Special Issue "Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability"

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

Prof. Dr. Jose Navarro Pedreño
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Guest Editor
Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, University Miguel Hernandez of Elche, Av. de la Universidad s/n, 03206, Elche, Alicante, Spain
Interests: soil-water-plant system; waste management and recycling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. António Dinis Ferreira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CERNAS Research Centre, Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: wildfires; sustainable land management; conservation of natural resources
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Peter Goethals
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Interests: aquatic ecology; monitoring; assessment; ecological modelling; water quality management; ecotechnology; decision support tools; sustainability; ISO standards related to water monitoring and assessment documents via the BELGAQUA and B-IWA organisations
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Eun-Sung Chung
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, Korea
Interests: climate change; hydrologic modeling; multicriteria decision making method; robust decision making; urban hydrology; water resources management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

The development of technologies and knowledge related to Environmental Sciences and Technology and the impact of this development on sustainability require an effort from researchers to review the advances and applications achieved.

Often, researchers focus on the development of new scientific and technical knowledge, and their efforts occur simultaneously in different parts of the world. However, the sharing of these advances and their implications for society, the economy, and the environment are often neglected. It is extraordinarily important to think about and evaluate all the knowledge acquired and how it influences our ways of life. Moreover, it is important to share the applications. It is essential to know if we are moving on the right path towards sustainability.

For these reasons, it is necessary to publish a series of review articles that will allow us to determine, in an objective way, the influence of scientific and technological advances and their implications for sustainability. The development of information technologies; problems derived from global warming, land occupation, demographic growth, and waste; renewable energies; and the use of limited natural resources are some of the issues that must be treated from a global point of view. For researchers, the existence of clear and concise articles and reviews on these and other topics and their influence for a more sustainable way of life is essential.

The aim of this Special Issue is to bring together the wide variety of advances achieved in recent years, to examine their influence on the new governance and administration of the planet and its resources, and to determine whether they are effective in achieving sustainability.

Prof. Dr. Jose Navarro Pedreño
Prof. Dr. António Dinis Ferreira
Prof. Dr. Peter Goethals
Prof. Eun-Sung Chung
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.

Keywords

  • air pollution
  • built environment
  • chemicals and toxics
  • circular economy
  • climate change
  • global warming
  • energy and renewable resources
  • environmental sustainability
  • hazards
  • health
  • natural resources
  • new technologies and applications
  • plastic and microplastic
  • pollution control
  • risk assessment
  • rivers, lakes, wetlands, seas, and oceans
  • soil and land management
  • waste management
  • wastewater management
  • water

