Special Issue "Exclusive Papers of Outstanding Scientists in section Environmental Sustainability and Applications"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Elena Rada
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Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is dedicated to innovative and relevant theoretical and applied aspects of environmental sustainability. Submissions are expected from outstanding scientists who can contribute to the enhancement of this sector with data from their recent investigations. Any kind of perspective involving environmental sustainability will be welcome. Papers that connect environmental sustainability with human responsibility and renewable strategies (people and industry), finance, economy, intelligent management systems, and improvement of life quality are welcome. Specialized topics and interdisciplinary approaches are expected to contribute to an exclusive Special Issue. Review papers are also welcome. Thanks to the open access publishing strategy of the journal, a wide dissemination will characterize the Special Issue.  

Dr. Elena Cristina Rada
Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Torretta
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. Sustainability 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 1900 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.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Lamb and Wool Provisioning Ecosystem Services in Southern Patagonia
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8544; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13158544 - 30 Jul 2021
Viewed by 375
Abstract
In Southern Patagonia, grasslands are the principal food resource for sheep reared for meat and wool as the main provisioning ecosystem services (ES). The main objective of this study was to model lamb and wool production as provisioning ES at a regional scale [...] Read more.
In Southern Patagonia, grasslands are the principal food resource for sheep reared for meat and wool as the main provisioning ecosystem services (ES). The main objective of this study was to model lamb and wool production as provisioning ES at a regional scale using climatic, topographic, and vegetation variables from sheep farms across Santa Cruz province. At a regional level, animal yield ranged from 0.25 to 0.69 g lamb/m2/yr and 0.10 to 0.19 g greasy wool/m2/yr. We used multiple regression models to produce maps of lamb and wool provisioning ES across Santa Cruz province. The model for variation of lamb production explained 96% of the variance in the data and the most significant predictor variables were temperature seasonality, normalized vegetation index (NVDI, dimensionless), and desertification index. The most important variables for the model of greasy wool production were isothermality, temperature seasonality, and NVDI, which together explained 98% of the variance. The lowest CF values of both products (lamb and wool) were located in more productive grasslands. There were differences in lamb and wool production across vegetation types with the highest values being located in more productive grasslands (0.51 g lamb/m2/yr in Nothofagus antarctica forest and 0.15 g greasy wool/m2/yr in Magellanic grass steppe and N. antarctica). Lamb and greasy wool yields decreased with desertification gradient due to erosion processes. The main limitation of the model is related to the data availability at landscape level, which must be improved in future studies by accounting for soil type, fertility, and soil water content. The results of lamb and wool production found in the present work assist in characterizing the provisioning ES ecosystem of livestock products in Southern Patagonia. The successful management of livestock becomes an important challenge to the commercial and policy communities to satisfy society’s need for food and wool products under sustainable grassland management. Full article
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Article
Statistical Analysis of Field-Based Stormwater Filtration Performance for the Ecosol Litter Basket
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6493; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13116493 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Increasing specificity in water quality regulations for the discharge of stormwater to the environment has increased the requirement to more accurately characterize the performance of filtration interventions. This work presents a statistical performance analysis for the Ecosol Litter Basket, an at source [...] Read more.
Increasing specificity in water quality regulations for the discharge of stormwater to the environment has increased the requirement to more accurately characterize the performance of filtration interventions. This work presents a statistical performance analysis for the Ecosol Litter Basket, an at source filtration device, based on an extensive field study. The field evaluation of the Ecosol Litter Basket, a primary stormwater filtration device, was performed over a three-year period in an urban catchment in Queensland, Australia. A total of 29 rainfall events were recorded, of which between 13 to 16 events were evaluated as qualifying for the purposes of characterizing the removal efficiency. A variety of pollutant removal evaluation metrics, including concentration-based and total load-based metrics, were utilized in this study to characterize the efficacy of the device for removing a range of pollutants. Two approaches are proposed to facilitate the analysis: a nonlinear regression approach to more effectively deal with nonlinear patterns in the influent and effluent data; and the regression of concentrations (ROC), which is an additional concentration-based metric. A statistical analysis of the results demonstrated that the differences between influent and effluent streams for TSS are significantly different in their mean and median, and the removal efficiency of the Ecosol Litter Basket was evaluated to be 57–65% for TSS with the influent event mean concentration (EMC) up to 142 mg/L. Full article
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Article
Novel Pervaporation Membranes Based on Biopolymer Sodium Alginate Modified by FeBTC for Isopropanol Dehydration
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6092; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13116092 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 402
Abstract
Modern society strives for the development of sustainable processes that are aimed at meeting human needs while preserving the environment. Membrane technologies satisfy all the principles of sustainability due to their advantages, such as cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness, absence of additional reagents and ease [...] Read more.
