remediation)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Comparing Tourist and Tour Operator Perceptions of Tourists’ Impacts on the Environment in Tanzania
Environments 2022, 9(10), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100132 - 20 Oct 2022
Abstract
Tourism accounts for a substantial and increasing portion of the Sub-Saharan African economy. In Tanzania, the number of international tourist arrivals nearly doubled from 2010 to 2018, and many of them participated in nature-based tourism. In addition to the jobs and revenue created [...] Read more.
Tourism accounts for a substantial and increasing portion of the Sub-Saharan African economy. In Tanzania, the number of international tourist arrivals nearly doubled from 2010 to 2018, and many of them participated in nature-based tourism. In addition to the jobs and revenue created by tourism, it has both positive and negative impacts on a place’s environment. For example, it can fund conservation efforts, but it can also lead to deforestation from infrastructure development. This paper focuses on the environmental perceptions of tourists who traveled to Tanzania and tour operators working in the country. Environmental perception assesses an individual’s ability to recognize how they truly view and react to their environment. This study builds on the existing literature on tourist perceptions to compare three aspects of perceptions. First, it compares tourist perceptions of their personal environmental impact to the impacts of other tourists. Second, it compares tourist perceptions of their personal impacts to the perceptions of tour operators. Third, it compares how tourists perceive their behaviors at home to their behaviors while traveling. Using results from online surveys of 47 tourists and 16 tour operators, this study found that tourists attribute negative environmental impacts to others and positive impacts to themselves. It found similar gaps between tourist and tour operator perceptions, with tourists both over and underestimating their impacts compared to operator perceptions. It found that tourists are more proactive at minimizing their environmental impacts at home than away. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Quantifying Spatial and Temporal Trends of Microplastic Pollution in Surface Water and in the Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica for a Dynamic Florida Estuary
Environments 2022, 9(10), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100131 - 13 Oct 2022
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) are a ubiquitous pollutant, emphasizing the need to understand their abundance and the factors that influence these patterns around the globe. In a prior study, high numbers of MPs were found in surface waters and tissues of the oyster Crassostrea virginica [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) are a ubiquitous pollutant, emphasizing the need to understand their abundance and the factors that influence these patterns around the globe. In a prior study, high numbers of MPs were found in surface waters and tissues of the oyster Crassostrea virginica collected from one location in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL, FL, USA). To better understand spatial and temporal variability of MPs throughout the IRL, for one year, monthly surface water samples were collected from 35 sites, while oysters were collected quarterly from 12 sites. Microscopy and ATR-FTIR were used to quantify MP. In total, 3755 MPs were found in 44% of water samples (mean density ± CI: 1.47 ± 0.09 MP/L). South IRL water had the most MPs, likely associated with proximity to urbanization, inlets (MP sinks) and tributaries (MP sources). MP (n = 3181) were found in 70% of examined C. virginica (n = 1402). Abundances of MP in oysters were lower in the spring and in north IRL. The overall mean abundance was 2.26 ± 0.16 MP/oyster, and the density was 2.43 ± 0.52 MP/g wet tissue weight. Our results provide a more complete picture of MPs in the IRL, a subtropical, shallow-water estuarine system. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Intended and Unintended Consequences of Two Paradigms of Urban Planning, and Their Social Justice and Human Health Impacts, in Portland, Oregon
Environments 2022, 9(10), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100130 - 12 Oct 2022
Abstract
This article describes two contesting paradigms of urban planning employed successively in Portland, Oregon; (1) urban planning typical of the US in the first half of the 20th Century that was focused on traffic and infrastructure, and (2) progressive urban planning focused on [...] Read more.
This article describes two contesting paradigms of urban planning employed successively in Portland, Oregon; (1) urban planning typical of the US in the first half of the 20th Century that was focused on traffic and infrastructure, and (2) progressive urban planning focused on neighborhood livability and connections. It gives a history of their implementation in Portland, focusing on issues of racial and socioeconomic justice in the Albina neighborhood. Recent knowledge about air pollution’s impacts on human health, and infant and childhood development, are integrated into the discussion of urban planning. It describes racially and socioeconomically disproportionate access to urban green spaces, with the corresponding health implications. It also describes attempts to mitigate such health implications, sometimes resulting in “green gentrification” and displacement. The article asks if the results of the two paradigms of urban planning were objectively different from one another in terms of impacts on minority and disadvantaged communities. Future urban planning, and the need for human health concerns becoming central, are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Built Environment)
Article
Impacts of Climatic Variability on Agricultural Total Factor Productivity Growth in the Southern United States
Environments 2022, 9(10), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100129 - 11 Oct 2022
Abstract
This study investigates the impact of climatic variability on both agricultural production and total factor productivity (TFP) in the Southern United States (US). It also aims at identifying the drivers of productivity in this region. The analysis is tailored to inform decision makers [...] Read more.
