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Pollutants, Volume 1, Issue 3 (September 2021) – 6 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Climate change is causing an increase in drought and water shortages, so it is essential to introduce alternative crops to develop strategies for sustainable water management and for understanding plant functional responses to soil erosion and contamination. Industrial hemp cultivation has the potential to be an environmentally friendly and highly sustainable crop that excludes any chemical substance with positive effects in terms of erosion and desertification of the land and the environment in general. Its reintroduction in marginal areas contributes to improving the socio-economic resilience and to optimising the use of natural resources for sustainable agricultural management. From the results, there is a good agreement between the field outcomes in terms of water stress and its effects on hemp crop vigour. View this paper
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Article
Inhalation Exposure to PCB from Contaminated Indoor Air—How Much Is Absorbed into the Blood?
Pollutants 2021, 1(3), 181-193; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pollutants1030015 - 01 Sep 2021
Viewed by 357
Abstract
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used in many construction products until their banning in the 1970s and 1980s. Nonetheless, exposure to PCBs from contaminated indoor air is still an important public health issue. The aim of our study was to estimate the contribution of [...] Read more.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used in many construction products until their banning in the 1970s and 1980s. Nonetheless, exposure to PCBs from contaminated indoor air is still an important public health issue. The aim of our study was to estimate the contribution of PCB congeners in indoor air to the levels of PCBs in human blood. We analyzed all 209 PCB congeners in the blood of 35 individuals exposed to PCBs from contaminated indoor air. For each individual, we measured the six marker indicators PCB28, PCB52, PCB101, PCB138, PCB153 and PCB180 in indoor air at the workplace. Statistically significant correlations between PCB-contaminated indoor air and the existence of the sum of mono-, di-, tri-, tetra- and pentachlorinated biphenyls (∑PCB1–127) in the blood of the exposed individuals were found. We quantified the proportions of PCBs that are absorbed into the blood via inhalation of contaminated indoor air. Inhalation of PCBs from contaminated indoor air, especially in children, adolescents and younger adults, may lead to PCB blood burdens that are higher than general PCB background levels or in approximately the same range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollutants in Indoor Air)
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Article
The Cultivation of Industrial Hemp as Alternative Crop in a Less-Favoured Agricultural Area in Southern Italy: The Pignola Case Study
Pollutants 2021, 1(3), 169-180; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pollutants1030014 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Industrial hemp cultivation has the potential to be an environmentally friendly and highly sustainable crop and it can fit well in crop rotation practices to increase soil fertility. For this study, two commercial varieties of industrial hemp with low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content were [...] Read more.
Industrial hemp cultivation has the potential to be an environmentally friendly and highly sustainable crop and it can fit well in crop rotation practices to increase soil fertility. For this study, two commercial varieties of industrial hemp with low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content were used to test its reintroduction chance in the study area and to evaluate its response in terms of yield with respect to the soil and drought conditions of the area. During the vegetative period, non-invasive measures of the soil’s water status were performed using Watermark probes and ground penetrating radar. In addition, hemp crops vigour monitoring was performed by means of Sentinel 2 multispectral optical remote sensing data. In the absence of precipitation and/or irrigation, and with high consumption of soil water by the hemp crop due to evapotranspiration, the crop has completed its cycle thanks to its resistance to water stress conditions. From the soil water and satellite monitoring results, there is a good agreement with the field results in terms of water stress and its effects on crop vigour. This study contributes to a better understanding of the possibility of hemp crop reintroduction in areas where water deficit occurs, which could open up the opportunity for selecting hemp crop cultivars that can be grown under different agro-ecological conditions and are also of great commercial interest for decision makers involved in sustainable crop management and in the reduction of fertilizers and pollutants released into the environment. Full article
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Article
Marine Litter Stormy Wash-Outs: Developing the Neural Network to Predict Them
Pollutants 2021, 1(3), 156-168; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pollutants1030013 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Observations show that after stormy events, anthropogenic litter is washed ashore for short periods of time, providing the opportunity to collect and remove it from the environment. However, water dynamics in sea coastal zones during and after storms are very complicated, and the [...] Read more.