Modern society strives for the development of sustainable processes that are aimed at meeting human needs while preserving the environment. Membrane technologies satisfy all the principles of sustainability due to their advantages, such as cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness, absence of additional reagents and ease of use compared to traditional separation methods. In the present work, novel green membranes based on sodium alginate (SA) modified by a FeBTC metal–organic framework were developed for isopropanol dehydration using a membrane process, pervaporation. Two kinds of SA-FeBTC membranes were developed: (1) untreated membranes and (2) cross-linked membranes with citric acid or phosphoric acid. The structural and physicochemical properties of the developed SA-FeBTC membranes were studied by spectroscopic techniques (FTIR and NMR), microscopic methods (SEM and AFM), thermogravimetric analysis and swelling experiments. The transport properties of developed SA-FeBTC membranes were studied in the pervaporation of water–isopropanol mixtures. Based on membrane transport properties, 15 wt % FeBTC was demonstrated to be the optimal content of the modifier in the SA matrix for the membrane performance. A membrane based on SA modified by 15 wt % FeBTC and cross-linked with citric acid possessed optimal transport properties for the pervaporation of the water–isopropanol mixture (12–100 wt % water): 174–1584 g/(m2 h) permeation flux and 99.99 wt % water content in the permeate. Full article
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment of an Innovative Technology against Late Frosts in Vineyard
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5562; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13105562 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Wine production is a key sector for the Italian economy, representing 13 billion euros per year. The proportion of the market raises concerns about improving the production technology at low cost, safe practices, and low environmental impacts. The recurrent life cycle assessment performed [...] Read more.
Wine production is a key sector for the Italian economy, representing 13 billion euros per year. The proportion of the market raises concerns about improving the production technology at low cost, safe practices, and low environmental impacts. The recurrent life cycle assessment performed does not report on the impacts of frost protection. This study presents the potential environmental impact of a novel late frost protection technique for vineyards that is currently under development. It consists of an organic coating made of sugar and straw to prevent vine damage due to frosts in vineyards in the coldest hours of late winter and early spring. From previous research at the University of Perugia (Italy), the technique has proven to be an effective protection method for vine shoots. Currently, the yields are protected by highly energy-demanding methods. For this study, we simulated two different scenarios of frosting protection so we could point out possible hotspots for the field application of the novel method and compare it to a technique usually employed in central Italy. Under the Centrum voor Milieukunde Leiden (CML) method, the cotton candy technique is estimated at 316 kg CO2 equivalent emissions for hectare. Employing the organic sugar-coating means avoiding 69,375 kg of CO2 eq. compared to the traditional technique of oak wood-burning into the vineyard. Preliminary cost analysis demonstrated the economic viability of implementing the organic coating. Full article
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Article
An Integrated Method for Landscape Assessment: Application to Santiago de Cuba Bay, Cuba
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4773; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13094773 - 24 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 765
Abstract
Human activities often drive landscape degradation and the associated loss of value. This paper describes a method that, by integrating multiple factors, characterize landscape value to establish relevant and effective management practices. The new integrated method for landscape assessment (IMLA) is a four-step [...] Read more.