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Article
Using Onboard-Produced Drinking Water to Achieve Ballast-Free Management
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7648; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13147648 - 08 Jul 2021
Viewed by 767
Abstract
Based on the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (the Ballast Water Management Convention, or BWM Convention) of the International Maritime Organization, from 8 September 2017, all ships must have an approved Ballast Water Management Treatment [...] Read more.
Based on the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (the Ballast Water Management Convention, or BWM Convention) of the International Maritime Organization, from 8 September 2017, all ships must have an approved Ballast Water Management Treatment System (BWTS) to prevent the invasion of alien species through the discharge of ballast. Generally speaking, the need for an approved BWTS is limited to large vessels, as they are too large or too expensive for small vessels to install. This study aims to propose a simple ballast-free approach for small vessels (e.g., tugs, workboats, research vessels) that require ballast to compensate for the weight loss of fuel when sailing. Our approach involves refitting the dedicated ballast tank of these small vessels to be drinking water tanks and filling the tanks with onboard-generated distilled or reverse osmosis water to adjust the stability of the ships. We assessed our approach using three vessels. Two ships using our proposed method were certified by the American Bureau of Shipping as containing no ballast water tank, and not being subject to the BWM Convention. This study provides an environmentally harmless, easy to use, and economical approach for small vessels to comply with the BWM Convention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Assessing the Potential of Catch-Only Models to Inform on the State of Global Fisheries and the UN’s SDGs
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6101; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13116101 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 854
Abstract
Catch-only models (COMs) have been the focus of ongoing research into data-poor stock assessment methods. Two of the most recent models that are especially promising are (i) CMSY+, the latest refined version of CMSY that has progressed from Catch-MSY, and (ii) SRA+ (Stock [...] Read more.
Catch-only models (COMs) have been the focus of ongoing research into data-poor stock assessment methods. Two of the most recent models that are especially promising are (i) CMSY+, the latest refined version of CMSY that has progressed from Catch-MSY, and (ii) SRA+ (Stock Reduction Analysis Plus), one of the latest developments in the field. Comparing COMs and evaluating their relative performance is essential for determining the state of regional and global fisheries that may be lacking necessary data that would be required to run traditional assessment models. In this paper we interrogate how performance of COMs can be improved by incorporating additional sources of information. We evaluate the performance of COMs on a dataset of 48 data-rich ICES (International Council for the Exploration of Seas) stock assessments. As one measure of performance, we consider the ability of the model to correctly classify stock status using FAO’s 3-tier classification that is also used for reporting on sustainable development goals to the UN. Both COMs showed notable bias when run with their inbuilt default heuristics, but as the quality of prior information increased, classification rates for the terminal year improved substantially. We conclude that although further COM refinements show some potential, most promising is the ongoing research into developing biomass or fishing effort priors for COMs in order to be able to reliably track stock status for the majority of the world’s fisheries currently lacking stock assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Quantifying Ecosystem Services of High Mountain Lakes across Different Socio-Ecological Contexts
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6051; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13116051 - 27 May 2021
Viewed by 976
Abstract
Mountain lakes are highly sensitive to global change, requiring sustainable management strategies that support crucial ecosystem services (ES). However, small mountain lakes are rarely in the focus of ES assessments, and indicators are potentially lacking. Therefore, this study aimed at comprehensively assessing key [...] Read more.
Mountain lakes are highly sensitive to global change, requiring sustainable management strategies that support crucial ecosystem services (ES). However, small mountain lakes are rarely in the focus of ES assessments, and indicators are potentially lacking. Therefore, this study aimed at comprehensively assessing key ES of 15 study lakes located in two regions in the European Alps. We involved local stakeholders and experts to identify important ES. We quantified eight ES in non-monetary terms, using 29 indicators based on limnological, spatial and socio-economic data. Finally, we evaluated ES in relation to the socio-ecological context of the study lakes. The most important ES included surface water for non-drinking purposes, maintaining populations and habitats, outdoor recreation, aesthetic value, entertainment and representation, scientific research, education as well as existence, option, or bequest value. Quantitative results indicate varying levels of ES across the study lakes. Based on 12 different socio-ecological variables, we identified four groups of lakes differing also in five ES. Maintaining populations and habitats, aesthetic value as well as existence, option or bequest value were rather independent from the socio-ecological context. Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of ES of mountain lakes, also supporting the development of sustainable management strategies in mountain regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Fuel Injection Responses and Particulate Emissions of a CRDI Engine Fueled with Cocos nucifera Biodiesel
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4930; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13094930 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 659
Abstract
