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Environments, Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2021) – 10 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Plume emissions from large boats can carry a number of pollutants to nearby cities, causing a detrimental effect on the life quality and health of coastal city populations and ecosystems. The interplay between dominant winds, local orography, and local buildings determine how much pollution will reach populated areas. A computational fluid dynamics model of the harbor area of Tromsø (Norway) has been built in order to understand the traces of polluting gas in the city due to exhaust emissions in detail. View this paper
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Article
An Environmental Approach to Understanding the Expansion of Future Vineyards: Case Study of Soil Developed on Alluvial Sediments
Environments 2021, 8(9), 96; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090096 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
The importance of soil properties in wine grape production is generally treated as secondary to climate and canopy management. This study was undertaken to characterize and classify a singular soil resource for a vineyard in a traditional viticultural region: Castilla-La Mancha, central Spain. [...] Read more.
The importance of soil properties in wine grape production is generally treated as secondary to climate and canopy management. This study was undertaken to characterize and classify a singular soil resource for a vineyard in a traditional viticultural region: Castilla-La Mancha, central Spain. The soil under study was described and sampled using standard soil survey procedures as outlined by FAO, and served as a pedologic window for Gleyic Fluvisol (Calcaric, Humic), according to the FAO System, or Fluventic Haploxerept, according to the Soil Taxonomy System. This soil, developed on alluvial materials of Holocene age related to the Gigüela river (either carbonatic or gypsiferous) has, in addition to obvious hydromorphic features (that reduce its use), high organic matter content (5.5% in the Ap horizon) and moderate salt content (between 1.14 and 2.39 dS/m). Other properties are common to most vineyard soils in Castilla-La Mancha, such as alkaline reactivity (pH between 7.6 and 8.2); calcium and magnesium as the dominant cations followed by sodium and potassium; finally, some deficiency in N (0.11%) and P (12.3 mg/kg). The most restricting soil factors for vineyard growth of this soil type were waterlogging, which can affect vine roots, and the appearance of certain salinity problems. The final conclusion of this study was that the use of the studied soil type for vineyard cultivation could be recommended to farmers only in the case of improving soil properties—for example, draining the river level. Full article
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Article
Factors for Implementation of Circular Economy in Firms in COVID-19 Pandemic Times: The Case of Peru
Environments 2021, 8(9), 95; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090095 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 721
Abstract
The circular economy can contribute to the eco-efficient use of resources. Firms can obtain relevant benefits if they implement a circular economy. In Peru, the circular economy would create benefits, but it is not fully clear what factors explain the acceptance of firms [...] Read more.
The circular economy can contribute to the eco-efficient use of resources. Firms can obtain relevant benefits if they implement a circular economy. In Peru, the circular economy would create benefits, but it is not fully clear what factors explain the acceptance of firms of implementing a circular economy. Following the theory of planned behavior, the current research assesses the influence of attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral norms, intentions, and pressures on behaviors towards the circular economy. A total of 71 medium-size firms based in Peru participated in an online survey. Six questions were focused on general information, and forty-seven questions evaluated the circular economy behavior of firms. A partial least square structural equation modeling technical analysis was used. It was found that attitudes (0.144), subjective norms (0.133), and perceived behavioral control (0.578) had a positive influence on intentions; also, perceived behavioral control (0.461) had a positive influence on behaviors towards the circular economy. Finally, pressures had a positive influence (0.162) on behaviors towards the circular economy. The model explained 64.3% of the behaviors towards the circular economy. The outcomes of the bootstrapping test were used to evaluate if the path coefficients are significant. This study showed that attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral norms, intentions, and pressures explained circular economy behaviors. This information can help firms develop strategies to move forward a circular economy and provide governments information about the current situation of circular economy implementation to generate new norms and strategies for more implementation of circular economy measures in enterprises. The novelty is based on using the PLS-SEM technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environments in 2021)
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Article
Influence of the Rhizobacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides KE149 and Biochar on Waterlogging Stress Tolerance in Glycine max L.
Environments 2021, 8(9), 94; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090094 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
In the context of the current climate change and increasing population scenarios, waterlogging stress in plants represents a global threat to sustainable agriculture production. Plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria and biochar have been widely reported to mitigate the effects of several abiotic stresses. Hence, in the [...] Read more.
