Open AccessArticle
Determination of Water Quality Degradation Due to Industrial and Household Wastewater in the Galing River in Kuantan, Malaysia Using Ion Chromatograph and Water Quality Data
Environments 2017, 4(2), 35; doi:10.3390/environments4020035 -
Abstract
Water quality of the Galing River in Kuantan, Malaysia was examined to understand the anthropogenic environmental load in each administrative section, using water quality monitoring data and land use pattern. The National Physical Plan 2005 identified Kuantan as one of the country’s future
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Water quality of the Galing River in Kuantan, Malaysia was examined to understand the anthropogenic environmental load in each administrative section, using water quality monitoring data and land use pattern. The National Physical Plan 2005 identified Kuantan as one of the country’s future growth centers, which has resulted in rapid development and environmental degradation in the past decade. Multiple water quality indexes used by the Department of Environment, Malaysia and concentrations of several ionic species were examined to assess the river’s water quality. The following inferences were drawn in this study: (1) Cl and Na+ concentrations indicated that the basin area near the eastern urbanized area was subject to lesser human influence and lower environmental burden; (2) the Western side of the Galing River was subject to higher anthropogenic influence and indicated lower class levels of ammoniacal nitrogen, chemical oxygen demand, and dissolved oxygen, compared to the eastern side; (3) Class V or near class V pH values were obtained upstream at the western side of the Galing River in the industrial area; (4) Two types of environmental burden were identified in the western side of the Galing River, namely, inflow of industrial wastewater upstream on the western side and the effect of household wastewater or untreated raw sewage wastewater. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Land-Use/Land-Cover Change and Forest Fragmentation in the Garhwal Himalayan Region of India
Environments 2017, 4(2), 34; doi:10.3390/environments4020034 -
Abstract
The Garhwal Himalaya has experienced extensive deforestation and forest fragmentation, but data and documentation detailing this transformation of the Himalaya are limited. The aim of this study is to analyse the observed changes in land cover and forest fragmentation that occurred between 1976
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The Garhwal Himalaya has experienced extensive deforestation and forest fragmentation, but data and documentation detailing this transformation of the Himalaya are limited. The aim of this study is to analyse the observed changes in land cover and forest fragmentation that occurred between 1976 and 2014 in the Garhwal Himalayan region in India. Three images from Landsat 2 Multispectral Scanner System (MSS), Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM), and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) were used to extract the land cover maps. A cross-tabulation detection method in the geographic information system (GIS) module was used to detect land cover changes during the 1st period (1976–1998) and 2nd period (1998–2014). The landscape fragmentation tool LFT v2.0 was used to construct a forest fragmentation map and analyse the forest fragmentation pattern and change during the 1st period (1976–1998) and 2nd period (1998–2014). The overall annual rate of change in the forest cover was observed to be 0.22% and 0.27% in the 1st period (1976–1998) and 2nd period (1998–2014), respectively. The forest fragmentation analysis shows that a large core forest has decreased throughout the study period. The total area of forest patches also increased from 1976 to 2014, which are completely degraded forests. The results indicate that anthropogenic activities are the main causes of the loss of forest cover and forest fragmentation, but that natural factors also contributed. An increase in the area of scrub and barren land also contributed to the accumulation of wasteland or non-forest land in this region. Determining the trend and the rate of land cover conversion is necessary for development planners to establish a rational land use policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced Adsorption of Organic Compounds over an Activated Carbon Cloth by an External-Applied Electric Field
Environments 2017, 4(2), 33; doi:10.3390/environments4020033 -
Abstract
Adsorption of pollutants on activated carbon is an effective air pollution control technique. In this study, a strong and non-uniform electric field was applied over an activated carbon fiber cloth. The adsorption kinetic of several organic compounds (Acetone, Acetaldehyde, Benzene, Cyclohexane, Ethanol, Methyl
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Adsorption of pollutants on activated carbon is an effective air pollution control technique. In this study, a strong and non-uniform electric field was applied over an activated carbon fiber cloth. The adsorption kinetic of several organic compounds (Acetone, Acetaldehyde, Benzene, Cyclohexane, Ethanol, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Toluene, 1-Propanol) on the activated carbon cloth was evaluated in the presence and in the absence of an electric field. Results suggest that its application enhances the adsorptive process. A linear correlation was found between such enhancement and the specific heat of liquefaction of the organic compounds. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
From Open Data to Open Analyses—New Opportunities for Environmental Applications?
Environments 2017, 4(2), 32; doi:10.3390/environments4020032 -
Abstract
In this study, we explore the potential of open and accessible data in combination with interactive cloud-processing capabilities for applications in environmental monitoring and policies. During the last few years, the amount of open Earth observation and open national data has increased substantially.
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In this study, we explore the potential of open and accessible data in combination with interactive cloud-processing capabilities for applications in environmental monitoring and policies. During the last few years, the amount of open Earth observation and open national data has increased substantially. In parallel, access to analysis capabilities for such data has improved. The search and extraction of data from larger Earth observations archives and the processing of larger amounts of data have hitherto been an obstacle for many potential users. With the availability of new cloud solutions such as Google Earth Engine, NASA Earth Exchange, or ESA Cloud Toolbox, accessing and processing of large datasets have become easier for a wider range of users. In this communication, we briefly summarize these recent trends and illustrate their potential by four application showcases from terrestrial and aquatic environmental monitoring. We accessed and processed data from US and European Earth observation satellite archives with Google Earth Engine. As a complement, we also used open Swedish national data and open source desktop tools. We hope that our positive user experiences can encourage other environmental data users to further explore the new opportunities for easy access to open data and cloud-based processing capabilities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of Polyphenolic Antioxidants from Olive (Olea europaea) Leaves Using a Novel Glycerol/Sodium-Potassium Tartrate Low-Transition Temperature Mixture (LTTM)
Environments 2017, 4(2), 31; doi:10.3390/environments4020031 -
Abstract
Olive leaves (OLL) represent a major waste generated during the production of olive oil, but there is a great potential for their valorization, because they provide important content in polyphenolic phytochemicals, which possess several bioactivities. In spite of the high number of studies
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Olive leaves (OLL) represent a major waste generated during the production of olive oil, but there is a great potential for their valorization, because they provide important content in polyphenolic phytochemicals, which possess several bioactivities. In spite of the high number of studies dealing with polyphenol recovery from olive leaves, green processes involving environmentally benign solvents are scarce. In this study, a novel renewable natural low-transition temperature mixture (LTTM), composed of glycerol and sodium-potassium tartrate, was tested for its efficient ability to extract polyphenolic substances from OLL. The extraction process was optimised by using response surface methodology and the maximum yield in total polyphenols was 26.75 ± 3.22 mg caffeic acid equivalents per g dry weight, achieved with 50% (v/v) aqueous LTTM, liquid-to-solid ratio of 45 mL g−1 and at 73 °C. The LTTM was proven to be equally effective with 60% aqueous methanol, but it displayed inferior antioxidant properties. Liquid chromatography-diode array-mass spectrometry analyses revealed no significant qualitative differences between the LTTM and the aqueous methanolic extract. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Facile Approach to Preparing Molecularly Imprinted Chitosan for Detecting 2,4,6-Tribromophenol with a Widely Linear Range
Environments 2017, 4(2), 30; doi:10.3390/environments4020030 -
Abstract
The environmental pollution of 2,4,6-tribromophenol (TBP) has attracted attention. Based on an urgent need for the better provision of clean water, in situ determination of TBP is of great importance. Here, a facile and effective approach for detecting TBP is developed, based on
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The environmental pollution of 2,4,6-tribromophenol (TBP) has attracted attention. Based on an urgent need for the better provision of clean water, in situ determination of TBP is of great importance. Here, a facile and effective approach for detecting TBP is developed, based on coupling molecular imprinting technique with electrodeposition of chitosan (CS) on the gold electrode. The TBP imprinting CS film was fabricated by using CS as functional material and TBP as template molecule. The experiments show that the morphologies and electrochemical properties of the imprinted film sensor was different from non-imprinted film electrode. The current of the imprinted film was linearly proportional to the TBP concentration, with a wide linear range of 1.0 × 10−7 mol•L−1 to 1.0 × 10−3 mol•L−1. By selecting drop-coating method as a reference for controlled trials with the same functional material, the results illustrated that the electrodeposition enjoyed a widely linear range advantage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Linking Soil Properties to Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security in Nepal
Environments 2017, 4(2), 29; doi:10.3390/environments4020029 -
Abstract
Crop productivity is directly dependent on soil fertility. High organic carbon content in soil is vital as it leads to improved soil quality, increased productivity, and stable soil aggregates. In addition, with the signing of the climate agreement, there is growing interest in
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Crop productivity is directly dependent on soil fertility. High organic carbon content in soil is vital as it leads to improved soil quality, increased productivity, and stable soil aggregates. In addition, with the signing of the climate agreement, there is growing interest in carbon sequestration in landscapes. This paper looks at how soil organic carbon (SOC) can be increased so that it contributes not only to the reduction of atmospheric CO2, but also translates to the increased food production, thereby enhancing food security. This synergy between climate change mitigation and enhancing food security is even more relevant for mountain landscapes of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region where there remains huge potential to increase CO2 sequestration and simultaneously address food security in the chronic food deficit villages. Soil samples were collected from seven transects each in Bajhang and Mustang and from four land use types in each transect. Samples of soils were taken from two depths in each plot: 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm below the soil surface to compare the top soil and subsoil dynamics of the soil nutrients. The lab analysis was performed to assess the soil texture, soil acidity in “power of hydrogen” (pH), and macro-nutrients reflecting soil fertility. Secondary data was used to analyze the level of food deficit in the villages. The pH value of soil from Bajhang ranged from 5.3 to 9.1. The pH value of soil ranged from 5.7 to 8.8 in Mustang. SOC contents of sampled soils from Bajhang ranged from 0.20% to 7.69% with a mean amount of 2.47% ± 0.17%. SOC contents of sampled soils from Mustang ranged from 0.51% to 8.56% with a mean amount of 2.60% ± 0.25%. By land use type, forest land had the highest carbon (C) content of 53.61 t·ha−1 in Bajhang, whereas in Mustang, agricultural land had the highest C content of 52.02 tons·ha−1. Based on these data, we can say that there is potential for increasing SOC through improved soil health and crop production holistic soil management should be practiced for higher productivity, and incorporating livestock for farmyard manure would fertilize cultivated soils, which increases soil productivity. Increasing productivity would aid in enhancing the access and availability of food in these mountain villages. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary
Addressing Environmental Health Problems in Ogoniland through Implementation of United Nations Environment Program Recommendations: Environmental Management Strategies
Environments 2017, 4(2), 28; doi:10.3390/environments4020028 -
Abstract
On 4 August 2011, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) submitted an unprecedented, scientific, groundbreaking environmental assessment report (EAR) on Ogoniland to the Nigerian government. This was the outcome of a 14-month intensive evaluation of the extent of pollution. The intention was that UNEP’s
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On 4 August 2011, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) submitted an unprecedented, scientific, groundbreaking environmental assessment report (EAR) on Ogoniland to the Nigerian government. This was the outcome of a 14-month intensive evaluation of the extent of pollution. The intention was that UNEP’s recommendations would be implemented to restore the devastated environment, on the one hand, and on the other, counteract the numerous environmental health issues that have for decades, plagued Ogoniland. However, five years post-EAR, and despite the seriousness of the situation, no significant resolution has occurred on the part of the government or the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) or Shell. To date, millions of Niger Delta residents particularly those living in the oil-bearing communities, continue to suffer severe consequences. Although the assessment was conducted in Ogoniland, other communities in the Niger Delta are also affected. This article explores prevailing issues in the Niger Delta, using Ogoniland (a microcosm of the Niger Delta) as an example. A multidisciplinary approach for sustainable mitigation of environmental health risks in the Niger Delta is paramount, and environmental management tools offer valuable strategies. Adopting the UNEP’s recommendations for addressing environmental health problems requires implementing the environmental management/environmental management system (EM/EMS) model. However, the persistent lack of political will on the part of the Nigerian government, and the grossly nonchalant attitude by Shell remain major obstacles towards executing UNEP’s recommendations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Variability Patterns of the Urban Heat Island in São Paulo
Environments 2017, 4(2), 27; doi:10.3390/environments4020027 -
Abstract
The spatial and temporal variability patterns of the urban heat island (UHI) in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo (MASP) were investigated using hourly temperature observations for a 10-year period from January 2002 to December 2011. The empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and cluster
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The spatial and temporal variability patterns of the urban heat island (UHI) in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo (MASP) were investigated using hourly temperature observations for a 10-year period from January 2002 to December 2011. The empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and cluster analysis (CA) techniques for multivariate analysis were used to determine the dominant modes of UHI variability and to identify the homogeneity between the temperature observations in the MASP. The EOF method was used to obtain the spatial patterns (T-mode EOF) and to define temporal variability (S-mode EOF). In the T-mode, three main modes of variability were recognized. The first EOF explained 66.7% of the total variance in the air temperature, the second explained 24.0%, and the third explained 7.8%. The first and third EOFs were associated with wind movement in the MASP. The second EOF was considered the most important mode and was found to be related to the level of urbanization in the MASP, the release of heat stored in the urban canopy and the release of heat by anthropogenic sources, thus representing the UHI pattern in the MASP. In the S-mode, two modes of variability were found. The first EOF explained 49.4% of the total variance in the data, and the second explained 30.9%. In the S-mode, the first EOF represented the spatial pattern of the UHI and was similar to the second EOF in the T-mode. CA resulted in the identification of six homogeneous groups corresponding to the EOF patterns observed. The standard UHI according to the scale and annual seasons for the period from 2002 to 2010 presented maximum values between 14:00 and 16:00 local time (LT) and minimum values between 07:00 and 09:00 LT. Seasonal analysis revealed that spring had the highest maximum and minimum UHI values relative to the other seasons. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling of Urban Near-Road Atmospheric PM Concentrations Using an Artificial Neural Network Approach with Acoustic Data Input
Environments 2017, 4(2), 26; doi:10.3390/environments4020026 -
Abstract
Air quality assessment is an important task for local authorities due to several adverse health effects that are associated with exposure to e.g., urban particle concentrations throughout the world. Based on the consumption of costs and time related to the experimental works required
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Air quality assessment is an important task for local authorities due to several adverse health effects that are associated with exposure to e.g., urban particle concentrations throughout the world. Based on the consumption of costs and time related to the experimental works required for standardized measurements of particle concentration in the atmosphere, other methods such as modelling arise as integrative options, on condition that model performance reaches certain quality standards. This study presents an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) approach to predict atmospheric concentrations of particle mass considering particles with an aerodynamic diameter of 0.25–1 μm (PM(0.25–1)), 0.25–2.5 μm (PM(0.25–2.5)), 0.25–10 μm (PM(0.25–10)) as well as particle number concentrations of particles with an aerodynamic diameter of 0.25–2.5 μm (PNC(0.25–2.5)). ANN model input variables were defined using data of local sound measurements, concentrations of background particle transport and standard meteorological data. A methodology including input variable selection, data splitting and an evaluation of their performance is proposed. The ANN models were developed and tested by the use of a data set that was collected in a street canyon. The ANN models were applied furthermore to a research site featuring an inner-city park to test the ability of the approach to gather spatial information of aerosol concentrations. It was observed that ANN model predictions of PM(0.25–10) and PNC(0.25–2.5) within the street canyon case as well as predictions of PM(0.25–2.5), PM(0.25–10) and PNC(0.25–2.5) within the case study of the park area show good agreement to observations and meet quality standards proposed by the European Commission regarding mean value prediction. Results indicate that the ANN models proposed can be a fairly accurate tool for assessment in predicting particle concentrations not only in time but also in space. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Assessment of the Bui Hydropower System
Environments 2017, 4(2), 25; doi:10.3390/environments4020025 -
Abstract
Sustainable hydroelectric projects are judged by their contribution to sustainable development, long-term viability, and ability to integrate sustainability goals. This paper analyses the Bui hydroelectric dam in Ghana vis-à-vis these expectations using sustainability indices. A multi-criteria analysis tool, APIS (Aggregated Preference Indices System),
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Sustainable hydroelectric projects are judged by their contribution to sustainable development, long-term viability, and ability to integrate sustainability goals. This paper analyses the Bui hydroelectric dam in Ghana vis-à-vis these expectations using sustainability indices. A multi-criteria analysis tool, APIS (Aggregated Preference Indices System), is used to build indices for Bui dam for four hydrologic seasons. An analysis of the indicators used revealed that environmental indicators are weightiest and economic indicators have the least weight. Comparative analysis of the Bui dam project shows 40%, 36%, 18%, and 6% priority for technical, economic, social, and environmental criteria, respectively, during its implementation stages. Per estimation of this work, the general sustainability index of the Bui dam is between 0.4 and 0.6 on a scale of 0 to 1. The impact of seasonal climate change will reduce the index to below 0.5 for three hydrologic seasons. The results show that Bui dam has an average but weak index of sustainability. Multi-criteria analysis offers quality assessment of energy projects, which is valuable for analyzing proposed or existing energy projects. This paper shows the possibility of using multi-criteria analysis approach to assess the sustainability of a hydroelectric dam. The approach offers a quantitative and qualitative assessment of a hydroelectric dam via a suitable choice of indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of the Ratio of Nitrate to Ammonium Nitrogen on Nitrogen Removal in the Economical Growth of Vegetation in Hybrid Constructed Wetlands
Environments 2017, 4(1), 24; doi:10.3390/environments4010024 -
Abstract
Growing vegetables economically in the use of constructed wetland for wastewater treatment can play a role in overcoming water and food scarcity. Allium porrum L., Solanum melongena L., Ipomoea aquatica Forsk., and Capsicum annuum L. plants were selected to grow in hybrid constructed
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Growing vegetables economically in the use of constructed wetland for wastewater treatment can play a role in overcoming water and food scarcity. Allium porrum L., Solanum melongena L., Ipomoea aquatica Forsk., and Capsicum annuum L. plants were selected to grow in hybrid constructed wetland (CW) under natural conditions. The impact of the ratio of nitrate to ammonium nitrogen on ammonium and nitrate nitrogen removal and on total nitrogen were studied in wastewater. Constructed wetland planted with Ipomoea aquatica Forsk. and Solanum melongena L. showed higher removal efficiency for ammonium nitrogen under higher ammonium concentration, whereas Allium porrum L.-planted CW showed higher nitrate nitrogen removal when NO3–N concentration was high in wastewater. Capsicum annuum L.-planted CW showed little efficiency for both nitrogen sources compared to other vegetables. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Indoor Air Quality Assessment and Study of Different VOC Contributions within a School in Taranto City, South of Italy
Environments 2017, 4(1), 23; doi:10.3390/environments4010023 -
Abstract
Children spend a large amount of time in school environments and when Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is poor, comfort, productivity and learning performances may be affected. The aim of the present study is to characterize IAQ in a primary school located in Taranto
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Children spend a large amount of time in school environments and when Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is poor, comfort, productivity and learning performances may be affected. The aim of the present study is to characterize IAQ in a primary school located in Taranto city (south of Italy). Because of the proximity of a large industrial complex to the urban settlement, this district is one of the areas identified as being at high environmental risk in Italy. The study carried out simultaneous monitoring of indoor and outdoor Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) concentrations and assessed different pollutants’ contributions on the IAQ of the investigated site. A screening study of VOC and determination of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes (BTEX), sampled with Radiello® diffusive samplers suitable for thermal desorption, were carried out in three classrooms, in the corridor and in the yard of the school building. Simultaneously, Total VOC (TVOC) concentration was measured by means of real-time monitoring, in order to study the activation of sources during the monitored days. The analysis results showed a prevalent indoor contribution for all VOC except for BTEX which presented similar concentrations in indoor and outdoor air. Among the determined VOC, Terpenes and 2-butohxyethanol were shown to be an indoor source, the latter being the indoor pollutant with the highest concentration. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Practice-Based Interdisciplinary Approach and Environmental Research
Environments 2017, 4(1), 22; doi:10.3390/environments4010022 -
Abstract
Interdisciplinary researchers and educators, as community members, creators of knowledge, and environmental activists and practitioners, have a responsibility to build a bridge between community practice, academic scholarship, and professional contributions aimed at establishing environmental sustainability. In this paper, I focus on an undervalued
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Interdisciplinary researchers and educators, as community members, creators of knowledge, and environmental activists and practitioners, have a responsibility to build a bridge between community practice, academic scholarship, and professional contributions aimed at establishing environmental sustainability. In this paper, I focus on an undervalued area of environmental politics, practices, and often unarticulated assumptions which underlie human–environmental relations. This article challenges interdisciplinary studies that are not connected with practice by reconfiguring the meaning of a community-based, interdisciplinary approach. Drawing from works by Foucault, Latour, and Haraway, this paper first shows how to reconfigure the meaning of an interdisciplinary approach. Second, using Bourdieu and Brightman’s ethnographic studies as a framework, the paper situates practice as central to our efforts to deconstruct and replace current interdisciplinary initiatives with a practice-based approach. Through a practice-based interdisciplinary approach (PIA), environmental educators and researchers gain an awareness of and learn to make an investment in sustainable communities. As teams of environmental researchers practising in the local community, they are meaningfully involved with the community, with each other, and with the environment. Full article
Open AccessReview
Currently Commercially Available Chemical Sensors Employed for Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds in Outdoor and Indoor Air
Environments 2017, 4(1), 21; doi:10.3390/environments4010021 -
Abstract
The paper presents principle of operation and design of the most popular chemical sensors for measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in outdoor and indoor air. It describes the sensors for evaluation of explosion risk including pellistors and IR-absorption sensors as well as
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The paper presents principle of operation and design of the most popular chemical sensors for measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in outdoor and indoor air. It describes the sensors for evaluation of explosion risk including pellistors and IR-absorption sensors as well as the sensors for detection of toxic compounds such as electrochemical (amperometric), photoionization and semiconductor with solid electrolyte ones. Commercially available sensors for detection of VOCs and their metrological parameters—measurement range, limit of detection, measurement resolution, sensitivity and response time—were presented. Moreover, development trends and prospects of improvement of the metrological parameters of these sensors were highlighted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Highly Sensitive and Selective VOC Sensor Systems Based on Semiconductor Gas Sensors: How to?
Environments 2017, 4(1), 20; doi:10.3390/environments4010020 -
Abstract
Monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is of increasing importance in many application fields such as environmental monitoring, indoor air quality, industrial safety, fire detection, and health applications. The challenges in all of these applications are the wide variety and low concentrations of
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Monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is of increasing importance in many application fields such as environmental monitoring, indoor air quality, industrial safety, fire detection, and health applications. The challenges in all of these applications are the wide variety and low concentrations of target molecules combined with the complex matrix containing many inorganic and organic interferents. This paper will give an overview over the application fields and address the requirements, pitfalls, and possible solutions for using low-cost sensor systems for VOC monitoring. The focus lies on highly sensitive metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors, which show very high sensitivity, but normally lack selectivity required for targeting relevant VOC monitoring applications. In addition to providing an overview of methods to increase the selectivity, especially virtual multisensors achieved with dynamic operation, and boost the sensitivity further via novel pro-concentrator concepts, we will also address the requirement for high-performance gas test systems, advanced solutions for operating and read-out electronic, and, finally, a cost-efficient factory and on-site calibration. The various methods will be primarily discussed in the context of requirements for monitoring of indoor air quality, but can equally be applied for environmental monitoring and other fields. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Exposure Assessment Methods in Studies on Waste Management and Health Effects: An Overview
Environments 2017, 4(1), 19; doi:10.3390/environments4010019 -
Abstract
Concerns and uncertainties persist about potential environmental and health effects associated with exposure to emissions from widely adopted waste management facilities: despite a limited amount of evidence having been found for some exposure-effect associations, most of the available studies were characterized by limitations
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Concerns and uncertainties persist about potential environmental and health effects associated with exposure to emissions from widely adopted waste management facilities: despite a limited amount of evidence having been found for some exposure-effect associations, most of the available studies were characterized by limitations related to poor exposure assessment, which could introduce biases and weaknesses in the interpretation of results. This communication provides a brief overview of the exposure assessment methods used in studies on waste management and health effects: problems, key issues, priorities and challenges are briefly presented and discussed. The main conclusions refer to the need of newly developed and harmonized exposure assessment strategies and techniques, which represent an essential step in the study of waste-disposal facilities’ health impacts. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sonication Effects on Atrazine Dissipation in Vadose Zone Sediment Slurries
Environments 2017, 4(1), 18; doi:10.3390/environments4010018 -
Abstract
Herbicide atrazine easily leaches to groundwater, where it is persistent. We studied whether sonication accelerates atrazine dissipation (100 mg·L−1) in vadose zone sediment slurries. Sediments were from 11.3 to 14.6 m depths in an atrazine-contaminated groundwater area. The slurries and autoclave-sterilized
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Herbicide atrazine easily leaches to groundwater, where it is persistent. We studied whether sonication accelerates atrazine dissipation (100 mg·L−1) in vadose zone sediment slurries. Sediments were from 11.3 to 14.6 m depths in an atrazine-contaminated groundwater area. The slurries and autoclave-sterilized slurries were sonicated (bath, 43 kHz, 320 W) for 0, 5, 10, 20, or 30 min once/twice a day, and atrazine concentrations were followed. Atrazine concentrations raised in the sterilized slurries sonicated twice a day for 10 min (86.0 ± 7.7 mg·L−1), while they remained low in the slurries (56.6 ± 10.9 mg·L−1) due to microbial degradation. Twice a day sonications for 20–30 min did not enhance microbial atrazine degradation. Chemical dissipation may have occurred in the sterilized slurries sonicated twice a day for 30 min. However, sonication did not decrease atrazine concentrations below those in the non-sonicated slurries (55.1 ± 7.8 mg·L−1) and sterilized slurries (67.1 ± 7.9 mg·L−1). Atrazine concentrations in the sterilized slurries were higher than in the slurries, indicating changes in sediment structure and adsorption due to autoclaving. Sonication parameters needed for releasing atrazine from interactions with particles may be close to those damaging microbial cells. This suggests difficulties in enhancing microbial atrazine degradation by sonication, though chemical degradation can be enhanced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Climatic Effects on Vegetation Dynamics in the Mekong River Basin
Environments 2017, 4(1), 17; doi:10.3390/environments4010017 -
Abstract
Understanding long-term vegetation dynamics, their responses to climate, and other driving factors is crucial for integrated basin management in the Mekong River Basin (MRB) in a context of global change. In this study, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and climate data from 1982
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Understanding long-term vegetation dynamics, their responses to climate, and other driving factors is crucial for integrated basin management in the Mekong River Basin (MRB) in a context of global change. In this study, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and climate data from 1982 to 2013 were collected from Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) and Climate Research Unit Time Series Version 3.23 (CRU-TS 3.23). The long-term monthly average, Mann–Kendall trend (M–K) test, Sen’s slope, the coefficient of variation, correlation analysis, and the Partial Least Square Regression (PLSR) model with the Variable Importance in Projection (VIP) were applied in this study. The results showed an increasing temporal trend in NDVI and climate variables, especially temperature, in all vegetation types. There is a significantly increasing NDVI trend with relatively stable NDVI fluctuation across the majority of the MRB except in part of the Tibetan plateau in China. There is a positive spatial correlation between NDVI and air temperature, precipitation and PET (potential evapotranspiration) in the upper part of the basin. Air temperature is an important explanatory factor for all vegetation types, especially in forest ecosystems and croplands, while the role of precipitation and PET vary depending on vegetation type. In addition to physical aspects of the MRB, such as runoff, we conclude that the vegetation dynamics related to climate variables in the MRB should be considered in policies as the framework for ecological and environmental management plans of the MRB. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Negative Reagent Ions for Real Time Detection Using SIFT-MS
Environments 2017, 4(1), 16; doi:10.3390/environments4010016 -
Abstract
Direct analysis techniques have greatly simplified analytical methods used to monitor analytes at trace levels in air samples. One of these methods, Selected Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS), has proven to be particularly effective because of its speed and ease of use. The
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Direct analysis techniques have greatly simplified analytical methods used to monitor analytes at trace levels in air samples. One of these methods, Selected Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS), has proven to be particularly effective because of its speed and ease of use. The range of analytes accessible using the SIFT-MS technique has been extended by this work as it introduces five new negatively charged reagent ions (O, OH, O2, NO2, and NO3) from the same microwave powered ion source of moist air used to generate the reagent ions traditionally used (H3O+, NO+, and O2+). Results are presented using a nitrogen carrier gas showing the linearity with concentration of a number of analytes not readily accessible to positive reagent ions (CO2 from ppbv to 40,000 ppmv, sulfuryl fluoride and HCl). The range of analytes open to the SIFT-MS technique has been extended and selectivity enhanced using negative reagent ions to include CCl3NO2, SO2F2, HCN, CH3Cl, PH3, C2H4Br2, HF, HCl, SO2, SO3, and NO2. Full article
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