Open AccessArticle
Addition of WEEE Glass to Metakaolin-Based Geopolymeric Binder: A Cytotoxicity Study
Environments 2017, 4(4), 89; doi:10.3390/environments4040089 -
Abstract
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) types of glass, including Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) glass, are now separately collected in European Union 28 (EU28) zone. Due to the high level of Pb and Ba in their compositions, this type of waste finds its
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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) types of glass, including Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) glass, are now separately collected in European Union 28 (EU28) zone. Due to the high level of Pb and Ba in their compositions, this type of waste finds its way to the disposal. In the present research, a geopolymer matrix based on metakaolin is used to blend in fine powder panel and funnel glass from personal computer (PC) and television (TV) monitors. Such waste glass, which cannot be directed to glass melting furnaces, is safely incorporated into a geopolymer matrix. The consolidation of the geopolymeric matrix containing the waste glass was followed by pH and conductibility up to 28 days of curing. Scanning electron microscope equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) was used to obtain information on the microstructure of the consolidated products. Cytotoxicity tests helped the environmental evaluation of these materials. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
What Do Users Really Need? Participatory Development of Decision Support Tools for Environmental Management Based on Outcomes
Environments 2017, 4(4), 88; doi:10.3390/environments4040088 -
Abstract
There is increasing demand from stakeholders for tools to support outcomes-based approaches in environmental management. For such tools to be useful, understanding user requirements is key. In Scotland, UK, stakeholders were engaged in the development of an Environmental Decision Support System (EDSS) to
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There is increasing demand from stakeholders for tools to support outcomes-based approaches in environmental management. For such tools to be useful, understanding user requirements is key. In Scotland, UK, stakeholders were engaged in the development of an Environmental Decision Support System (EDSS) to support the management of land and freshwater resources for multiple policy outcomes. A structured participatory engagement process was employed to determine stakeholder requirements, establish development principles to fulfil these requirements and road-test prototypes. The specification that emerged from this bottom-up process was for an EDSS to be spatially-explicit, free at the point of use, and mobile device compatible. This application, which is under development, does not closely resemble most existing published EDSS. We suggest that there is a mismatch between the way scientists typically conceptualise EDSS and the kinds of applications that are likely to be useful to decision-makers on the ground. Interactive mobile and web-based geospatial information services have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, but their importance is not reflected in the literature on EDSS. The current focus in environmental management on adaptive, stakeholder-centred strategies based on outcomes offers an opportunity to make better use of these new technologies to aid decision-making processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Diffusive Uptake Rates of Volatile Organic Compounds on Standard ATD Tubes for Environmental and Workplace Applications
Environments 2017, 4(4), 87; doi:10.3390/environments4040087 -
Abstract
Passive sampling for airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has gained popularity; however, diffusive uptake rates (URs) have been experimentally determined for only a small subset of VOCs. This study aims to develop empirical models that can interpolate effective URs (
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Passive sampling for airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has gained popularity; however, diffusive uptake rates (URs) have been experimentally determined for only a small subset of VOCs. This study aims to develop empirical models that can interpolate effective URs (UReff) for a wide range of VOCs. The modelling was based on the standard automated thermal desorption (ATD) tubes packed with Tenax TA and targeted the sampling efficiency (α), defined as the ratio between the ideal UR (URideal) and UReff. Available experimentally determined URs were compiled from literature. Method detection limits were determined on a thermal desorption-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (TD-GC/MS) system. The 8-h UReff can be modeled with retention volumes or boiling points (BPs) and the biases were within ±20%. The α for 7-day UReff can be estimated by the model: α = 0.3626 Ln(BP) − 1.2324. The 8-h and 7-day UReff values were then compiled for 75 VOCs commonly encountered in the environmental and occupational settings. The TD analytical method showed high precision, linearity and sensitivity, suitable for measuring indoor and outdoor VOCs. The approach and data presented here are anticipated to ease passive monitoring of VOCs for the general users. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Porous Geopolymer Insulating Core from a Metakaolin/Biomass Ash Composite
