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Frontier Research: Waste Management for Sustainable Development

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Resources and Sustainable Utilization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 January 2024) | Viewed by 2009

Special Issue Editors

Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan
Interests: wastewater treatment; biological wastewater treatment; bioremediation; phytoremediation; bioenergy
Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan
Interests: heterogeneous photocatalysis; material synthesis; environmental engineering; industrial waste water treatment
Department of Biology, College of Science, University of Bahrain, Zallaq 32038, Bahrain
Interests: soil remedation; solid-waste management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be met unless waste management is addressed as a priority. Failing economic models treat resources as if they were infinite (SDG 12) and consumption patterns favor the disposable. How can we continue with a growing and increasingly urbanized global population without getting waste sorted?

Just two generations ago, before the dawn of disposable plastic, people could throw their waste on the ground and it would rot. Not so today, with plastic now clogging up drains and being ingested by livestock. Chemicals seep from immense quantities of dumped waste, poisoning groundwater, streams and rivers. Life on land (SDG 15) can only be healthy when waste is properly managed.

Waste is polluting the air we breathe as well. When people have no waste management services, they can only dump waste in the open or burn it. Open burning of waste is sadly commonplace. In days gone by, it was not such an issue. However, now, with plastics everywhere, the health impacts of open burning are catastrophic (SDG 3). Added to this is the climate change impact of methane and CO2 from poorly managed waste: within ten years dumpsites could be responsible for up to a tenth of manmade greenhouse gases (SDG 13).

The current Special Issue will focus on the article collection related to the main theme, i.e., waste management and SDGs and articles related to various technologies or management of solid, liquid, gaseous and hazardous wastes can be submitted for consideration.

Prof. Dr. Qaisar Mahmood
Dr. Nadia Riaz
Dr. Muhammad Azeem
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • waste management
  • environmental technologies
  • wastewater treatment
  • solid waste management
  • air pollution control