Human activities often drive landscape degradation and the associated loss of value. This paper describes a method that, by integrating multiple factors, characterize landscape value to establish relevant and effective management practices. The new integrated method for landscape assessment (IMLA) is a four-step model that includes: (i) establishment of a general theoretical basis for sustainability relevant metrics; (ii) characterization of the landscape; (iii) landscape valuation; (iv) recommendations for landscape value management. Each step includes different interactive components of analysis. The new IMLA considers the potential range of values associated with each landscape unit and facilitates sustainable landscape management. The method is systematic and includes both inductive and deductive reasoning. Its articulation is represented in the conjunction and overlapping of all factors and variables considered. IMLA was tested in Santiago de Cuba Bay (Cuba) and used to determine five landscape scopes, eight first-order landscape units and 29 s-order units. It proved to be a useful tool to establish landscape values and sound management strategies. Application of IMLA in Cuba will help local authorities institute land-use plans and to establish decision-making processes that include valuation of cultural landscapes. Full article
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Article
Suspended Sediment Modeling Using a Heuristic Regression Method Hybridized with Kmeans Clustering
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4648; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13094648 - 22 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 464
Abstract
The accurate estimation of suspended sediments (SSs) carries significance in determining the volume of dam storage, river carrying capacity, pollution susceptibility, soil erosion potential, aquatic ecological impacts, and the design and operation of hydraulic structures. The presented study proposes a new method for [...] Read more.
The accurate estimation of suspended sediments (SSs) carries significance in determining the volume of dam storage, river carrying capacity, pollution susceptibility, soil erosion potential, aquatic ecological impacts, and the design and operation of hydraulic structures. The presented study proposes a new method for accurately estimating daily SSs using antecedent discharge and sediment information. The novel method is developed by hybridizing the multivariate adaptive regression spline (MARS) and the Kmeans clustering algorithm (MARS–KM). The proposed method’s efficacy is established by comparing its performance with the adaptive neuro-fuzzy system (ANFIS), MARS, and M5 tree (M5Tree) models in predicting SSs at two stations situated on the Yangtze River of China, according to the three assessment measurements, RMSE, MAE, and NSE. Two modeling scenarios are employed; data are divided into 50–50% for model training and testing in the first scenario, and the training and test data sets are swapped in the second scenario. In Guangyuan Station, the MARS–KM showed a performance improvement compared to ANFIS, MARS, and M5Tree methods in term of RMSE by 39%, 30%, and 18% in the first scenario and by 24%, 22%, and 8% in the second scenario, respectively, while the improvement in RMSE of ANFIS, MARS, and M5Tree was 34%, 26%, and 27% in the first scenario and 7%, 16%, and 6% in the second scenario, respectively, at Beibei Station. Additionally, the MARS–KM models provided much more satisfactory estimates using only discharge values as inputs. Full article
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Article
A New Multibranch Model for Metals in River Systems: Impacts and Control of Tannery Wastes in Bangladesh
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3556; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13063556 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 654
Abstract
A new multibranch Integrated Catchment (INCA) model INCA-Metals has been developed to simulate the impact of tannery discharges on river systems. The model accounts for the key chemical reaction kinetic processes operating as well as sedimentation, resuspension, dilution, mixing and redistribution of pollutants [...] Read more.
A new multibranch Integrated Catchment (INCA) model INCA-Metals has been developed to simulate the impact of tannery discharges on river systems. The model accounts for the key chemical reaction kinetic processes operating as well as sedimentation, resuspension, dilution, mixing and redistribution of pollutants in rivers downstream of tannery discharge points and for mine discharges or acid rock drainage sites. The model is dynamic and simulates the daily behaviour of hydrology and eight metals, including cadmium, mercury, copper, zinc, lead, arsenic, manganese and chromium, as well as cyanide and ammonia. The model is semi-distributed and can simulate catchments, tributaries and instream river behaviour. The model can also account for diffuse pollution from rural runoff as well as point sources from effluent and trade discharges. The model has been applied to the new Savar tannery complex on the Dhaleshwari River system in Bangladesh to assess the impacts on pollution levels in the river system and to evaluate a set of treatment scenarios for pollution control, particularly in the dry season. It is shown that the new effluent treatment plant at Savar needs to significantly improve its operation and treatment capability in order to alleviate metal pollution in the downstream Dhaleshwari River System and also protect the Meghna River System that falls in the Bay of Bengal. Full article
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Article
Investigating the Causal Relationships among Carbon Emissions, Economic Growth, and Life Expectancy in Turkey: Evidence from Time and Frequency Domain Causality Techniques
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2924; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13052924 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 571
Abstract
It is not a gainsaying that challenges to both healthy living and the environment are the result of deteriorating environmental quality with the attendant effect on environmental sustainability. To provide a solution to the issue, our study uses long time-series data from 1960 [...] Read more.