Environments 2017, 4(4), 86; doi:10.3390/environments4040086 -
Abstract
Ashes derived from the combustion of vegetal and animal biomass still represent a mostly unexplored secondary raw material for the production of alkali-activated materials, given their peculiar chemical nature. In this work, calcium phosphate biomass ashes were successfully used as partially reactive fillers
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Ashes derived from the combustion of vegetal and animal biomass still represent a mostly unexplored secondary raw material for the production of alkali-activated materials, given their peculiar chemical nature. In this work, calcium phosphate biomass ashes were successfully used as partially reactive fillers in a metakaolin-based geopolymer composite to produce, by direct foaming, sustainable and lightweight boards with thermal insulating properties. The investigated materials were obtained by activating a blend of metakaolin and biomass ash in a weight ratio of 1: 1 and foamed with the addition of H2O2 in measure of 5 wt. %, to maximize the volume of disposed ash and ensure adequate properties to the material at the same time. The obtained geopolymer composite was characterized by microstructural, chemical-physical, mechanical and thermal analysis: the obtained results showed that biomass ash and metakaolin well integrated in the microstructure of the final porous material, which was characterized by a density of about 310 kg/m3 and a thermal conductivity of 0.073 W/mK at a mean test temperature of 30 °C, coupled with an acceptable compressive strength of about 0.6 MPa. Dilatometric and thermogravimetric analysis, performed up to 1000 °C, highlighted the thermal stability of the composite, which could be regarded as a promising material for low-cost, self-bearing thermal insulating partitions or lightweight cores for thermostructural sandwich panels. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biodesulfurization of Petroleum Distillates—Current Status, Opportunities and Future Challenges
Environments 2017, 4(4), 85; doi:10.3390/environments4040085 -
Abstract
Sulfur oxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are considered as one of the major air pollutants in the world today. In addition, high sulfur levels in petroleum distillates can promote the deactivation of catalysts through poisoning in fluidized catalytic
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Sulfur oxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are considered as one of the major air pollutants in the world today. In addition, high sulfur levels in petroleum distillates can promote the deactivation of catalysts through poisoning in fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) during hydrocracking of the heavy distillates to lighter ones. The presence of high sulfur-containing compounds in the process streams could cause corrosion of piping and fittings and equipment, thereby damaging the pipelines and leading to air emissions of sulfur-containing compounds, which are undesirable for mankind and his environment. In many cases, a large quantity of SOx is released into the atmosphere when petroleum distillates that contain substantial amount of sulphur-containing compounds are used as fuel and combust. In this article, a short overview of different desulfurization methods that are employed to remove sulfur from petroleum distillates is provided. In particular, the review concentrates on biodesulfurization technique. In addition, this article intends to provide its readers current status of biodesulfurization (BDS). It critically analyses the trend in the development of the technology to showcase its strength and weakness that could pave a way for future opportunities. Approaches that are suitable to remediate sulfur-contaminated environment are discussed as well. Lastly, speculations on future directions or opportunities that require exploration are provided as a way of provoking the thoughts of researchers in this field. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Ammonia Oxidizing Archaea and Bacteria in East Asian Paddy Soils—A Mini Review
Environments 2017, 4(4), 84; doi:10.3390/environments4040084 -
Abstract
Ammonia oxidation is crucial in nitrogen removal and global nitrogen dynamics since it is the first step of the nitrification process. In this review, we focus on the distribution and community structure of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in East Asian
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Ammonia oxidation is crucial in nitrogen removal and global nitrogen dynamics since it is the first step of the nitrification process. In this review, we focus on the distribution and community structure of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in East Asian paddy soils with variable soil properties. The available East Asian paddy soil data shows that the ammonium concentration and pH ranges from 0.4 to 370 mg/kg and 5.1 to 8.2, respectively. Our meta-analysis suggest that AOA specific gene sequences are generally more abundant than those of AOB in both acidic and alkaline paddy soils, where Nitrosophaera and Nitrosospira amoA clusters mainly dominate the microbial community, respectively. In addition, the contribution of ammonia oxidizers to the nitrification process has been demonstrated using DNA-SIP (DNA-based stable-isotope probing); the results of these studies indicate that pH is the most important factor in niche separation of AOA and AOB under a variety of edaphic conditions. Finally, we discuss a number of other environmental variables that affect the abundance, distribution, and activity of AOA and AOB in East Asian paddy soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability of Coastal Beach Tourism to Flooding: A Case Study of Galicia, Spain