This study investigates the impact of climatic variability on both agricultural production and total factor productivity (TFP) in the Southern United States (US). It also aims at identifying the drivers of productivity in this region. The analysis is tailored to inform decision makers about effective policy options to increase and sustain productivity in this important agricultural region. We use data from the US Department of Agriculture, National Climatic Data Center, and US Geological Survey to estimate alternative stochastic production frontier models. The estimated parameters are then analyzed and used to compute and decompose TFP into several measures of efficiency. The results show that agricultural production in the Southern US is more responsive to labor and has been increasing at a 1.13 percent rate annually. The findings also suggest that while precipitation, on average, has a positive and significant impact on productivity, intra-annual variation in both temperature and precipitation, which can be considered as anomalies, has a negative and significant impact on production. The impact of climatic effects on productivity across states is mixed and technological progress has been the main driver of TFP growth. Findings indicate that climatic variability is having a negative impact on agricultural productivity in the Southern US, similar in magnitude to the positive impact of irrigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Risk and Climate Change II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Differentiation between Impacted and Unimpacted Microbial Communities of a Nitrogen Contaminated Aquifer
Environments 2022, 9(10), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100128 - 09 Oct 2022
Abstract
Nitrogen contamination is ubiquitous across the globe; as a result of this, the need to understand and predict the extent and effects of nitrogen contamination on microbial ecosystems is increasingly important. This paper utilises a dataset that provides a rare opportunity to observe [...] Read more.
Nitrogen contamination is ubiquitous across the globe; as a result of this, the need to understand and predict the extent and effects of nitrogen contamination on microbial ecosystems is increasingly important. This paper utilises a dataset that provides a rare opportunity to observe varying contamination conditions in a single aquifer and understand the differences between potential background bores and two different types of contamination spread across the other bores. Using physicochemical and microbiological community analysis, this paper aims to determine the impacts of the two contaminants, nitrate and ammonia, on the microbial communities and the differences between polluted and physicochemical background bores. Total nitrogen (N) varied by a factor of over 2000 between bores, ranging from 0.07 to 155 mg L−1. Nitrate (NO3) concentrations ranged from 150 to <0.01 mg L−1; ammonium (NH4+) concentrations ranged from 26 to <0.1 mg L−1. MANOVA analysis confirmed an overall significant relationship (p = 0.0052) between N variables and the physicochemical data (or status) of the three areas of contamination dubbed ‘contamination zones’. The contamination zones were defined by no known presence of contamination in the uncontaminated bores, the presence of NO3 contamination and the presence of NO3 and NH4+ contamination. PERMANOVA analysis confirmed that there was an overall significant difference in the microbial communities between the three contamination zones (p = 0.0002); however, the presence of NH4+ had a significant effect (p = 0.0012). In general, the nitrate-contaminated bores showed a decrease in the abundance of individual OTUs. We further confirmed that NH4+ contamination had a significant relationship with an increased percentage of abundance occupied by the Planctomycetota phylum (specifically the Candidatus Brocadia genus). It was found that one of the two background bores (BS-004) was likely also representative of natural microbial background, and another (BS-002) showed characteristics that may be representative of past or intermittent contamination. This paper demonstrates a possible way to determine the microbial background and discusses the potential uses for this information. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Role of Altitude in Formation of Diatom Diversity of High Mountain Protected Glacier Lakes in the Kaçkar Mountains National Park, Rize, Turkey
Environments 2022, 9(10), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100127 - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
The benthic diatom assemblages of the glacier Avusor Great Lake and Koçdüzü Great Lake were investigated in August 2019. A total of 71 diatom species belonging to 34 genera were determined in the samples, 49 species from Avusor Great Lake and 37 from [...] Read more.