It is not a gainsaying that challenges to both healthy living and the environment are the result of deteriorating environmental quality with the attendant effect on environmental sustainability. To provide a solution to the issue, our study uses long time-series data from 1960 to 2018, and employs an overlapping generational model, the Bayer–Hanck cointegration test, wavelet coherence, Fourier Toda–Yamamoto, and Breitung–Candelon frequency-domain spectral causality tests to investigate the causal relationships among carbon emissions (CO2), economic growth (GDP), and life expectancy (LE) in Turkey. Different from the literature, we find a positive co-movement between life expectancy and CO2 and a positive correlation between LE and GDP at different scales; CO2 has a causal relationship with LE and a bidirectional causal relationship between LE and GDP, as well as short, medium, and long-run causal relationships with LE; GDP has medium and long-run causal relationships with LE, and LE has short, medium, and long-run causal relationships with GDP. Our findings guide policymakers on their policy decision-making that will address the energy consumption, environmental degradation, human health, environmental hazards, and allocation to science and technology in Turkey with the aim of ensuring overall sustainable development. Full article
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Review

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Review
Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of Biomass Valorisation: A Strategic Drive for Sustainable Bioeconomy
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4200; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084200 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 896
Abstract
In the late twentieth century, the only cost-effective opportunity for waste removal cost at least several thousand dollars, but nowadays, a lot of improvement has occurred. The biomass and waste generation problems attracted concerned authorities to identify and provide environmentally friendly sustainable solutions [...] Read more.
In the late twentieth century, the only cost-effective opportunity for waste removal cost at least several thousand dollars, but nowadays, a lot of improvement has occurred. The biomass and waste generation problems attracted concerned authorities to identify and provide environmentally friendly sustainable solutions that possess environmental and economic benefits. The present study emphasises the valorisation of biomass and waste produced by domestic and industrial sectors. Therefore, substantial research is ongoing to replace the traditional treatment methods that potentially acquire less detrimental effects. Synthetic biology can be a unique platform that invites all the relevant characters for designing and assembling an efficient program that could be useful to handle the increasing threat for human beings. In the future, these engineered methods will not only revolutionise our lives but practically lead us to get cheaper biofuels, producing bioenergy, pharmaceutics, and various biochemicals. The bioaugmentation approach concomitant with microbial fuel cells (MFC) is an example that is used to produce electricity from municipal waste, which is directly associated with the loading of waste. Beyond the traditional opportunities, herein, we have spotlighted the new advances in pertinent technology closely related to production and reduction approaches. Various integrated modern techniques and aspects related to the industrial sector are also discussed with suitable examples, including green energy and other industrially relevant products. However, many problems persist in present-day technology that requires essential efforts to handle thoroughly because significant valorisation of biomass and waste involves integrated methods for timely detection, classification, and separation. We reviewed and proposed the anticipated dispensation methods to overcome the growing stream of biomass and waste at a distinct and organisational scale. Full article
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Review
Current Status and Potential of Tire Pyrolysis Oil Production as an Alternative Fuel in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3214; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13063214 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
Energy is essential for the nature of life and the development of countries. The main demand for the 21st century is to fulfill growing energy needs. Pakistan, through the use of fossil fuels, meets energy demands. There is pressure on the economy of [...] Read more.
Energy is essential for the nature of life and the development of countries. The main demand for the 21st century is to fulfill growing energy needs. Pakistan, through the use of fossil fuels, meets energy demands. There is pressure on the economy of the country due to the massive reliance on fossil fuels, and this tendency is influenced by various environmental impacts. To overcome the burden on fossil fuels, more attention has been drawn to provide fossil fuel substitution. Tire pyrolysis is among the effective substitutes of the fuel technology that generates useful products of liquid oil, char, and pyro gas. This research focuses on the environmental, social, and economic viability of tire pyrolysis oil in Pakistan. This study estimates the production and potential of tire pyrolysis oil (TPO) in Pakistan. Based on the calculations, the potential of tire pyrolysis oil production in Pakistan from 2015–2019 is 468,081 to 548,406 tons. The potential production of TPO in 2018–2019 was ~8.30% of the total import (6.6 million tons) of crude oil. Therefore, tire pyrolysis oil is considered an alternative fuel representing an economic and environmentally viability solution for Pakistan. Full article
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