Environments 2017, 4(4), 83; doi:10.3390/environments4040083 -
Abstract
Flooding, as a result of heavy rains and/or storm surges, is a persistent problem in coastal areas. Under scenarios of climate change, there are expectations that flooding events will become more frequent in some areas and potentially more intense. This poses a potential
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Flooding, as a result of heavy rains and/or storm surges, is a persistent problem in coastal areas. Under scenarios of climate change, there are expectations that flooding events will become more frequent in some areas and potentially more intense. This poses a potential threat to coastal communities relying heavily on coastal resources, such as beaches for tourism. This paper develops a methodology for the assessment of coastal flooding risks, based on an index that compares 16 hydrogeomorphological, biophysical, human exposure and resilience indicators, with a specific focus on tourism. The paper then uses an existing flood vulnerability assessment of 724 beaches in Galicia (Spain) to test the index for tourism. Results indicate that approximately 10% of tourism beaches are at high risk to flooding, including 10 urban and 36 rural beaches. Implications for adaptation and coastal management are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Testing Extended Accounts in Scheduled Conservation of Open Woodlands with Permanent Livestock Grazing: Dehesa de la Luz Estate Case Study, Arroyo de la Luz, Spain
Environments 2017, 4(4), 82; doi:10.3390/environments4040082 -
Abstract
Standard Economic Accounts for Agriculture and Forestry do not measure the ecosystem services and intermediate products embedded in the final products recorded, and omit the private non-commercial intermediate products and self-consumption of private amenities. These limitations of the standard accounts are addressed by
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Standard Economic Accounts for Agriculture and Forestry do not measure the ecosystem services and intermediate products embedded in the final products recorded, and omit the private non-commercial intermediate products and self-consumption of private amenities. These limitations of the standard accounts are addressed by the extended Agroforestry Accounting System, which is being tested at the publicly-owned Dehesa de la Luz agroforestry estate. The extended accounts simulate conservation forestry of holm oak and cork oak for the current as well as successive rotation cycles during which scheduled conservation of the cultural woodland landscape of the Dehesa de la Luz is carried out, improving the natural physical growth of the firewood and cork. The estimated results for 2014 reveal that private ecosystem services make up 50% of the firewood and grazing products consumed; the private environmental income accounts for 13% of the total private income; and the private environmental asset represents 53% of the total opening capital. The net value added is more than 2.3 times the amount estimated using the standard accounts. The landowner donates intermediate products of non-commercial services at a value of 85 €/ha, which are used to enhance the supply of public products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Reliable Opportunistic Data for Species Distribution Modeling: A Benchmark Data Optimization Approach
Environments 2017, 4(4), 81; doi:10.3390/environments4040081 -
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to increase the number of species occurrence data by integrating opportunistic data with Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) benchmark data via a novel optimization technique. The optimization method utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) and a simulated annealing
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The purpose of this study is to increase the number of species occurrence data by integrating opportunistic data with Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) benchmark data via a novel optimization technique. The optimization method utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) and a simulated annealing (SA) algorithm to maximize the average likelihood of species occurrence in maximum entropy presence-only species distribution models (SDM). We applied the Kruskal–Wallis test to assess the differences between the corresponding environmental variables and habitat suitability indices (HSI) among datasets, including data from GBIF, Facebook (FB), and data from optimally selected FB data. To quantify uncertainty in SDM predictions, and to quantify the efficacy of the proposed optimization procedure, we used a bootstrapping approach to generate 1000 subsets from five different datasets: (1) GBIF; (2) FB; (3) GBIF plus FB; (4) GBIF plus optimally selected FB; and (5) GBIF plus randomly selected FB. We compared the performance of simulated species distributions based on each of the above subsets via the area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC). We also performed correlation analysis between the average benchmark-based SDM outputs and the average dataset-based SDM outputs. Median AUCs of SDMs based on the dataset that combined benchmark GBIF data and optimally selected FB data were generally higher than the AUCs of other datasets, indicating the effectiveness of the optimization procedure. Our results suggest that the proposed approach increases the quality and quantity of data by effectively extracting opportunistic data from large unstructured datasets with respect to benchmark data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanical Behaviour of Soil Improved by Alkali Activated Binders
Environments 2017, 4(4), 80; doi:10.3390/environments4040080 -
Abstract
The use of alkali activated binders to improve engineering properties of clayey soils is a novel solution, and an alternative to the widely diffused improvement based on the use of traditional binders such as lime and cement. In the paper the alkaline activation
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The use of alkali activated binders to improve engineering properties of clayey soils is a novel solution, and an alternative to the widely diffused improvement based on the use of traditional binders such as lime and cement. In the paper the alkaline activation of two fly ashes, by-products of coal combustion thermoelectric power plants, has been presented. These alkali activated binders have been mixed with a clayey soil for evaluating the improvement of its mechanical behaviour. One-dimensional compression tests on raw and treated samples have been performed with reference to the effects induced by type of binder, binder contents and curing time. The experimental evidences at volume scale of the treated samples have been directly linked to the chemo-physical evolution of the binders, investigated over curing time by means of X Ray Diffraction. Test results showed a high reactivity of the alkali activated binders promoting the formation of new mineralogical phases responsible for the mechanical improvement of treated soil. The efficiency of alkali activated binders soil treatment has been highlighted by comparison with mechanical performance induced by Portland cement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Land Use-Cover Changes and Modelling Change Scenarios in Two Mountain Spanish National Parks
Environments 2017, 4(4), 79; doi:10.3390/environments4040079 -
Abstract
Land Use-Cover Changes (LUCCs) are one of the main problems for the preservation of biodiversity. Protected Areas (PAs) do not escape this threat. Some processes, such as intensive recreational use, forest fires or the expansion of artificial areas taking place inside and around
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Land Use-Cover Changes (LUCCs) are one of the main problems for the preservation of biodiversity. Protected Areas (PAs) do not escape this threat. Some processes, such as intensive recreational use, forest fires or the expansion of artificial areas taking place inside and around them in response to their appeal, question their environmental sustainability and their efficiency. In this paper, we analyze the LUCCs that took place between 1990 and 2006 in two National Parks (NPs) belonging to the Spanish network and in their surroundings: Ordesa and Monte Perdido (Ordesa NP) and Sierra de Guadarrama (Guadarrama NP). We also simulate land use changes between 2006 and 2030 by means of Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs), taking into account two scenarios: trend and green. Finally, we perform a multi-temporal analysis of natural habitat fragmentation in each NP. The results show that the NPs analyzed are well-preserved and have seen hardly any significant LUCCs inside them. However, Socioeconomic Influence Zones (SIZs) and buffers are subject to different dynamics. In the SIZ and buffer of the Ordesa NP, there has been an expansion of built-up areas (annual rate of change = +1.19) around small urban hubs and ski resorts. There has also been a gradual recovery of natural areas, which had been interrupted by forest fires. The invasion of sub-alpine grasslands by shrubs is clear (+2735 ha). The SIZ and buffer of the Guadarrama NP are subject to urban sprawl in forest areas and to the construction of road infrastructures (+5549 ha and an annual rate of change = +1.20). Industrial area has multiplied by 3.3 in 20 years. The consequences are an increase in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), greater risk of forest fires and greater fragmentation of natural habitats (+0.04 in SIZ). In the change scenarios, if conditions change as expected, the specific threats facing each NP can be expected to increase. There are substantial differences between the scenarios depending on whether or not incentives are accepted and legal restrictions are respected. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
L’Aquila Smart Clean Air City: The Italian Pilot Project for Healthy Urban Air
Environments 2017, 4(4), 78; doi:10.3390/environments4040078 -
Abstract
Exposure to atmospheric pollution is a major concern for urban populations. Currently, no effective strategy has been adopted to tackle the problem. The paper presents the Smart Clean Air City project, a pilot experiment concerning the improvement in urban air quality. Small wet
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Exposure to atmospheric pollution is a major concern for urban populations. Currently, no effective strategy has been adopted to tackle the problem. The paper presents the Smart Clean Air City project, a pilot experiment concerning the improvement in urban air quality. Small wet scrubber systems will be operating in a network configuration in suitable urban areas of L’Aquila city (Italy). The purpose of this work is to describe the project and show the preliminary results obtained in the characterization of two urban sites before the remediation test; the main operating principles of the wet scrubber system will be discussed, as well as the design of the mobile treatment plant for the processing of wastewater resulting from scrubber operation. Measurements of particle size distributions in the range of 0.30–25 µm took place in the two sites of interest, an urban background and a traffic area in the city of L’Aquila. The mean number concentration detected was 2.4 × 107 and 4.5 × 107 particles/m3, respectively. Finally, theoretical assessments, performed by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes, will show the effects of the wet scrubber operation on air pollutants under different environmental conditions and in several urban usage patterns. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantifying Dustiness, Specific Allergens, and Endotoxin in Bulk Soya Imports
Environments 2017, 4(4), 76; doi:10.3390/environments4040076 -
Abstract
Soya is an important bulk agricultural product often transported by sea as chipped beans and/or the bean husks after pelletisation. There are proven allergens in both forms. Bulk handling of soya imports can generate air pollution containing dust, allergens, and pyrogens, posing health
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Soya is an important bulk agricultural product often transported by sea as chipped beans and/or the bean husks after pelletisation. There are proven allergens in both forms. Bulk handling of soya imports can generate air pollution containing dust, allergens, and pyrogens, posing health risks to dockside workers and surrounding populations. Using an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardised rotating drum dustiness test in seven imported soya bulks, we compared the generated levels of dust and two major soya allergens in three particle sizes related to respiratory health. Extractable levels of allergen and endotoxin from the bulks showed 30–60 fold differences, with levels of one allergen (hydrophobic seed protein) and endotoxin higher in husk. The generated levels of dust and allergens in the three particle sizes also showed very wide variations between bulks, with aerolysed levels of allergen influenced by both the inherent dustiness and the extractable allergen in each bulk. Percentage allergen aerolysed from pelletized husk—often assumed to be of low dustiness—after transportation was not lower than that from chipped beans. Thus, not all soya bulks pose the same inhalation health risk and reinforces the importance of controlling dust generation from handling all soya bulk to as low as reasonably practicable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Households’ Willingness to Pay for Improved Waste Collection Service in Gorkha Municipality of Nepal
Environments 2017, 4(4), 77; doi:10.3390/environments4040077 -
Abstract
Municipal solid waste management is a growing problem in urban areas of Nepal where municipalities are severely constrained by budget to manage it effectively. Collecting fees from the public can aid finance for improving waste management service. This study evaluates willingness to pay
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Municipal solid waste management is a growing problem in urban areas of Nepal where municipalities are severely constrained by budget to manage it effectively. Collecting fees from the public can aid finance for improving waste management service. This study evaluates willingness to pay (WTP) by 401 households, selected using a stratified sampling method from all 15 wards of Gorkha municipality of Nepal for improved waste collection service and the factors influencing it. We employed a contingent valuation method to elicit households’ WTP, logit regression model to determine factors influencing WTP and tobit regression model to determine factors influencing the maximum amount households are willing to pay for improved waste collection service. Majority of households (61%) are willing to pay an average amount of NRs. 73.38 (0.72 US$) per month. Factors that significantly influence households’ WTP are monthly household income, education of household head, environmental awareness and waste collection service. Except for education of household head, all these factors significantly influence the maximum amount of money households are willing to pay. Concerned stakeholders and policy makers should consider these traits of households before enforcing a waste collection fee. Full article
Open AccessArticle
In the Dark Shadow of the Supercycle Tailings Failure Risk & Public Liability Reach All Time Highs
Environments 2017, 4(4), 75; doi:10.3390/environments4040075 -
Abstract
This is the third in a series of independent research papers attempting to improve the quality of descriptive data and analysis of tailings facility failures globally focusing on the relative occurrence, severity and root causes of these failures. This paper updates previously published
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This is the third in a series of independent research papers attempting to improve the quality of descriptive data and analysis of tailings facility failures globally focusing on the relative occurrence, severity and root causes of these failures. This paper updates previously published failures data through 2010 with both additional data pre-2010 and additional data 2010–2015. All three papers have explored the connection between high public consequence failure trends and mining economics trends especially grade, costs to produce and price. This work, the third paper, looks more deeply at that connection through several autopsies of the dysfunctional economics of the period 2000–2010 in which the greatest and longest price increase in recorded history co-occurred across all commodities, a phenomenon sometimes called a supercycle. That high severity failures reached all-time highs in the same decade as prices rose to highs, unprecedented since 1916, challenges many fundamental beliefs and assumptions that have governed modern mining operations, investment decisions, and regulation. It is from waste management in mining, a non-revenue producing cost incurring part of every operation, that virtually all severe environmental and community damages arise. These damages are now more frequently at a scale and of a nature that is non-remediable and beyond any possibility of clean up or reclamation. The authors have jointly undertaken this work in the public interest without funding from the mining industry, regulators, non-governmental organizations, or from any other source. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Production of Geopolymeric Mortars Containing Forest Biomass Ash as Partial Replacement of Metakaolin
Environments 2017, 4(4), 74; doi:10.3390/environments4040074 -
Abstract
Geopolymers are a new class of binders based on alkali activation of natural and by-products raw materials. Their properties and eco-compatibility highly depends on the reaction system. The (Na,K)2O-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O system shows a distinguishing
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Geopolymers are a new class of binders based on alkali activation of natural and by-products raw materials. Their properties and eco-compatibility highly depends on the reaction system. The (Na,K)2O-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O system shows a distinguishing pseudo-zeolitic network structure, but reaction requires a high amount of activators. The aim of this work is to investigate how the use of forest biomass ash (FBA), as partial replacement material in the production of metakaolin (MK) based geopolymeric mortar, and affect its properties. FBA is a by-product of the combustion process of forest biomass in thermal power plants. Mortars with a FBA content of 0%, 10%, 20%, and 30% wt have been tested for workability, flexural, and compressive strength. Capillary absorption, micro-morphological features, thermal, and shrinkage behavior have been investigated. The addition of FBA allowed for a decrease in the use of alkaline activator up to 20%, while preserving the characteristic broad hump centered at approximately 28° 2θ Mechanical properties of the geopolymeric mortars decrease proportionally with metakaolin replacement, even if a compression strength of more than 35 MPa is still obtained with a FBA content of 30% wt. After thermal cycles of up to 700 °C, all of the mortars still retain their cohesiveness, with an overall loss of mechanical strength of about 80% of the initial value that can be attributed to the formation of microcracks as a consequence of the network strain and distortion due to dehydration and shrinkage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sociology in Global Environmental Governance? Neoliberalism, Protectionism and the Methyl Bromide Controversy in the Montreal Protocol
Environments 2017, 4(4), 73; doi:10.3390/environments4040073 -
Abstract
Sociological studies of global agriculture need to pay close attention to the protectionist aspects of neoliberalism at the global scale of environmental governance. With agri-food studies in the social sciences broadening interrogations of the impact of neoliberalism on agri-food systems and their alternatives,
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Sociological studies of global agriculture need to pay close attention to the protectionist aspects of neoliberalism at the global scale of environmental governance. With agri-food studies in the social sciences broadening interrogations of the impact of neoliberalism on agri-food systems and their alternatives, investigating global environmental governance (GEG) will help reveal its impacts on the global environment, global science/knowledge, and the potential emergence of ecologically sensible alternatives. It is argued here that as agri-food studies of neoliberalism sharpen the focus on these dimensions the widespread consequences of protectionism of US agri-industry in GEG will become better understood, and the solutions more readily identifiable. This paper illustrates how the delayed phase out of the toxic substance methyl bromide in the Montreal Protocol exemplifies the degree to which the US agri-industry may be protected at the global scale of environmental governance, thus prolonging the transition to ozone-friendly alternatives. Additionally, it is clear that protectionism has had a significant impact on the dissemination and interpretation of science/knowledge of methyl bromide and its alternatives. Revealing the role that protectionism plays more broadly in the agriculture/environmental governance interface, and its oftentimes negative impacts on science and potential alternatives, can shed light on how protectionism can be made to serve ends that are at odds with environmental protection. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Ambient Temperature and Mental Health in the USA