The objective of this paper is to study the effect of coconut oil biodiesel (COB)-diesel blends on exhaust particulate matter (PM) emissions and fuel injection responses in an unmodified turbocharged four-stroke common-rail direct injection (CRDI) diesel engine. Characterization of COB and their blends [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper is to study the effect of coconut oil biodiesel (COB)-diesel blends on exhaust particulate matter (PM) emissions and fuel injection responses in an unmodified turbocharged four-stroke common-rail direct injection (CRDI) diesel engine. Characterization of COB and their blends has been conducted to ascertain the applicability of these fuels for the existing engine. The test fuels used were fossil diesel fuel, COB10, COB20, COB30 and COB50 of biodiesel-diesel fuels. A test cycle which composed of 16 different steady-state modes at various loads and speed conditions was followed. Generally, the results showed a marginally advanced SOI timing and longer injection duration with increasing COB blends at higher load as compared to diesel fuel. Additionally, the lower calorific value (CV) and higher viscosity of the COB fuel blends have resulted in reduced turbo boost pressure and increased common-rail fuel injection pressure, respectively, across all engine speeds and loads. On the aspects of PM emissions characterization, results indicated that the blending of COB with conventional diesel had benefits over diesel in PM reduction. In fact, the largest achievable PM mass reduction of 38.55% was attained with COB50. In addition, it was noticed that the size of PM particles accumulated such that the granular size increased with higher diesel content in the blend. Additionally, the composition analysis on the PM collected by EDX spectroscopy has revealed that the C, O and Si as three main elements that made up the PM particles in descending order. Overall, the results indicated that COB biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel and can be used satisfactorily in an unmodified diesel engine without the needs for engine remapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Sustainability of Energy-Induced Growth Nexus in Brazil: Do Carbon Emissions and Urbanization Matter?
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4371; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13084371 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 732
Abstract
This study assesses the relationship between economic performance and environmental sustainability by taking into account the role of energy consumption, urbanization, and trade openness in Brazil by using data spanning from 1965 to 2019. The study is distinct from previously documented studies in [...] Read more.
This study assesses the relationship between economic performance and environmental sustainability by taking into account the role of energy consumption, urbanization, and trade openness in Brazil by using data spanning from 1965 to 2019. The study is distinct from previously documented studies in literature in terms of scope for Brazil, where few entries have been recorded. The major objectives are to address the questions: (a) Is there a long-run connection between the variables under consideration? (b) Can CO2 emissions, trade openness, and energy consumption predict economic performance of Brazil? (c) What is the connection between economic growth and the independent variables at different frequencies and time-period? Furthermore, the study utilized dynamic ordinary least square (DOLS), fully modified ordinary least square (FMOLS), Maki Cointegration, and autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) to capture the long-run association between the variables of interest. Also, we used the Wavelet coherence and Gradual-shift causality tests to capture the causal linkage between economic growth and the regressors. The advantage of the wavelet coherence test is that it can capture causal linkage between series at different frequencies and periods. The outcome of both Maki cointegration and ARDL bounds testing to cointegration affirms the presence of long-run interaction among the parameters of interest. Furthermore, the outcomes of the DOLS and FMOLS revealed that energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and urbanization exert positive impacts on economic growth in Brazil while there is no significant connection between trade openness and economic growth. Moreover, Gradual shift causality test outcomes disclosed that urbanization, trade openness, CO2 emissions and energy usage can predict the economic performance of Brazil. The outcomes of the wavelet coherence test give credence to the FMOLS, DOLS, and Gradual shift causality tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Impacts of Different Tillage Practices on Soil Water Infiltration for Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3155; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13063155 - 13 Mar 2021
Viewed by 614
Abstract
Over the years, cultivation using sustainable tillage practices has gained significant importance, but the impact of tillage on soil water infiltration is still a concern for landowners due to the possible effects on crop yield. This study investigates the impact of different tillage [...] Read more.
Over the years, cultivation using sustainable tillage practices has gained significant importance, but the impact of tillage on soil water infiltration is still a concern for landowners due to the possible effects on crop yield. This study investigates the impact of different tillage managements on the infiltration rate of sandy clay loam soil under a semiarid environment. Field experiments were conducted in Chott Mariem Sousse, Tunisia. The tillage practices consisted of three treatments, including a tine cultivator (TC, 16 cm), moldboard plows (MP, 36 cm) and no-tillage (NT). Three infiltration models, Kostiakov, Philip and Horton, were applied to adjust the observed data and evaluate the infiltration characteristics of the studied soils. Comparison criteria, including the coefficient of determination (R2), along with the root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute error (MAE), were used to investigate the best-fit model. The results showed that moldboard plowing enhanced soil infiltration capacity relative to tine cultivation and no-tillage treatments. The mean saturated hydraulic conductivity was highest under MP, while it was lowest in NT, with 33.4% and 34.1% reduction compared to TC and MP, respectively. Based on the obtained results, Philip’s model showed better results with observed infiltration due to a higher R2 (0.981, 0.973 and 0.967), lower RMSE (3.36, 9.04 and 9.21) and lower MAE (1.46, 3.53 and 3.72) recorded, respectively, for NT, MP and TC. Horton’s model had a low regression coefficient between observed and predicted values. It was suggested that the Philip two-term model can adequately describe the infiltration process in the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Review