In the context of the current climate change and increasing population scenarios, waterlogging stress in plants represents a global threat to sustainable agriculture production. Plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria and biochar have been widely reported to mitigate the effects of several abiotic stresses. Hence, in the present study, we examined the effect of the rhizobacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides KE149 and biochar on soybean plants subjected to sufficient water supply and waterlogging stress conditions. Our results revealed that KE149 and biochar inoculation significantly improved plant morphological attributes, such as root length, shoot length, and fresh biomass. The biochemical analysis results showed that the two treatments determined a significant drop in the levels of endogenous phytohormones (such as abscisic acid) under normal conditions, which were considerably enhanced under waterlogging stress. However, the jasmonic acid content increased with the application of biochar and KE149 under normal conditions, and it considerably decreased under waterlogging stress. Moreover, proline, methionine, and aspartic acid were significantly increased, whereas the phenolic and flavonoid contents were reduced with the application of the two treatments under waterlogging stress. These results suggest that the application of KE149 and biochar can be a safe biological tool with which to improve the physiology and productivity of soybean plants exposed to waterlogging stress. Full article
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Article
Participatory Evaluation of Water Management Options for Climate Change Adaptation in River Basins
Environments 2021, 8(9), 93; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090093 - 10 Sep 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Climate and other human-induced changes will increase water scarcity in world areas such as in the Mediterranean. Adaptation principles need to be urgently incorporated into water management and stakeholder engagement needs to be strengthened at all steps of the management cycle. This study [...] Read more.
Climate and other human-induced changes will increase water scarcity in world areas such as in the Mediterranean. Adaptation principles need to be urgently incorporated into water management and stakeholder engagement needs to be strengthened at all steps of the management cycle. This study aimed to analyse and compare stakeholder-preferred water management options (WMOs) to face climate change related challenges and to foster adaptation in four Mediterranean river basins. The challenges and WMOs of the four river basins identified by stakeholders were analysed examining to what extent the WMOs tackled the identified challenges. The impact of the WMOs resulting from a participatory modelling method was included in a comparative analysis of the stakeholders’ WMOs preferences. The results indicate the participatory approach that was applied allowed local priorities and real-world challenges to be defined with adequate detail as well as the definition of tailored responses. The participatory impact analysis provided an integrated view of the river basin as an interrelated system. The participatory evaluation of the WMOs was able to consider a wide range of elements and was able reflect the combined preferences of the stakeholders. Moreover, it allowed groups of basin actors with highly diverse profiles and concerns to further promote sets of these WMOs as input into decision making processes. Full article
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Article
Migration, Rural–Urban Connectivity, and Food Remittances in Kenya
Environments 2021, 8(9), 92; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090092 - 07 Sep 2021
Viewed by 444
Abstract
This paper draws on data from a representative city-wide household food security survey of Nairobi conducted in 2017 to examine the importance of food remitting to households in contemporary Nairobi. The first section of the paper provides an overview of the urbanization and [...] Read more.
This paper draws on data from a representative city-wide household food security survey of Nairobi conducted in 2017 to examine the importance of food remitting to households in contemporary Nairobi. The first section of the paper provides an overview of the urbanization and rapid growth of Nairobi, which has led to growing socio-economic inequality, precarious livelihoods for the majority, and growing food insecurity, as context for the more detailed empirical analysis of food security and food remittances that follows. It is followed by a description of the survey methodology and sections analyzing the differences between migrant and non-migrant households in Nairobi. Attention then turns to the phenomenon of food remitting, showing that over 50% of surveyed households in the city had received food remittances in the previous year. The paper then uses multivariate logistic regression to identify the relationship between Nairobi household characteristics and the probability of receiving food remittances from rural areas. The findings suggest that there are exceptions to the standard migration and poverty-driven explanatory model of the drivers of rural–urban food remitting and that greater attention should be paid to other motivations for maintaining rural–urban connectivity in Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural-Urban Relations and Sustainable Food Systems)
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Editorial
Pollution Prevention/Environmental Sustainability for Industry
Environments 2021, 8(9), 91; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090091 - 05 Sep 2021
Viewed by 639
Abstract
It has been 30 years since, in the United States, the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 focused attention on reducing pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollution Prevention/Environmental Sustainability for Industry)
Article
Development of a Green Methodology for Simultaneous Extraction of Polyphenols and Pigments from Red Winemaking Solid Wastes (Pomace) Using a Novel Glycerol-Sodium Benzoate Deep Eutectic Solvent and Ultrasonication Pretreatment
Environments 2021, 8(9), 90; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090090 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 583
Abstract
In this examination, two glycerol-based deep eutectic solvents (DESs) were tested for their efficiency in the recovery of antioxidant polyphenols and anthocyanin pigments from red grape pomace (RGP). The two DESs synthesized had sodium acetate and sodium benzoate as hydrogen bond acceptors, to [...] Read more.