Environments 2017, 4(4), 71; doi:10.3390/environments4040071 -
Abstract
Climatic variables such as temperature have been shown to correlate with demand for mental health services in other countries. An attempt by the present study to replicate this correlation using existing USA treatment data on mental health was not substantiated. Using annual state-level
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Climatic variables such as temperature have been shown to correlate with demand for mental health services in other countries. An attempt by the present study to replicate this correlation using existing USA treatment data on mental health was not substantiated. Using annual state-level data from 2007 through 2015, the rate of mental health service utilization per 1000 population was correlated with average temperature and precipitation, while adjusting for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment, and urbanization. No statistically significant correlation was found. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rapid Urban Growth in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: Monitoring Land Use Land Cover Dynamics of a Himalayan City with Landsat Imageries
Environments 2017, 4(4), 72; doi:10.3390/environments4040072 -
Abstract
The Kathmandu Valley of Nepal epitomizes the growing urbanization trend spreading across the Himalayan foothills. This metropolitan valley has experienced a significant transformation of its landscapes in the last four decades resulting in substantial land use and land cover (LULC) change; however, no
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The Kathmandu Valley of Nepal epitomizes the growing urbanization trend spreading across the Himalayan foothills. This metropolitan valley has experienced a significant transformation of its landscapes in the last four decades resulting in substantial land use and land cover (LULC) change; however, no major systematic analysis of the urbanization trend and LULC has been conducted on this valley since 2000. When considering the importance of using LULC change as a window to study the broader changes in socio-ecological systems of this valley, our study first detected LULC change trajectories of this valley using four Landsat images of the year 1989, 1999, 2009, and 2016, and then analyzed the detected change in the light of a set of proximate causes and factors driving those changes. A pixel-based hybrid classification (unsupervised followed by supervised) approach was employed to classify these images into five LULC categories and analyze the LULC trajectories detected from them. Our results show that urban area expanded up to 412% in last three decades and the most of this expansion occurred with the conversions of 31% agricultural land. The majority of the urban expansion happened during 1989–2009, and it is still growing along the major roads in a concentric pattern, significantly altering the cityscape of the valley. The centrality feature of Kathmandu valley and the massive surge in rural-to-urban migration are identified as the primary proximate causes of the fast expansion of built-up areas and rapid conversions of agricultural areas. Full article
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Open AccessProject Report
Nitrate Leaching from Sand and Pumice Geomedia Amended with Pyrogenic Carbon Materials
Environments 2017, 4(4), 70; doi:10.3390/environments4040070 -
Abstract
There is increasing interest in using pyrogenic carbon as an adsorbent for aqueous contaminants in stormwater. The objective of this study was to investigate pyrogenic carbon materials as an amendment to geomedia to reduce nitrate leaching. Batch adsorption and column experiments were conducted
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There is increasing interest in using pyrogenic carbon as an adsorbent for aqueous contaminants in stormwater. The objective of this study was to investigate pyrogenic carbon materials as an amendment to geomedia to reduce nitrate leaching. Batch adsorption and column experiments were conducted to evaluate the performance of a commercial activated carbon and two biochars incorporated (5% by weight) into sand and pumice columns. The batch adsorption with 50 mg L−1 of nitrate solution showed that only activated carbon resulted in a substantial adsorption for nitrate up to 41%. Tested biochars were not effective in removing aqueous nitrate and even released nitrate (<1%) with 1 h reaction time. Column experiment with a pulse input of nitrate solution (50 mg L−1) confirmed that the sand or pumice columns amended with biochars were not as effective as those amended with activated carbon for reducing nitrate leaching. Our results suggested that net negatively charged surfaces of biochar may inhibit nitrate anion adsorption while activated carbon has reactive sites containing acidic functional groups to improve nitrate retention. There was no difference between sand and pumice for nitrate retention in any of the carbon amendments. Additional surface activation process during biochar production may be needed to improve adsorptive capacity of biochar for aqueous nitrate removal. Full article
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