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Review
Recently Developed Adsorbing Materials for Fluoride Removal from Water and Fluoride Analytical Determination Techniques: A Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7061; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137061 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
In recent years, there has been an increase in public perception of the detrimental side-effects of fluoride to human health due to its effects on teeth and bones. Today, there is a plethora of techniques available for the removal of fluoride from drinking [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been an increase in public perception of the detrimental side-effects of fluoride to human health due to its effects on teeth and bones. Today, there is a plethora of techniques available for the removal of fluoride from drinking water. Among them, adsorption is a very prospective method because of its handy operation, cost efficiency, and high selectivity. Along with efforts to assist fluoride removal from drinking waters, extensive attention has been also paid to the accurate measurement of fluoride in water. Currently, the analytical methods that are used for fluoride determination can be classified into chromatographic methods (e.g., ionic chromatography), electrochemical methods (e.g., voltammetry, potentiometry, and polarography), spectroscopic methods (e.g., molecular absorption spectrometry), microfluidic analysis (e.g., flow injection analysis and sequential injection analysis), titration, and sensors. In this review article, we discuss the available techniques and the ongoing effort for achieving enhanced fluoride removal by applying novel adsorbents such as carbon-based materials (i.e., activated carbon, graphene oxide, and carbon nanotubes) and nanostructured materials, combining metals and their oxides or hydroxides as well as natural materials. Emphasis has been given to the use of lanthanum (La) in the modification of materials, both activated carbon and hybrid materials (i.e., La/Mg/Si-AC, La/MA, LaFeO3 NPs), and in the use of MgO nanostructures, which are found to exhibit an adsorption capacity of up to 29,131 mg g−1. The existing analytical methodologies and the current trends in analytical chemistry for fluoride determination in drinking water are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Review
A Systematic Review of the Existing Literature for the Evaluation of Sustainable Urban Projects
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4782; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13094782 - 24 Apr 2021
Viewed by 575
Abstract
From the 21st century to the present(2021), a worldwide awareness that cities’ development must be based on projects for socio-economic growth and environmental protection is increasing. World governmental agencies and the European Union have suggested action strategies for the construction of «prototype cities» [...] Read more.
From the 21st century to the present(2021), a worldwide awareness that cities’ development must be based on projects for socio-economic growth and environmental protection is increasing. World governmental agencies and the European Union have suggested action strategies for the construction of «prototype cities» whose value must be founded on the inclusion and/or preservation of anthropic-natural elements and their effects on territories. In order to minimize the theoretical–practical gap between planning and project design with a view to sustainable development and the evaluation of their performance from economic, social and environmental points of view, the present contribution aims to outline a framework useful for systematizing the main scientific contributions concerning sustainability and the evaluation of urban transformation projects. The objective is pursued by analyzing bibliographic references with specific regard to the use of logical-operative methodologies used to rationalize the processes of interventions’ evaluation and selection. The task of examining the available literature is carried out with an investigation protocol of four sequential steps. From the implementation of the last one, the evidence expressing the heterogeneity of the examples in the literature is described. Accordingly, the theoretical-methodological framework for the project evaluation from an urban sustainability perspective is illustrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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Other

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Concept Paper
Structural and Contentual Complexity in Water Governance
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9751; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13179751 - 30 Aug 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
Social-ecological systems and governance are complex systems and crises that affect those systems are likely to be complex as well. Environmental topics are multi-faceted with respect to both structure and content. Structural complexity is about societal and institutional organization and management, whereas contentual [...] Read more.
Social-ecological systems and governance are complex systems and crises that affect those systems are likely to be complex as well. Environmental topics are multi-faceted with respect to both structure and content. Structural complexity is about societal and institutional organization and management, whereas contentual complexity deals with environmental (or societal) analyses, knowledge, and problem-solving. Interactions between both are manifold, and it is essential they are included in decision-making. Describing these interactions results in a series of nineteen units, arranged in a matrix according to their prevailing mutual dependencies. These units show dominant processes and concepts, representative of environmental analysis. This approach, called ACCU (aggregation of concepts and complex adapted systems units), is provided with evidence through practices of, in particular, water governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews, Advances and Applications in Environmental Sustainability)
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