In this examination, two glycerol-based deep eutectic solvents (DESs) were tested for their efficiency in the recovery of antioxidant polyphenols and anthocyanin pigments from red grape pomace (RGP). The two DESs synthesized had sodium acetate and sodium benzoate as hydrogen bond acceptors, to test the role of the hydrogen bond acceptor polarity on the extraction performance. Furthermore, the process was enhanced by an ultrasonication pretreatment stage. After initial testing with respect to water content, ultrasonication power and liquid-to-solid ratio, the DES composed of glycerol and sodium benzoate (GL-SBz) was shown to be significantly more efficient than the one made of glycerol and sodium acetate (GL-SAc). Further optimization of the extraction with regard to time and temperature demonstrated GL-SBz to be a highly effective solvent for the production of RGP extracts rich in polyphenols including gallic acid, catechin and quercetin, and pigments including malvidin 3-O-glucoside p-coumarate and malvidin 3-O-glucoside. The extracts produced also had significantly higher antiradical activity and reducing power compared to those generated with aqueous ethanol or water. From this study, evidence emerged regarding the role of the hydrogen bond acceptor nature in the extraction efficiency of polyphenols. The process developed is proposed as a green, high-performing methodology for the production of RGP extracts with enhanced polyphenolic content and antioxidant activity. Full article
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Article
Prioritizing Suitable Quality Assurance and Control Standards to Reduce Laboratory Airborne Microfibre Contamination in Sediment Samples
Environments 2021, 8(9), 89; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090089 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 452
Abstract
The ubiquity and distribution of microplastics, particularly microfibres, in outdoor and indoor environments makes it challenging when assessing and controlling background contamination, as atmospheric particles can be unintentionally introduced into a sample during laboratory analysis. As such, an intra-laboratory examination and literature review [...] Read more.
The ubiquity and distribution of microplastics, particularly microfibres, in outdoor and indoor environments makes it challenging when assessing and controlling background contamination, as atmospheric particles can be unintentionally introduced into a sample during laboratory analysis. As such, an intra-laboratory examination and literature review was completed to quantify background contamination in sediment samples, in addition to comparing reported quality assurance and control (QA/QC) protocols in 50 studies examining microplastics in sediment from 2010 to 2021. The intra-lab analysis prioritizes negative controls, placing procedural blanks in various working labs designed to prepare, process, and microscopically analyse microplastics in sediment. All four labs are subject to microfibre contamination; however, following the addition of alternative clean-air devices (microscope enclosure and HEPA air purifiers), contamination decreased by 66% in laboratory B, and 70% in laboratory C. A review of microplastic studies suggests that 82% are not including or reporting alternative clean-air devices in their QA/QC approaches. These studies are found to be at greater risk of secondary contamination, as 72% of them ranked as medium to high contamination risk. It is imperative that laboratories incorporate matrix-specific QA/QC approaches to minimize false positives and improve transparency and harmonization across studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions)
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Article
Atmospheric Contamination of Coastal Cities by the Exhaust Emissions of Docked Marine Vessels: The Case of Tromsø
Environments 2021, 8(9), 88; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090088 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 553
Abstract
Docked ships are a source of contamination for the city while they keep their engine working. Plume emissions from large boats can carry a number of pollutants to nearby cities causing a detrimental effect on the life quality and health of local citizens [...] Read more.
Docked ships are a source of contamination for the city while they keep their engine working. Plume emissions from large boats can carry a number of pollutants to nearby cities causing a detrimental effect on the life quality and health of local citizens and ecosystems. A computational fluid dynamics model of the harbour area of Tromsø has been built in order to model the deposition of CO2 gas emitted by docked vessels within the city. The ground level distribution of the emitted gas has been obtained and the influence of the wind speed and direction, vessel chimney height, ambient temperature and exhaust gas temperature have been studied. The deposition range is found to be the largest when the wind speed is low. At high wind speeds, the deposition of pollutants along the wind direction is enhanced and spots of high pollutant concentration can be created. The simulation model is intended for the detailed study of the contamination in cities near the coast or an industrial pollutant source of any type of gas pollutant and can easily be extended for the study of particulate matter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution in Urban and Industrial Areas)
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Article
Urban Environmental Quality Assessment by Spectral Characteristics of Mulberry (Morus L.) Leaves
Environments 2021, 8(9), 87; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090087 - 01 Sep 2021
Viewed by 550
Abstract
In this paper, an analysis of the possibility of passive determination of the degree of environmental pollution based on data from the leaf blade of mulberry is made. With existing solutions in this area, the mulberry has been found to be under-researched. A [...] Read more.
In this paper, an analysis of the possibility of passive determination of the degree of environmental pollution based on data from the leaf blade of mulberry is made. With existing solutions in this area, the mulberry has been found to be under-researched. A disadvantage of the available solutions is that spectral indices are used, which is not a sufficient criterion for passively determining the degree of air pollution based on the surface characteristics of the mulberry leaves. Methods have been used to reduce the amount of data by latent variables and principal components. It has been found that a kernel variant of the principal components, combined with linear discriminant analysis, is an appropriate method for distinguishing the degree of air pollution from mulberry leaf data. The results obtained can be used to refine the approaches used to passively determine the degree of air pollution in the habitat area of the plant. Methods and software tools could be used to develop mobile applications and new approaches to remote sensing, in express determination of the degree of environmental pollution, according to data from the mulberry leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Air Pollution and Occupational Exposure)
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