Observations show that after stormy events, anthropogenic litter is washed ashore for short periods of time, providing the opportunity to collect and remove it from the environment. However, water dynamics in sea coastal zones during and after storms are very complicated, and the transport properties of litter items are very diverse; thus, predicting litter wash-outs using classical numerical models is challenging. We analyze meteorological and hydrophysical conditions in the Baltic Sea coastal zone to further use the obtained data as a training sequence for an artificial neural network (ANN). Analysis of the physical processes behind large litter wash-outs links open-source meteorological (wind speed and direction) and hydrodynamic reanalysis (surface wave parameters) data to the time and location of these wash-outs. A detailed analysis of 25 cases of wash-outs observed at the shore of the Sambian Peninsula was performed. The importance of the duration of the storm and its subsiding phase was revealed. An ANN structure is proposed for forecasting marine debris wash-outs as the first step in the creation of a neural network-based tool for managers and beach cleaners, helping to plan effective measures to remove plastics and other anthropogenic contaminants from the marine environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Pollutants)
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Review
An Overview of the Glucocorticoids’ Pathways in the Environment and Their Removal Using Conventional Wastewater Treatment Systems
Pollutants 2021, 1(3), 141-155; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pollutants1030012 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 780
Abstract
Numerous micropollutants, especially endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), can pollute natural aquatic environments causing great concern for human and ecosystem health. While most of the conversation revolves around estrogen and androgen, glucocorticoids (GCs) are also prevalent in natural waters. Despite the fact that GCs play [...] Read more.
Numerous micropollutants, especially endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), can pollute natural aquatic environments causing great concern for human and ecosystem health. While most of the conversation revolves around estrogen and androgen, glucocorticoids (GCs) are also prevalent in natural waters. Despite the fact that GCs play a crucial role in both inflammatory and immunologic development activities, they are also detected in natural waters and considered as one of the EDCs. Although many researchers have mentioned the adverse effect of GCs on aquatic organisms, a complete management technology to remove these pollutants from surface and coastal waters is yet to be established. In the current study, six glucocorticoids (prednisone, prednisolone, cortisone, cortisol, dexamethasone, and 6R-methylprednisolone) have been selected according to their higher detection frequency in environmental waters. The concentration of selected GCs ranged from 0.05 ng/L to 433 ng/L and their removal efficiency ranged from 10% to 99% depending on the water source and associated removal technologies. Although advanced technologies are available for achieving successful removal of GCs, associated operational and economic considerations make implementation of these processes unsustainable. Further studies are necessary to resolve the entry routes of GCs compounds into the surface water or drinking water permanently as well as employ sustainable detection and removal technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysis of Trace Pollutants in Complex Matrices)
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Article
Reviewing the Crop Residual Burning and Aerosol Variations during the COVID-19 Pandemic Hit Year 2020 over North India
Pollutants 2021, 1(3), 127-140; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pollutants1030011 - 01 Jul 2021
Viewed by 869
Abstract
The north Indian states of Haryana and Punjab are believed to be the key sources of air pollution in the National Capital Region due to massive agricultural waste burning in crop harvesting seasons. However, with the pandemic COVID-19 hitting the country, the usual [...] Read more.
The north Indian states of Haryana and Punjab are believed to be the key sources of air pollution in the National Capital Region due to massive agricultural waste burning in crop harvesting seasons. However, with the pandemic COVID-19 hitting the country, the usual practices were disrupted. COVID-19 preventive lockdown led to restricted vehicular and industrial emissions and caused the labours to leave the agricultural business in Haryana and Punjab. With the changed scenario of 2020, the present study investigates the variations in air quality over the Haryana and Punjab, and their relative impact on the air quality of Delhi. The work attempts to understand the change in agricultural waste burning during 2020 and its implication on the local air quality over both the states and the transported pollution on the national capital Delhi. The study utilises in-situ data for the year 2019–2020 with satellite observations of MODIS aqua/terra for fire counts, aerosol optical depth (AOD) and back-trajectories run by the hybrid single-particle Lagrangian integrated trajectory model (HYSPLIT). Full article
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Communication
Trace Metal Levels and Nutrient Characteristics of Crude Oil-Contaminated Soil Amended with Biochar–Humus Sediment Slurry
Pollutants 2021, 1(3), 119-126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pollutants1030010 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 634
Abstract
Biochar utilization for environmental remediation applications has become very popular. We investigated the trace metal levels and soil nutrient characteristics of a biochar–humus sediment slurry treatment of a simulated crude oil-contaminated soil in the present work. The results revealed that biochar prepared at [...] Read more.
Biochar utilization for environmental remediation applications has become very popular. We investigated the trace metal levels and soil nutrient characteristics of a biochar–humus sediment slurry treatment of a simulated crude oil-contaminated soil in the present work. The results revealed that biochar prepared at moderate pyrolysis temperature (500 °C) could still retain a significantly higher nutrient content than those prepared at high temperatures (700 and 900 °C). Despite the suitability for soil treatment, one-pot treatment studies seem not to be very effective for monitoring trace metal sorption to biochar because trace metals do not biodegrade and remain in the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysis of Trace Pollutants in Complex Matrices)
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