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Special Issue "Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Interests: ecological hydrology monitoring and modeling in drainage basin; global change- land use modeling; landscape ecology; system dynamic modeling of wetlands; spatial analysis and modeling; blockchain; spatial dynamic modeling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Marta Otero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CESAM (Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies) & Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: pollution and contamination of water, soil and sediments; decontamination and purification of water: global treatment systems; sustainable treatment processes; clean and alternative technologies; biowastes management and valorization; novel materials: production, characterization and utilization; thermal analysis
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the Special Issue entitled “Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering". This is a collection of highly relevant papers (original research articles or comprehensive review papers) published in open-access form by editorial board members, or prominent scholars invited by the board and the editorial office. This Special Issue aims to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive view on the state of the art in environmental science and technology. We consider this issue to be the best forum to disseminate important research findings and share innovative ideas in the field.

We hope this topic is of interest to you and  invite you to send a tentative title and short abstract to our editorial office ([email protected]) for evaluation before submission. Please note that selected papers are still subject to thorough peer review.

Prof. Dr. Yu-Pin Lin
Dr. Marta Otero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • environmental pollution and remediation
  • environmental quality and treatment
  • environmental modeling and exposure or risk assessment
  • environmental engineering techniques in public health
  • environmental toxicological assessment
  • environmental systems and public health
  • environmental management and public health
  • environmental governance and public health.

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Article
Time-Variant Positive Air Pressure in Drainage Stacks as a Pathogen Transmission Pathway of COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6068; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18116068 - 04 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
Time-variant positive air pressure in a drainage stack poses a risk of pathogenic virus transmission into a habitable space, however, the excessive risk and its significance have not yet been sufficiently addressed for drainage system designs. This study proposes a novel measure for [...] Read more.
Time-variant positive air pressure in a drainage stack poses a risk of pathogenic virus transmission into a habitable space, however, the excessive risk and its significance have not yet been sufficiently addressed for drainage system designs. This study proposes a novel measure for the probable pathogenic virus transmission risk of a high-rise drainage stack with the occurrence of positive air pressure. The proposed approach is based on time-variant positive air pressures measured in a 38 m high drainage stack of a full-scale experimental tower under steady flow conditions of flow rate 1–4 Ls−1 discharging at a height between 15 m to 33 m above the stack base. The maximum pressure and probabilistic positive air pressures in the discharging stack ventilation section with no water (Zone A of the discharging drainage stack) were determined. It was demonstrated that the positive air pressures were lower in frequency as compared with those in other stack zones and could propagate along the upper 1/3 portion of the ventilation pipe (H’ ≥ 0.63) towards the ventilation opening at the rooftop. As the probabilistic positive pressures at a stack height were found to be related to the water discharging height and flow rate, a risk model of positive air pressure is proposed. Taking the 119th, 124th, 140th and 11,547th COVID-19 cases of an epidemiological investigation in Hong Kong as a baseline of concern, excessive risk of system overuse was evaluated. The results showed that for a 20–80% increase in the frequency of discharge flow rate, the number of floors identified at risk increased from 1 to 9 and 1 to 6 in the 34- and 25-storey residential buildings, respectively. The outcome can apply to facilities planning for self-quarantine arrangements in high-rise buildings where pathogenic virus transmission associated with drainage system overuse is a concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Manufacturing and Application of 3D Printed Photo Fenton Reactors for Wastewater Treatment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4885; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094885 - 04 May 2021
Viewed by 829
Abstract
Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing offers a new paradigm for designing and developing chemical reactors, in particular, prototypes. The use of 3D printers has been increasing, their performance has been improving, and their price has been reducing. While the general trend is [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing offers a new paradigm for designing and developing chemical reactors, in particular, prototypes. The use of 3D printers has been increasing, their performance has been improving, and their price has been reducing. While the general trend is clear, particular applications need to be assessed for their practicality. This study develops and follows a systematic approach to the prototyping of Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP) reactors. Specifically, this work evaluates and discusses different printable materials in terms of mechanical and chemical resistance to photo-Fenton reactants. Metallic and ceramic materials are shown to be impracticable due to their high printing cost. Polymeric and composite materials are sieved according to criteria such as biodegradability, chemical, thermal, and mechanical resistance. Finally, 3D-printed prototypes are produced and tested in terms of leakage and resistance to the photo-Fenton reacting environment. Polylactic acid (PLA) and wood–PLA composite (Timberfill®) were selected, and lab-scale raceway pond reactors (RPR) were printed accordingly. They were next exposed to H2O2/Fe(II) solutions at pH = 3 ± 0.2 and UV radiation. After 48 h reaction tests, results revealed that the Timberfill® reactor produced higher Total Organic Carbon (TOC) concentrations (9.6 mg·L−1) than that obtained for the PLA reactor (5.5 mg·L−1) and Pyrex® reactor (5.2 mg·L−1), which suggests the interference of Timberfill® with the reaction. The work also considers and discusses further chemical and mechanical criteria that also favor PLA for 3D-printing Fenton and photo-Fenton reactors. Finally, the work also provides a detailed explanation of the printing parameters used and guidelines for preparing prototypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Spatiotemporal Hotspots of Study Areas in Research of Gastric Cancer in China Based on Web-Crawled Literature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 3997; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18083997 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 715
Abstract
Gastric cancer is a common malignancy worldwide and poses a serious threat to human public health. The difficulty in obtaining epidemiological data limits the development of cross-disciplinary related research. In this study, 99,364 publications on gastric cancer from 1991 to 2019 were obtained [...] Read more.