The benthic diatom assemblages of the glacier Avusor Great Lake and Koçdüzü Great Lake were investigated in August 2019. A total of 71 diatom species belonging to 34 genera were determined in the samples, 49 species from Avusor Great Lake and 37 from Koçdüzü Great Lake. Only 15 diatom species were common to both lakes. Total floristic similarity between the neighbouring lakes was only 21.12%. Genera with the highest number of species were Eunotia (8), Gomphonema (6), Pinnularia (6), Navicula (5) and Aulacoseira (4). The diatom flora of both lakes was formed by cosmopolitan species with a large influence from species in alpine and subalpine area. A comparison of the diatom assemblages of the investigated lakes showed differences in both relative abundance and species present in the individual lakes. Bioindicative analysis showed that the water of Koçdüzü Great Lake is more alkaline and less saturated with organic substances than Avusor Great Lake. In both lakes, the communities are composed of species adapted to living in the benthos of fresh waters of moderate temperature well enriched with oxygen. In both lakes, the water quality was Class 2 with a saprobity index of S = 1.08 in Avusor Great Lake and 0.97 in Koçdüzü Great Lake, but their communities were composed of species with both oligotrophic and mesotrophic status. Statistical comparison of the species composition of studied lakes with other high mountain lakes and the lakes in northern Turkey revealed the role of altitude as the main factor in the formation of diatom floras. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Soil Loss Analysis of an Eastern Kentucky Watershed Utilizing the Universal Soil Loss Equation
Environments 2022, 9(10), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100126 - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
Soil erosion is the displacement of soil’s upper layer(s) triggered by a variation in topography, land use and soil types, and anthropogenic activities. This study selected the Marrowbone Creek-Russel Fork watershed in eastern Kentucky to estimate the mean annual soil loss over eight [...] Read more.
Soil erosion is the displacement of soil’s upper layer(s) triggered by a variation in topography, land use and soil types, and anthropogenic activities. This study selected the Marrowbone Creek-Russel Fork watershed in eastern Kentucky to estimate the mean annual soil loss over eight years (from 2013 to 2020) utilizing the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). We included monthly precipitation, soil survey, digital elevation model (DEM), and land cover data to estimate the parameters of the USLE. The mean annual soil loss for the study area ranged from 1.77 to 2.91 Mg ha−1 yr−1 with an eight-year mean of 2.31 Mg ha−1 yr−1. In addition, we observed that developed land cover classes were less erosion-resistant than undeveloped land cover classes over the observation period. The results of this case study in our small watershed that has been historically impacted by upstream coal-mining activities are comparable to the results from similar studies in other geographic regions. However, we suggest other researchers conduct similar studies using robust data to determine the applicability of the USLE model and validate the results in developing measures to address soil loss issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Change in the Changing Environment II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Water Quality Observations from Space: A Review of Critical Issues and Challenges
Environments 2022, 9(10), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100125 - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
Water is the basis of all life on this planet. Yet, approximately one in seven people in the world do not have access to safe water. Water can become unsafe due to contamination by various organic and inorganic compounds due to various natural [...] Read more.
Water is the basis of all life on this planet. Yet, approximately one in seven people in the world do not have access to safe water. Water can become unsafe due to contamination by various organic and inorganic compounds due to various natural and anthropogenic processes. Identifying and monitoring water quality changes in space and time remains a challenge, especially when contamination events occur over large geographic areas. This study investigates recent advances in remote sensing that allow us to detect and monitor the unique spectral characteristics of water quality events over large areas. Based on an extensive literature review, we focus on three critical water quality problems as part of this study: algal blooms, acid mine drainage, and suspended solids. We review the advances made in applications of remote sensing in each of these issues, identify the knowledge gaps and limitations of current studies, analyze the existing approaches in the context of global environmental changes, and discuss potential ways to combine multi-sensor methods and different wavelengths to develop improved approaches. Synthesizing the findings of these studies in the context of the three specific tracks will help stakeholders to utilize, share, and embed satellite-derived earth observations for monitoring and tracking the ever-evolving water quality in the earth’s limited freshwater reserves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Remote Sensing in Water Resources Management Models)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Application of Headspace-SIFT-MS to Direct Analysis of Hazardous Volatiles in Drinking Water
Environments 2022, 9(10), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100124 - 30 Sep 2022
Abstract
Harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in drinking water due to anthropogenic activities, such as oil refining (e.g., benzene) and disinfection (e.g., the so-called trihalomethanes, THMs). Gas chromatography (GC)-based techniques are widely applied for analysis of these compounds in the laboratory but [...] Read more.
Harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in drinking water due to anthropogenic activities, such as oil refining (e.g., benzene) and disinfection (e.g., the so-called trihalomethanes, THMs). Gas chromatography (GC)-based techniques are widely applied for analysis of these compounds in the laboratory but have some throughput drawbacks due to sample preparation and the extended analysis time (due to chromatographic separation). Selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) is a direct-injection mass spectrometry (DIMS) technique that has potential to reduce sample preparation and analysis times through direct analysis of aqueous headspace with no preconcentration, drying, or other water management. This study applies headspace-SIFT-MS to the analysis of benzene, related petroleum aromatics, and THMs to evaluate the potential for enhanced sample throughput for drinking water analysis (10 samples per hour). Headspace-SIFT-MS achieved a limit of quantitation (LOQ) of 0.1 to 0.2 μg L−1 for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX), and 1 to 2 μg L−1 for the THMs. These LOQs achieve the current European Union and United States regulatory limits but are higher than modern GC methods. Therefore, the potential application of SIFT-MS is envisaged to lie in rapid screening in the laboratory, or field-based real-time monitoring. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
Function of Nanomaterials in Removing Heavy Metals for Water and Wastewater Remediation: A Review
Environments 2022, 9(10), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100123 - 25 Sep 2022
Abstract
Although heavy metals are typically found in trace levels in natural waterways, most of them are hazardous to human health and the environment, even at extremely low concentrations. Nanotechnology and nanomaterials have gained great attention among researchers as a sustainable route to addressing [...] Read more.
Although heavy metals are typically found in trace levels in natural waterways, most of them are hazardous to human health and the environment, even at extremely low concentrations. Nanotechnology and nanomaterials have gained great attention among researchers as a sustainable route to addressing water pollution. Researchers focus on developing novel nanomaterials that are cost-effective for use in water/wastewater remediation. A wide range of adsorbed nanomaterials have been fabricated based on different forms of natural materials, such as carbonaceous nanomaterials, zeolite, natural polymers, magnetic materials, metal oxides, metallic materials, and silica. Hence, this review set out to address the ability of various synthesized nanoadsorbent materials to remove different heavy metal ions from water and wastewater and to investigate the influence of the functionalization of nanomaterials on their adsorption capacity and separation process. Additionally, the effect of experimental variables, such as pH, initial ion concentration, adsorbent dose, contact time, temperature, and ionic strength, on the removal of metal ions has been discussed. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Comparison of Freshwater Mussels Unio tumidus and Unio crassus as Biomonitors of Microplastic Contamination of Tisza River (Hungary)
Environments 2022, 9(10), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments9100122 - 24 Sep 2022
Abstract
Unio crassus and Unio tumidus mussels were collected at four sampling sites in the Tisza River (Hungary) to investigate their applicability as sentinel species for the biomonitoring of microplastic contamination. Since mussels, as filter feeders, are able to ingest particles only below a [...] Read more.
Unio crassus and Unio tumidus mussels were collected at four sampling sites in the Tisza River (Hungary) to investigate their applicability as sentinel species for the biomonitoring of microplastic contamination. Since mussels, as filter feeders, are able to ingest particles only below a physically defined size, it was expected that their sentinel role in rivers is restricted to small particles, including fibers or microfibers. This assumption was confirmed by our results, as fibers were detected as the dominant particles in all the 80 mussel samples investigated. The length and diameter of the fibers changed in the size range of 20–1000 μm and 10–75 μm, respectively. The number of fibers in the individuals originating from the same sampling site was nearly two times higher in Unio tumidus than in Unio crassus and amounted to 2.7–4.9 and 5.2–8.3 items/individual. The fiber/g soft tissue ratio between these species could be characterized by a factor of three. After applying Raman spectrometry, mostly indigo-dyed polyethylene terephthalate and cellulose-based fibers, as well as a few larger (200 um) polyamide fragments, were identified. The microplastic particles stored temporarily by mussels provide only restricted qualitative information on the microplastic load of the Tisza River, and as our observations confirmed, the sampling efficiency of these ‘living sampling devices’ is highly species-specific. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop