Special Issue "Urban Air Pollution: Monitoring, Impact, and Mitigation"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Pollution Prevention, Mitigation and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Fabio Famoso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, 95025 Catania, Italy
Interests: air pollutant dispersion modeling; GIS-based models for advanced energy systems; simulation and optimization of renewable energy systems; environmental impact
Prof. Jeffrey Wilson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, United States
Interests: environmental remote sensing; geographic information science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Urban air pollution is a complex problem that has generated interdisciplinary research involving multiple fields, including atmospheric sciences, environmental physics, chemistry, earth science, data science, policy research, as well as medicine and public health fields. Air pollution was a seemingly intractable problem for most of the developed world in the previous century and primarily caused by the extensive use of fossil fuel-based energy systems. Research on monitoring, impacts, and mitigation of air pollution has grown considerably during the last few decades. However, scientists and policy makers continue to face several daunting problems, including developing effective methods to assess the long-term effects on human health and ecosystems. Currently, for example, the global scientific community is investigating the phenomenon of indoor/outdoor aerosol diffusion in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. For these reasons, it seems of crucial importance to pay attention to innovative approaches to air quality assessment. This Special Issue invites researchers to contribute relevant manuscripts focusing on the following topics: 

  • Innovative technologies to identify air pollutants sources;
  • Evaluation studies of both indoor and outdoor air quality;
  • High spatial and temporal resolution models of pollutants diffusion;
  • Air pollutant emissions sources: combustion emissions, stationary emission sources, hazardous wastes, etc.;
  • Air pollution control and monitoring technologies;
  • Source sampling and emission measurements innovative methods;
  • Air pollution modeling applications;
  • Air pollution impacts to humans, ecosystems, and materials. 

Kind Regards 

Dr. Fabio Famoso
Prof. Jeffrey Wilson
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 papers will be 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 1900 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

  • indoor/outdoor air quality
  • air pollution reduction
  • air pollution dispersion modeling
  • air quality evaluation
  • environmental impact

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Are PM2.5 in the Atmosphere of a Small City a Threat for Health?
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11329; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011329 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
A number of time series from two local PM2.5 monitoring stations were analyzed, for a small city, in North East Greece. They coincided with SARS-CoV-2 pandemic lockdowns and lifting restrictions. The aim of this analysis was to establish concentration exceedances and roughly [...] Read more.
A number of time series from two local PM2.5 monitoring stations were analyzed, for a small city, in North East Greece. They coincided with SARS-CoV-2 pandemic lockdowns and lifting restrictions. The aim of this analysis was to establish concentration exceedances and roughly apportion sources of the PM2.5 concentration problem. This was established by analyzing 24-h filter samples of trace elements using WD-XRF. It was found that the restrictions and their lifting did not significantly affect these concentrations. The main problems were assigned to emissions from biomass burning central heating and Saharan dust episodes. The study results indicate that even in small cities the air quality as far as PM2.5 is concerned can still be deleterious to the local population according to the WHO restricting levels but not according to the EU levels. The fact that PM2.5 is not a single chemical pollutant makes matters more complicated and renders such concentration upper levels, of little significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Air Pollution: Monitoring, Impact, and Mitigation)
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Article
Particulate Matter Removal of Three Woody Plant Species, Ardisia crenata, Ardisia japonica, and Maesa japonica
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 11017; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131911017 - 04 Oct 2021
Viewed by 405
Abstract
In this study, we investigated the physiological responses and particulate matter (PM) abatement and adsorption of three plants: Ardisia crenata, Ardisia japonica, and Maesa japonica, to determine their effectiveness as indoor air purification. When compared to control (without plants), PM [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigated the physiological responses and particulate matter (PM) abatement and adsorption of three plants: Ardisia crenata, Ardisia japonica, and Maesa japonica, to determine their effectiveness as indoor air purification. When compared to control (without plants), PM was significantly and rapidly decreased by all three plants. The reduction in PM varied by species, with A. crenata being the most effective, followed closely by A. japonica, and finally M. japonica. M. japonica showed the highest rate of photosynthesis and transpiration, generating the greatest decrease in CO2 and a large increase in relative humidity. We hypothesize that the increased relative humidity in the chamber acted in a manner similar to a chemical flocculant, increasing the weight of PM via combination with airborne water particles and the creation of larger PM aggregates, resulting in a faster sedimentation rate. A. crenata had a stomatal size of ~20 μm or larger, suggesting that the PM reduction observed in this species was the result of direct absorption. In the continuous fine dust exposure experiments, chlorophyll fluorescence values of all three species were in the normal range. In conclusion, all three species were found to be suitable indoor landscaping plants, effective at reducing indoor PM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Air Pollution: Monitoring, Impact, and Mitigation)
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Article
Spatio-Temporal Modelling of the Change of Residential-Induced PM10 Pollution through Substitution of Coal with Natural Gas in Domestic Heating
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10870; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910870 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 260
Abstract
Air pollution has been one of the most critical urban problems. Urban energy networks are among the major sources of air pollution, particularly in highly populated urban areas. Residential heating, which is the primary cause of particulate matter (PM) emissions, contributes to the [...] Read more.
Air pollution has been one of the most critical urban problems. Urban energy networks are among the major sources of air pollution, particularly in highly populated urban areas. Residential heating, which is the primary cause of particulate matter (PM) emissions, contributes to the problem through the use of low-quality fuels, such as coal. Natural gas, although a fossil fuel, is a modern, relatively clean, and more efficient alternative in residential energy use, which helps to reduce particulate matter emissions. Coal was widely used in residential heating in İzmir, Turkey, whereas natural gas is a relatively new alternative which started to be used domestically in 2006. Switching from coal and other highly polluting fossil fuels to natural gas in urban energy distribution network has contributed to the alleviation of air pollution in the city in the past decade. Spatiotemporal analyses of the PM10 concentrations, and their relation to the natural gas investments, have been conducted in geographical information systems (GIS). The spatial distribution of the change in PM10 levels has been modeled with ordinary kriging for the 2010–2011 and 2018–2019 winter seasons. Interpolated PM10 surfaces show that there is a significant decrease in the emissions throughout the city in the overall, while the highest levels of decrease are observed in the southern part of the city. Overlaying the interpolated PM10 surfaces and the natural gas pipeline investments enables the demonstration of the mutual relationship between the change in emission levels and the energy distribution network. Indeed, the spatial distribution of the pollution concentrations appears to be parallel to the natural gas investments. The pipeline investments were intensive during the 2010–2018 period in the southern districts when compared the rest of the city. The use of natural gas in residential heating contributed to the decrease in PM10 emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Air Pollution: Monitoring, Impact, and Mitigation)
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Article
Substantial Decreases in U.S. Cities’ Ground-Based NO2 Concentrations during COVID-19 from Reduced Transportation
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9030; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169030 - 12 Aug 2021
Viewed by 506
Abstract
A substantial reduction in global transport and industrial processes stemming from the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and subsequent pandemic resulted in sharp declines in emissions, including for NO2. This has implications for human health, given the role that this gas plays in [...] Read more.
A substantial reduction in global transport and industrial processes stemming from the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and subsequent pandemic resulted in sharp declines in emissions, including for NO2. This has implications for human health, given the role that this gas plays in pulmonary disease and the findings that past exposure to air pollutants has been linked to the most adverse outcomes from COVID-19 disease, likely via various co-morbidities. To explore how much COVID-19 shutdown policies impacted urban air quality, we examined ground-based NO2 sensor data from 11 U.S. cities from a two-month window (March–April) during shutdown in 2020, controlling for natural seasonal variability by using average changes in NO2 over the previous five years for these cities. Levels of NO2 and VMT reduction in March and April compared to January 2020 ranged between 11–65% and 11–89%, consistent with a sharp drop in vehicular traffic from shutdown-related travel restrictions. To explore this link closely, we gathered detailed traffic count data in one city—Indianapolis, Indiana—and found a strong correlation (0.90) between traffic counts/classification and vehicle miles travelled, a moderate correlation (0.54) between NO2 and traffic related data, and an average reduction of 1.11 ppb of NO2 linked to vehicular data. This finding indicates that targeted reduction in pollutants like NO2 can be made by manipulating traffic patterns, thus potentially leading to more population-level health resilience in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Air Pollution: Monitoring, Impact, and Mitigation)
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Article
Dynamic Complex Network Analysis of PM2.5 Concentrations in the UK, Using Hierarchical Directed Graphs (V1.0.0)
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2201; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042201 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 674
Abstract
The risk of a broad range of respiratory and heart diseases can be increased by widespread exposure to fine atmospheric particles on account of their capability to have a deep penetration into the blood streams and lung. Globally, studies conducted epidemiologically in Europe [...] Read more.
The risk of a broad range of respiratory and heart diseases can be increased by widespread exposure to fine atmospheric particles on account of their capability to have a deep penetration into the blood streams and lung. Globally, studies conducted epidemiologically in Europe and elsewhere provided the evidence base indicating the major role of PM2.5 leading to more than four million deaths annually. Conventional approaches to simulate atmospheric transportation of particles having high dimensionality from both transport and chemical reaction process make exhaustive causal inference difficult. Alternative model reduction methods were adopted, specifically a data-driven directed graph representation, to deduce causal directionality and spatial embeddedness. An undirected correlation and a directed Granger causality network were established through utilizing PM2.5 concentrations in 14 United Kingdom cities for one year. To demonstrate both reduced-order cases, the United Kingdom was split up into two southern and northern connected city communities, with notable spatial embedding in summer and spring. It continued to reach stability to disturbances through the network trophic coherence parameter and by which winter was construed as the most considerable vulnerability. Thanks to our novel graph reduced modeling, we could represent high-dimensional knowledge in a causal inference and stability framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Air Pollution: Monitoring, Impact, and Mitigation)
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Article
Health-Based Approach to Determine Alert and Information Thresholds for Particulate Matter Air Pollution
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031345 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 502
Abstract
In this study Health Impact Assessment (HIA) methods were used to evaluate potential health benefits related to keeping air pollution levels in Poland under certain threshold concentrations. Impacts of daily mean particulate matter (PM)10 levels on hospital admissions due to cardiovascular and respiratory [...] Read more.
In this study Health Impact Assessment (HIA) methods were used to evaluate potential health benefits related to keeping air pollution levels in Poland under certain threshold concentrations. Impacts of daily mean particulate matter (PM)10 levels on hospital admissions due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases were considered. Relative risk coefficients were adopted from WHO HRAPIE project. The analyses covered period from 2015 to 2017, and were limited to the heating season (1st and 4th quarter of the year), when the highest PM10 concentrations occur. The national total number of hospital admissions attributed to PM10 concentration exceeding WHO daily Air Quality Guideline value of 50 µg/m3 was calculated for each of the 46 air quality zones established in Poland. We found that the reduction of the attributable hospital admissions by 75% or 50% of that expected for the “best case scenario”, with no days with PM10 concentration exceeding 50 µg/m3 would require avoidance of exceedance by the daily mean PM10 concentration of 64 µg/m3 and 83 µg/m3, respectively. These concentrations were proposed as the information and alert thresholds, respectively. The alert thresholds were exceeded on 2 and 38 days per year in the least and the most polluted zones, respectively. Exceedances of the information thresholds occurred on 6 and 66 days in these zones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Air Pollution: Monitoring, Impact, and Mitigation)
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