Gastric cancer is a common malignancy worldwide and poses a serious threat to human public health. The difficulty in obtaining epidemiological data limits the development of cross-disciplinary related research. In this study, 99,364 publications on gastric cancer from 1991 to 2019 were obtained using web-crawler technology, and a technical framework for extracting toponyms from these publications was constructed to analyze spatiotemporal hotspots of study areas in gastric cancer research in China. The results showed the following: (1) The accuracy of toponym extraction was greatly improved after eliminating the systematic exclusion words and adding historical toponyms, with a precision of 95.31% and a recall of 94.86%. (2) Gastric cancer research (GCR) and gastric cancer research with toponyms (GCRWT) are attracting increasing amounts of attention. The amount of GCR results published in Chinese and English is gradually leveling off, and the imbalance between those of GCRWT is gradually widening. (3) The spatial distribution of gastric cancer research in China is uneven, and the hotspots are mainly located in the eastern coastal areas. There were huge advances in gastric cancer research at the province/city/county scale in Eastern China, while the central region has only increased research at the county scale. We suggest that gastric cancer research should pay more attention to the central region, which has the highest gastric cancer incidence/mortality. This study provides important clues for research on and investigations of gastric cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Parametric Urbanism and Environment Optimization: Toward a Quality Environmental Urban Morphology
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3558; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18073558 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Parametric thinking has found wide acceptance in both the building industry and environmental sciences. In the context of environmental urban morphology however, parametric thinking has been neglected. This paper critically assesses environmental optimization with a focus on parametric urbanism. The analysis addresses two [...] Read more.
Parametric thinking has found wide acceptance in both the building industry and environmental sciences. In the context of environmental urban morphology however, parametric thinking has been neglected. This paper critically assesses environmental optimization with a focus on parametric urbanism. The analysis addresses two research questions: “Can parametric thinking and its associated approaches facilitate an environmental urban morphology?” and “If yes, can parametric urbanism support environment optimization in complex urban areas?” Methodologies include a case study in Beijing, qualitative and quantitative analysis, parametric modeling, and environmental simulation. Results indicate that parametric techniques can effectively simulate environmental urban morphology by generating parametric models. These models provide a rational foundation for schematic decision-making about optimizing environments in urban development. Findings include a critique of parametric thinking as applied to city environments and insights about the potential uses of parametric techniques to support quality environmental urban morphology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Spectroscopic Analysis of the Binding of Paraquat and Diquat Herbicides to Biosubstrates
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2412; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052412 - 02 Mar 2021
Viewed by 789
Abstract
The study of the interaction of persistent organic pollutants with biosubstrates helps to unravel the pathways for toxicity, however, few mechanistic data are present in the literature for these systems. We analyzed the binding of paraquat (PQ) and diquat (DQ) herbicides to natural [...] Read more.
The study of the interaction of persistent organic pollutants with biosubstrates helps to unravel the pathways for toxicity, however, few mechanistic data are present in the literature for these systems. We analyzed the binding of paraquat (PQ) and diquat (DQ) herbicides to natural calf thymus DNA and a DNA G-quadruplex by spectrophotometric titrations, ethidium bromide exchange tests, viscometry, and melting experiments. The interaction with bovine serum albumin (BSA) protein was studied spectrofluorimetrically at different temperatures. The retention of the targets on positive, negative, and neutral micellar aggregates and liposomes was analyzed by ultrafiltration experiments. Despite some favorable features, PQ and DQ only externally bind natural DNA and do not interact with DNA oligonucleotides. Both herbicides bind bovine serum albumin (BSA). PQ binds BSA mainly according to an electrostatics-driven process. However, ultrafiltration data also show that some hydrophobic contribution participates in the features of these systems. The practical problems related to unfavorable spectroscopic signals and inner filter effects are also discussed. Overall, both herbicides show a low affinity for nucleic acids and weak penetration into liposomes; in addition, the equilibrium constants values found for BSA system suggest optimal conditions for transport in the body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Microplastics Environmental Effect and Risk Assessment on the Aquaculture Systems from South China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1869; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041869 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1066
Abstract
The small size of microplastics and their wide distribution in water environments have attracted worldwide attention and heated discussion, because of their ingestion by aquatic organisms. At present, there are few studies on microplastics pollution in freshwater aquaculture ponds, especially shrimp ponds. In [...] Read more.
The small size of microplastics and their wide distribution in water environments have attracted worldwide attention and heated discussion, because of their ingestion by aquatic organisms. At present, there are few studies on microplastics pollution in freshwater aquaculture ponds, especially shrimp ponds. In this study, the aquaculture ponds in the Pearl River Estuary were investigated. The abundance and composition of microplastics in different environmental media were studied to explore the potential sources and risk levels of microplastics, so as to provide basic data for the study of microplastics pollution in aquaculture ponds. Microplastics were observed in water and sediment samples at all sampling sites, with the abundance of 6.6 × 103–263.6 × 103 items/m3 (surface water) and 566.67–2500 items/kg (sediment), respectively. Thirty-seven individuals collected in six ponds belong to four species. Microplastics were observed in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of all fishes and shrimps, with the abundance ranging from 3–92 items/individual (fish) and 4–21 items/individual (shrimp). Among all samples, microplastics with the size range of <1 mm and fiber shape were the most common. The main microplastic components were cellulose, polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene (PE). The results of potential risk assessment showed that the pollution investigation of microplastics should not only consider the abundance. Low abundance does not mean low risk. Taking the toxicity score and abundance of microplastics as evaluation indexes to reflect the pollution status of microplastics may make the results more reliable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Bio-Control of Anopheles Mosquito Larvae Using Invertebrate Predators to Support Human Health Programs in Ethiopia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1810; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041810 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
Mosquitoes have been a nuisance and health threat to humans for centuries due to their ability to transmit different infectious diseases. Biological control methods have emerged as an alternative or complementary approach to contain vector populations in light of the current spread of [...] Read more.
Mosquitoes have been a nuisance and health threat to humans for centuries due to their ability to transmit different infectious diseases. Biological control methods have emerged as an alternative or complementary approach to contain vector populations in light of the current spread of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the predation efficacy of selected potential predators against Anopheles mosquito larvae. Potential invertebrate predators and Anopheles larvae were collected from natural habitats, mainly (temporary) wetlands and ponds in southwest Ethiopia and experiments were conducted under laboratory conditions. Optimal predation conditions with respect to larval instar, water volume and number of predators were determined for each of the seven studied predators. Data analyses were carried out using the Poisson regression model using one way ANOVA at the 5% significant level. The backswimmer (Notonectidae) was the most aggressive predator on Anopheles mosquito larvae with a daily mean predation of 71.5 larvae (95% CI: [65.04;78.59]). Our study shows that larval instar, water volume and number of predators have a significant effect on each predator, except for dragonflies (Libellulidae), with regard to the preference of the larval instar. A selection of mosquito predators has the potential to control Anopheles mosquito larvae, suggesting that they can be used as complementary approach in an integrated malaria vector control strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Design and Testing of Mobile Laboratory for Mitigation of Gaseous Emissions from Livestock Agriculture with Photocatalysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1523; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041523 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
Livestock production systems generate nuisance odor and gaseous emissions affecting local communities and regional air quality. There are also concerns about the occupational health and safety of farmworkers. Proven mitigation technologies that are consistent with the socio-economic challenges of animal farming are needed. [...] Read more.
Livestock production systems generate nuisance odor and gaseous emissions affecting local communities and regional air quality. There are also concerns about the occupational health and safety of farmworkers. Proven mitigation technologies that are consistent with the socio-economic challenges of animal farming are needed. We have been scaling up the photocatalytic treatment of emissions from lab-scale, aiming at farm-scale readiness. In this paper, we present the design, testing, and commissioning of a mobile laboratory for on-farm research and demonstration of performance in simulated farm conditions before testing to the farm. The mobile lab is capable of treating up to 1.2 m3/s of air with titanium dioxide, TiO2-based photocatalysis, and adjustable UV-A dose based on LED lamps. We summarize the main technical requirements, constraints, approach, and performance metrics for a mobile laboratory, such as the effectiveness (measured as the percent reduction) and cost of photocatalytic treatment of air. The commissioning of all systems with standard gases resulted in ~9% and 34% reduction of ammonia (NH3) and butan-1-ol, respectively. We demonstrated the percent reduction of standard gases increased with increased light intensity and treatment time. These results show that the mobile laboratory was ready for on-farm deployment and evaluating the effectiveness of UV treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Role of Mesh Pore Size in Dynamic Membrane Bioreactors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1472; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041472 - 04 Feb 2021
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Two identical bench-scale Self-Forming Dynamic Membrane BioReactors (SFD MBR) were set-up and operated for the treatment of real urban wastewater. The two bioreactors were equipped with meshes of different mesh pore size. Meshes having pore size values of 20 and 50 µm were [...] Read more.
Two identical bench-scale Self-Forming Dynamic Membrane BioReactors (SFD MBR) were set-up and operated for the treatment of real urban wastewater. The two bioreactors were equipped with meshes of different mesh pore size. Meshes having pore size values of 20 and 50 µm were tested under solid retention time (SRT) of 15 d, whereas meshes with 50 and 100 µm pore sizes were compared under SRT of 50 d. The results of long-term experiments showed very good overall performances by all systems at the steady state. High flux (in the range 61–71 L m−2 h−1) and very good effluent quality were obtained, with average suspended solids and chemical oxygen demanding values below 10 mg L−1 and 35 mg L−1, respectively. The mesh pore size did not have a major influence on the average cleaning frequency. However, the pore size affected the effluent quality in correspondence of two particular conditions: (i) immediately after mesh cleaning; and (ii) during operation under high suction pressures (mesh clogging not promptly removed through cleaning). Moreover, the mesh cleaning frequency was observed to be dependent on the SRT. In tests with 50 d SRT, the cleaning requirements were very low (one every five days), and this limited the influence of the mesh pore size on the effluent quality. In conclusion, in SFD MBR, the role of the mesh pore size on the effluent quality may be more or less relevant depending on the operating conditions that directly influence the Dynamic Membrane formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Molecular Speciation of Size Fractionated Particulate Water-Soluble Organic Carbon by Two-Dimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031334 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 726
Abstract
Particulate matter is associated with increased morbidity and mortality; its effects depend on particle size and chemical content. It is important to understand the composition and resultant toxicological profile of particulate organic compounds, the largest and most complex fraction of particulate matter. The [...] Read more.
Particulate matter is associated with increased morbidity and mortality; its effects depend on particle size and chemical content. It is important to understand the composition and resultant toxicological profile of particulate organic compounds, the largest and most complex fraction of particulate matter. The objective of the study was to delineate the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectral fingerprint of the biologically relevant water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) fraction of size fractionated urban aerosol. A combination of one and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy methods was used. The size distribution of particle mass, water-soluble extract, non-exchangeable organic hydrogen functional types and specific biomarkers such as levoglucosan, methane sulfonate, ammonium and saccharides indicated the contribution of fresh and aged wood burning emissions, anthropogenic and biogenic secondary aerosol for fine particles as well as primary traffic exhausts and pollen for large particles. Humic-like macromolecules in the fine particle size range included branched carbon structures containing aromatic, olefinic, keto and nitrile groups and terminal carboxylic and hydroxyl groups such as terpenoid-like polycarboxylic acids and polyols. Our study show that 2D-NMR spectroscopy can be applied to study the chemical composition of size fractionated aerosols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Sulfaquinoxaline Oxidation and Toxicity Reduction by Photo-Fenton Process
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1005; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18031005 - 23 Jan 2021
Viewed by 841
Abstract
Sulfaquinoxaline (SQX) has been detected in environmental water samples, where its side effects are still unknown. To the best of our knowledge, its oxidation by Fenton and photo-Fenton processes has not been previously reported. In this study, SQX oxidation, mineralization, and toxicity ( [...] Read more.
Sulfaquinoxaline (SQX) has been detected in environmental water samples, where its side effects are still unknown. To the best of our knowledge, its oxidation by Fenton and photo-Fenton processes has not been previously reported. In this study, SQX oxidation, mineralization, and toxicity (Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria) were evaluated at two different setups: laboratory bench (2 L) and pilot plant (15 L). The experimental design was used to assess the influence of the presence or absence of radiation source, as well as different H2O2 concentrations (94.1 to 261.9 mg L−1). The experimental conditions of both setups were: SQX = 25 mg L−1, Fe(II) = 10 mg L−1, pH 2.8 ± 0.1. Fenton and photo-Fenton were suitable for SQX oxidation and experiments resulted in higher SQX mineralization than reported in the literature. For both setups, the best process was the photo-Fenton (178.0 mg L−1 H2O2), for which over 90% of SQX was removed, over 50% mineralization, and bacterial growth inhibition less than 13%. In both set-ups, the presence or absence of radiation was equally important for sulfaquinoxaline oxidation; however, the degradation rates at the pilot plant were between two to four times higher than the obtained at the laboratory bench. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Evaluation of China’s High-Speed Rail Station Development and Nearby Human Activity Based on Nighttime Light Images
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 557; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020557 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 945
Abstract
High-speed rail (HSR) represents China’s advancing productivity; however, quite a few HSR stations face problems due to inappropriate planning and limited passenger flow. To optimize future planning on HSR lines and stations and facilitate efficient operation, we used brightness as a representative of [...] Read more.
High-speed rail (HSR) represents China’s advancing productivity; however, quite a few HSR stations face problems due to inappropriate planning and limited passenger flow. To optimize future planning on HSR lines and stations and facilitate efficient operation, we used brightness as a representative of station development and nearby human activity, analyzing its spatial and temporal distribution, classification categories, and influencing factors of 980 stations using nighttime light images from 2012 to 2019. The following conclusions were drawn: (1) There are 41 stations with high brightness between 80 and 320 nW·cm−2·sr−1, which are concentrated in provincial capitals, large cities, and at line ends. The overall number of these stations increases by 57% in the past eight years. (2) Stations with high brightness but minimal changes that opened in 2013–2019 are mainly concentrated in provincial capitals and large- or medium-sized cities, and those with high brightness and significant changes are mostly new stations nearby. More than 70% of stations that started HSR operation before or in 2012 have high brightness. (3) Brightness positively correlates with the number of daily trains, and it changes faster at stations with more daily trains. It changes most within 0–1 year after HSR operation opening and exhibits a relatively slow but long-term increase over the next 2–6 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Searching for Evidence-Based Public Policy and Practice: Analysis of the Determinants of Personal/Public Adaptation and Mitigation Behavior against Particulate Matter by Focusing on the Roles of Risk Perception, Communication, and Attribution Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 428; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020428 - 07 Jan 2021
Viewed by 873
Abstract
In recent years, awareness about the risk of particulate matter (PM) has increased both domestically and internationally; consequently, various policies have been implemented to reduce PM. Since citizens are both victim and cause of this risk, PM cannot be successfully decreased only through [...] Read more.
In recent years, awareness about the risk of particulate matter (PM) has increased both domestically and internationally; consequently, various policies have been implemented to reduce PM. Since citizens are both victim and cause of this risk, PM cannot be successfully decreased only through government policies. Therefore, citizens’ active participation is required to reduce PM and prevent its risks. However, a theoretical model about public behavior against PM has not been established. Therefore, we suggest the public behavior model about individuals’ response against PM, in which response actions are classified into four types based on the combinations of the public-personal domains and mitigation-adaptation actions: Personal or public adaptations, and personal or public mitigations. We analyze how risk perception, risk communication, blame attribution factors influence the four types of responses against PM. The analysis results reveal that the receiver’s ability, negative emotion, trust in government, and age influence personal mitigation behavior, personal adaptation, public mitigation, and public adaptation, respectively. As this study demonstrates the differences in the factors influencing each type of response actions against PM, evidence-based policy is needed that considers the differences in these influencing factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
CFD Modeling of Ventilation and Dust Flow Behavior in Polishing and the Design of an Innovative Wet Dust Removal System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 6006; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17166006 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 870
Abstract
Fine aluminum dust pollution in the polishing process was detected during a field survey. To obtain a fundamental understanding of the airflow patterns and the fine dust dispersion characteristics during a polishing process, computational fluid dynamics simulations were first performed to analyze the [...] Read more.