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 1181 KiB  
Article
A Master’s Course Can Emphasize Circular Economy in Municipal Solid Waste Management: Evidence from the University of Pisa
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16051966 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 92
Abstract
Municipal solid waste (MSW) represents a significant global threat, which has to be managed by a model of production and consumption involving the sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling of existing materials and products for as long as possible, otherwise known as [...] Read more.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) represents a significant global threat, which has to be managed by a model of production and consumption involving the sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling of existing materials and products for as long as possible, otherwise known as a circular economy (CE). However, there is not a universal rule for waste recycling strategies, and it has been demonstrated that active public participation is crucial in the satisfactory management of waste. In this context, citizen participation and education are two interrelated approaches, which can help to engage and inform people regarding waste and its wider impact. The present study describes the development of an interdisciplinary hackathon (hackathons are events whereby individuals from different backgrounds are brought together to work on the solutions to different problems), targeted to students of a postgraduate Master’s course on Sustainable Development and Climate Change in order to develop and understand the MSW problems and priorities currently being targeted, with the aim to propose new potential solutions for MSW reduction, reuse, and recycling. Following an empirical approach, four working groups were established and assigned the following specific tasks: (i) communication/citizen education on MSW; (ii) the reduction of MSW production; (iii) innovative solutions to recover and enhance secondary raw materials deriving from MSW processing; and (iv) the eco-design of the cities of the future concerning CE principles applied to MSW recycling. Overall, the following main findings were derived from the hackathon event: (i) an essential objective of the CE strategy is to drive Europe’s internal market towards the production and consumption of more sustainable products, thus reducing environmental and social pressures, while still retaining value; (ii) the most effective ways of tackling environmental problems are to ‘change the way we consume’, as well as to ‘change the way we produce and trade’, with the responsibility shared between businesses, governments, and the EU, as well as the citizens themselves. In this scenario, research and innovation play a key role in driving the necessary systemic changes to reach climate neutrality and ensure an inclusive ecological and economic transition. Overall, the present study confirms how the hackathon represents an effective tool to engage citizens in participation and education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontier Research: Waste Management for Sustainable Development)
23 pages, 2984 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Regional Straw Utilization: Collaborative Approaches and Network Optimization
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1557; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041557 - 12 Feb 2024
Viewed by 382
Abstract
The SDGS repeatedly emphasizes the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide. The strategic utilization of straw resources to curtail open-air burning not only epitomizes optimal resource deployment but also constitutes a significant stride in environmental preservation and sustainable development. [...] Read more.
The SDGS repeatedly emphasizes the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide. The strategic utilization of straw resources to curtail open-air burning not only epitomizes optimal resource deployment but also constitutes a significant stride in environmental preservation and sustainable development. Globally, the imperative of this challenge is increasingly recognized, prompting nations to enhance straw resource utilization technologies, devise regional management strategies, and extend requisite policy support. Regional straw utilization encapsulates a comprehensive concept involving an array of stakeholders including governments, farmers, corporations, brokers, and rural cooperatives, with each one of these uniquely contributing to a multifaceted network that is influenced by their respective resource utilization intentions. This heterogeneity, coupled with the diverse roles of these stakeholders, renders the identification of the pivotal participants and their specific functions within the intricate network. To navigate this complexity, this study employed text analysis and social network analysis, uncovering 30 robust associative rules within this domain. Our findings elucidate that the stakeholder network in regional straw resource utilization exhibits characteristics akin to the NW small-world network model. The key network entities identified include farmers, corporations, governments, and rural cooperatives. Furthermore, the study systematically categorizes the principal entities and elucidates the dynamics of this multi-stakeholder network. This research delineates four developmental models that are pertinent to regional straw resource utilization, which is a framework that is instrumental in pinpointing the accountable parties and optimizing the overarching benefits derived from these resources. The significance of this research lies not only in showcasing the potential of straw resources for environmental conservation but also in underscoring the importance of collaborative strategies and network optimization in order to achieve sustainable development goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontier Research: Waste Management for Sustainable Development)
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12 pages, 3275 KiB  
Article
Sod Culture with Vicia villosa Alters the Diversity of Fungal Communities in Walnut Orchards for Sustainability Development
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10731; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310731 - 07 Jul 2023
Viewed by 739
Abstract
Monoculture frequently causes loss of soil nutrients and the emergence of soil-borne diseases in walnut orchards, whereas it is unknown whether sod culture with Vicia villosa (a popular agroforestry system) in walnut orchards impacts the structural composition and diversity of soil fungal communities. [...] Read more.
Monoculture frequently causes loss of soil nutrients and the emergence of soil-borne diseases in walnut orchards, whereas it is unknown whether sod culture with Vicia villosa (a popular agroforestry system) in walnut orchards impacts the structural composition and diversity of soil fungal communities. Fungal communities in walnut orchards with the cover plant V. villosa were investigated in this work utilizing high-throughput sequencing of ITS, as well as examination of root arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization and hyphal length of soil fungi. The monoculture and interplanted walnut models generated 33,511 and 34,620 effective tags with sequence similarity of 97%, respectively annotating 245 and 236 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Among these, a total of 158 OTUs were found to be shared across monoculture and interplanted orchards. Walnuts grown in monoculture had a total of 245 species, belonging to 245 genera and 36 phyla, while walnuts with V. villosa as cover crops had 236 species, belonging to 236 genera and 19 phyla. The application of V. villosa as a cover plant significantly increased 1-Simpson and Shannon indices of soil fungi, indicating that interplanting V. villosa promoted soil fungal community diversity. Three dominant fungal phyla were detected in the soil, with Glosseromycota being the most dominant phylum. V. villosa as a cover plant significantly reduced the abundance of Funneliformis and Densospora in the soil, while it significantly increased the colonization of native arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in roots by 94%, along with a 39% significant decrease in mycorrhizal hyphal length, as compared with the monoculture. Overall, V. villosa as a cover plant alters the composition and diversity of the soil fungal community, with reduced Funneliformis (F. geosporum) and Densospora abundance, and increased mycorrhizal colonization rate in roots, contributing to the sustainable and high-quality development of walnuts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontier Research: Waste Management for Sustainable Development)
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