Fine aluminum dust pollution in the polishing process was detected during a field survey. To obtain a fundamental understanding of the airflow patterns and the fine dust dispersion characteristics during a polishing process, computational fluid dynamics simulations were first performed to analyze the data collected in field measurements. The inappropriate ventilation arrangement and lack of effective dust control measures were identified as the main reasons for the high dust exposure levels (in excess of 1000 μg/m3). Simulation results showed that inhalable dust particles (PM10) could be significantly diluted at the operator’s breathing level by adding a supply air inlet above the operating area. Moreover, dry dust collection systems create a risk of aluminum dust explosion accidents. An innovative design of wet dust removal system which could mitigate the occurrence of dust explosions was proposed and then implemented on site. An independent field dust assessment showed that a reduction of fine dust particles up to 95% in the worker’s breathing area and the fine dust in the vents was reduced to 80%. Therefore, the proposed strategies are implemented immediately to address the combustible dust in the polishing working environment and can provide guidance for operators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Green Microalgae Scenedesmus Obliquus Utilization for the Adsorptive Removal of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) from Water Samples
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3707; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17103707 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1139
Abstract
In view of the valorisation of the green microalga Scenedesmus obliquus biomass, it was used for the biosorption of two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, namely salicylic acid and ibuprofen, from water. Microalgae biomass was characterized, namely by the determination of the point of zero [...] Read more.
In view of the valorisation of the green microalga Scenedesmus obliquus biomass, it was used for the biosorption of two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, namely salicylic acid and ibuprofen, from water. Microalgae biomass was characterized, namely by the determination of the point of zero charge (pHPZC), by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) analysis, simultaneous thermal analysis (STA) and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). Kinetic and equilibrium batch experiments were carried out and results were found to fit the pseudo-second order equation and the Langmuir isotherm model, respectively. The Langmuir maximum capacity determined for salicylic acid (63 mg g−1) was larger than for ibuprofen (12 mg g−1), which was also verified for a commercial activated carbon used as reference (with capacities of 250 and 147 mg g−1, respectively). For both pharmaceuticals, the determination of thermodynamic parameters allowed us to infer that adsorption onto microalgae biomass was spontaneous, favourable and exothermic. Furthermore, based on the biomass characterization after adsorption and energy associated with the process, it was deduced that the removal of salicylic acid and ibuprofen by Scenedesmus obliquus biomass occurred by physical interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Horizontal Flow Constructed Wetland for Greywater Treatment and Reuse: An Experimental Case
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2317; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072317 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1313
Abstract
In the coming years, water stress is destined to worsen considering that the consumption of water is expected to increase significantly, and climate change is expected to become more evident. Greywater (GW) has been studied as an alternative water source in arid and [...] Read more.
In the coming years, water stress is destined to worsen considering that the consumption of water is expected to increase significantly, and climate change is expected to become more evident. Greywater (GW) has been studied as an alternative water source in arid and semiarid zones. Although there is no single optimal solution in order to treat GW, constructed wetlands proved to be effective. In this paper, the results of the treatment of a real GW by a horizontal flow constructed wetland (HFCW) for more than four months are shown. In the preliminary laboratory-scale plant, Phragmites australis, Carex oshimensis and Cyperus papyrus were tested separately and showed very similar results. In the second phase, pilot-scale tests were conducted to confirm the performance at a larger scale and evaluate the influence of hydraulic retention time, obtaining very high removal yields on turbidity (>92%), total suspended solids (TSS) (>85%), chemical oxygen demand (COD) (>89%), and five-day biological oxygen demand (BOD5) (>88%). Based on the results of the pilot-scale HFCW, a comparison with international recommendations by World Health Organization and European Union is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
The BioChemical Clogging of Landfill Leachate Collection System: Based on Laboratory Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2299; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072299 - 29 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
Leachate collection system (LCS) clogging is a common operational problem in municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills in China, which can result in high leachate levels that threaten the safety of landfill operations and subsequently increase the leachate leakage risk. In our previous research, [...] Read more.
Leachate collection system (LCS) clogging is a common operational problem in municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills in China, which can result in high leachate levels that threaten the safety of landfill operations and subsequently increase the leachate leakage risk. In our previous research, a filtration test was conducted and the physical clogging effect was evaluated. To fully analyze the LCS failure, in this study, a set of column experiments were carried out to investigate the biochemical clogging development and mechanisms. Results showed that the biofilm and deposited CaCO3 composed the primary clogging materials. During the experimental period, the hydraulic conductivities in simulated gravel and nonwoven geotextile drainage layers were observed (91.7% and five orders of magnitude reduction), and decreased to 10−4 and 10−8 m s−1, respectively. Therefore, the significance of the geotextile layer in LCS designing needs to be reconsidered. The biochemical clogging was positively correlated with volatile fatty acids (VFAs), and Ca2+ loading and the Ca2+ played the dominant role. Meanwhile, an improved method for analyzing biochemical clogging development was proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Article
Biosurfactant Production in Sub-Oxic Conditions Detected in Hydrocarbon-Degrading Isolates from Marine and Estuarine Sediments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1746; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17051746 - 07 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1079
Abstract
Hydrocarbon bioremediation in anoxic sediment layers is still challenging not only because it involves metabolic pathways with lower energy yields but also because the production of biosurfactants that contribute to the dispersion of the pollutant is limited by oxygen availability. This work aims [...] Read more.
Hydrocarbon bioremediation in anoxic sediment layers is still challenging not only because it involves metabolic pathways with lower energy yields but also because the production of biosurfactants that contribute to the dispersion of the pollutant is limited by oxygen availability. This work aims at screening populations of culturable hydrocarbonoclastic and biosurfactant (BSF) producing bacteria from deep sub-seafloor sediments (mud volcanos from Gulf of Cadiz) and estuarine sub-surface sediments (Ria de Aveiro) for strains with potential to operate in sub-oxic conditions. Isolates were retrieved from anaerobic selective cultures in which crude oil was provided as sole carbon source and different supplements were provided as electron acceptors. Twelve representative isolates were obtained from selective cultures with deep-sea and estuary sediments, six from each. These were identified by sequencing of 16S rRNA gene fragments belonging to Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Ochrobactrum, Brevundimonas, Psychrobacter, Staphylococcus, Marinobacter and Curtobacterium genera. BSF production by the isolates was tested by atomized oil assay, surface tension measurement and determination of the emulsification index. All isolates were able to produce BSFs under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, except for isolate DS27 which only produced BSF under aerobic conditions. These isolates presented potential to be applied in bioremediation or microbial enhanced oil recovery strategies under conditions of oxygen limitation. For the first time, members of Ochrobactrum, Brevundimonas, Psychrobacter, Staphylococcus, Marinobacter and Curtobacterium genera are described as anaerobic producers of BSFs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Review
Bioremediation of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) by Bioaugmentation and Biostimulation in Water with Floating Oil Spill Containment Booms as Bioreactor Basin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2226; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052226 - 24 Feb 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1450
Abstract
A crude oil spill is a common issue during offshore oil drilling, transport and transfer to onshore. Second, the production of petroleum refinery effluent is known to cause pollution due to its toxic effluent discharge. Sea habitats and onshore soil biota are affected [...] Read more.
A crude oil spill is a common issue during offshore oil drilling, transport and transfer to onshore. Second, the production of petroleum refinery effluent is known to cause pollution due to its toxic effluent discharge. Sea habitats and onshore soil biota are affected by total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) as a pollutant in their natural environment. Crude oil pollution in seawater, estuaries and beaches requires an efficient process of cleaning. To remove crude oil pollutants from seawater, various physicochemical and biological treatment methods have been applied worldwide. A biological treatment method using bacteria, fungi and algae has recently gained a lot of attention due to its efficiency and lower cost. This review introduces various studies related to the bioremediation of crude oil, TPH and related petroleum products by bioaugmentation and biostimulation or both together. Bioremediation studies mentioned in this paper can be used for treatment such as emulsified residual spilled oil in seawater with floating oil spill containment booms as an enclosed basin such as a bioreactor, for petroleum hydrocarbons as a pollutant that will help environmental researchers solve these problems and completely clean-up oil spills in seawater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Review
Indicator Compounds Representative of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) Found in the Water Cycle in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1288; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18031288 - 01 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1093
Abstract
The presence of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in the aquatic environment has recently become a global issue. The very large number of CECs reported in the literature makes it difficult to interpret potential risks as well as the removal efficiencies, especially for [...] Read more.
The presence of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in the aquatic environment has recently become a global issue. The very large number of CECs reported in the literature makes it difficult to interpret potential risks as well as the removal efficiencies, especially for the more recalcitrant compounds. As such, there is a need for indicator compounds that are representative of CECs detected in systems worldwide. In an effort to develop such a list, five criteria were used to address the potential for applying indicator compounds; these criteria include usage, occurrence, resistance to treatment, persistence, and physicochemical properties that shed light on the potential degradability of a class of compounds. Additional constraints applied included the feasibility of procuring and analyzing compounds. In total, 22 CECs belonging to 13 groups were selected as indicator compounds. These compounds include acetaminophen and ibuprofen (analgesic); erythromycin, sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim (antibiotics); diazepam and fluoxetine (antidepressants); carbamazepine (antiepileptic); atenolol and propranolol (β-blockers); gemfibrozil (blood lipid regulator); tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP) (fire retardant); cotinine (nicotine metabolite); atrazine, metolachlor, and N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) (pesticides); 17β-estradiol and cholesterol (steroids); caffeine (psychomotor stimulant); perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (surfactants); and iopromide (X-ray contrast agent). These thirteen groups of compounds represent CECs with the greatest resistance to treatment processes, most persistent in surface waters, and detected with significant frequency throughout the water cycle. Among the important implications of using indicator compounds are the ability to better understand the efficacy of treatment processes as well as the transport and fate of these compounds in the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Review
Modes of Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Factors Influencing on the Airborne Transmission: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 395; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020395 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3863
Abstract
The multiple modes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission including airborne, droplet, contact, and fecal–oral transmissions that cause coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) contribute to a public threat to the lives of people worldwide. Herein, different databases are reviewed to evaluate modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and [...] Read more.
The multiple modes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission including airborne, droplet, contact, and fecal–oral transmissions that cause coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) contribute to a public threat to the lives of people worldwide. Herein, different databases are reviewed to evaluate modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and study the effects of negative pressure ventilation, air conditioning system, and related protection approaches of this virus. Droplet transmission was commonly reported to occur in particles with diameter >5 µm that can quickly settle gravitationally on surfaces (1–2 m). Instead, fine and ultrafine particles (airborne transmission) can stay suspended for an extended period of time (≥2 h) and be transported further, e.g., up to 8 m through simple diffusion and convection mechanisms. Droplet and airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can be limited indoors with adequate ventilation of rooms, by routine disinfection of toilets, using negative pressure rooms, using face masks, and maintaining social distancing. Other preventive measures recommended include increasing the number of screening tests of suspected carriers of SARS-CoV-2, reducing the number of persons in a room to minimize sharing indoor air, and monitoring people’s temperature before accessing a building. The work reviews a body of literature supporting the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through air, causing COVID-19 disease, which requires coordinated worldwide strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Review
Biotic and Abiotic Factors Influencing Arsenic Biogeochemistry and Toxicity in Fluvial Ecosystems: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2331; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072331 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2082
Abstract
This review is focused on the biogeochemistry of arsenic in freshwaters and, especially, on the key role that benthic microalgae and prokaryotic communities from biofilms play together in through speciation, distribution, and cycling. These microorganisms incorporate the dominant iAs (inorganic arsenic) form and [...] Read more.
This review is focused on the biogeochemistry of arsenic in freshwaters and, especially, on the key role that benthic microalgae and prokaryotic communities from biofilms play together in through speciation, distribution, and cycling. These microorganisms incorporate the dominant iAs (inorganic arsenic) form and may transform it to other arsenic forms through metabolic or detoxifying processes. These transformations have a big impact on the environmental behavior of arsenic because different chemical forms exhibit differences in mobility and toxicity. Moreover, exposure to toxicants may alter the physiology and structure of biofilms, leading to changes in ecosystem function and trophic relations. In this review we also explain how microorganisms (i.e., biofilms) can influence the effects of arsenic exposure on other key constituents of aquatic ecosystems such as fish. At the end, we present two real cases of fluvial systems with different origins of arsenic exposure (natural vs. anthropogenic) that have improved our comprehension of arsenic biogeochemistry and toxicity in freshwaters, the Pampean streams (Argentina) and the Anllóns River (Galicia, Spain). We finish with a briefly discussion of what we consider as future research needs on this topic. This work especially contributes to the general understanding of biofilms influencing arsenic biogeochemistry and highlights the strong impact of nutrient availability on arsenic toxicity for freshwater (micro) organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Systematic Review
Health Risks of Structural Firefighters from Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4209; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084209 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1162
Abstract
Firefighters have an elevated risk of cancer, which is suspected to be caused by occupational and environmental exposure to fire smoke. Among many substances from fire smoke contaminants, one potential source of toxic exposure is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The goal of this [...] Read more.
Firefighters have an elevated risk of cancer, which is suspected to be caused by occupational and environmental exposure to fire smoke. Among many substances from fire smoke contaminants, one potential source of toxic exposure is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The goal of this paper is to identify the association between PAH exposure levels and contributing risk factors to derive best estimates of the effects of exposure on structural firefighters’ working environment in fire. We surveyed four databases (Embase, Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science) for this systematic literature review. Generic inverse variance method for random effects meta-analysis was applied for two exposure routes—dermal and inhalation. In dermal, the neck showed the highest dermal exposure increased after the fire activity. In inhalation, the meta-regression confirmed statistically significant increases in PAH concentrations for longer durations. We also summarized the scientific knowledge on occupational exposures to PAH in fire suppression activities. More research into uncontrolled emergency fires is needed with regard to newer chemical classes of fire smoke retardant and occupational exposure pathways. Evidence-based PAH exposure assessments are critical for determining exposure–dose relationships in large epidemiological studies of occupational risk factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Environmental Science and Engineering)
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