Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 46035

Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Assessment of Water Quality of Selected Lakes of Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu, India
Degradation of lake water quality is one of the serious environmental threats for the last few decades, particularly, the lakes situated in and around urban and industrial areas. The present study aimed to analyze the physicochemical and biological parameters, and metal elements to determine the water quality of Krishnampathi, Ukkadam, Kurichi, Sulur and Singanallur Lakes. Of the 23 physicochemical parameters analyzed in the five lakes, except TDS, Chloride and Total hardness values all the 20 parameters were found within the prescribed limit as recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). In case of biological parameter, both Total Coliform and Fecal Coliform bacteria (Escherichia coli) were identified. This indicates the contamination of lakes by fecal matter, and warns of potential of disease causing by viruses, bacteria and other organisms. Among the twelve metal elements (Al, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Mo, Cd and Pb) determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy, except Cd (for all lakes), and Pb (for Ukkadam, Kurichi, Sulur & Singanallur), all the elements were found above the prescribed limits of BIS. The results of the present study revealed that all the five major lakes of Coimbatore were contaminated. It is recommended that proper implementation of the new wetland waste management system and monitoring of water quality be of the urgent need to sustain the water bodies for future generations.
A Case Study on the Estimation of Design Discharge for Flood Management in Lower Damodar Region, India
Catchment area of Damodar River, India experiences seasonal rains due to the south-west monsoon every year and depending upon the intensity of the storms, floods occur. During the monsoon season, the rainfall in the area is mainly due to active monsoon conditions. The upstream reach of Damodar river system has five dams store the water for utilization for various purposes viz, irrigation, hydro-power generation, municipal supplies and last but not the least flood moderation. But, in the downstream reach of Damodar River, known as Lower Damodar region, is severely and frequently suffering from flood due to heavy monsoon rainfall and also release from upstream reservoirs. Therefore, an effective flood management study is required to know in depth the nature and extent of flood, water logging, and erosion related problems, affected area, and damages in the Lower Damodar region, by conducting mathematical model study. The design flood or discharge is needed to decide to assign the respective model for getting several scenarios from the simulation runs. The ultimate aim is to achieve a sustainable flood management scheme from the several alternatives. there are various methods for estimating flood discharges to be carried through the rivers and their tributaries for quick drainage from inundated areas due to drainage congestion and excess rainfall. In the present study, the flood frequency analysis is performed to decide the design flood discharge of the study area. This, on the other hand, has limitations in respect of availability of long peak flood data record for determining long type of probability density function correctly. If sufficient past records are available, the maximum flood on a river with a given frequency can safely be determined. The floods of different frequency for the Damodar has been calculated by five candidate distributions i.e., generalized extreme value, extreme value-I, Pearson type III, Log Pearson and normal. Annual peak discharge series are available at Durgapur barrage for the period of 1979 to 2013 (35 years). The available series are subjected to frequency analysis. The primary objective of the flood frequency analysis is to relate the magnitude of extreme events to their frequencies of occurrence through the use of probability distributions. The design flood for return periods of 10, 15 and 25 years return period at Durgapur barrage are estimated by flood frequency method. It is necessary to develop flood hydrographs for the above floods to facilitate the mathematical model studies to find the depth and extent of inundation etc. Null hypothesis that the distributions fit the data at 95% confidence is checked with goodness of fit test, i.e., Chi Square Test. It is revealed from the goodness of fit test that the all five distributions do show a good fit on the sample population and is therefore accepted. However, it is seen that there is considerable variation in the estimation of frequency flood. It is therefore considered prudent to average out the results of these five distributions for required frequencies. The inundated area from past data is well matched using this flood.
Use of Fabric Phase Sorptive Extraction with Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry for the Determination of Organochlorine Pesticides in Various Aqueous and Juice Samples
Fabric Phase Sorptive Extraction (FPSE) combined with Gas chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) has been developed for the determination of nineteen organochlorine pesticides in various aqueous samples. The method consolidates the features of sol-gel derived microextraction sorbents with rich surface chemistry of cellulose fabric substrate which could directly extract sample from complex sample matrices and incredibly improve the operation with decreased pretreatment time. Some vital parameters such as kind and volume of extraction solvent and extraction time were examinedand optimized. Calibration curves were obtained in the concentration range 0.5-500 ng/mL. Under the optimum conditions, the limits of detection (LODs) were in the range 0.033 ng/mL to 0.136 ng/mL. The relative standard deviations (RSDs) for extraction of 10 ng/mL 0f OCPs were less than 10%. The developed method has been applied for the quantification of these compounds in aqueous and fruit juice samples. The results obtained proved the present method to be rapid and feasible for the determination of organochlorine pesticides in aqueous samples.
The Issues of Irrigation Ans Drainage in Kebbi State and Their Effective Solution for a Sustainable Agriculture in Kebbi State, Nigeria
Kebbi State, located in the Nort-West of Nigeria, is rich in water resources as the major rivers viz. Niger and Rima irrigate a vast majority of land. Besides, there is significant amount of groundwater, which farmers use for agriculture purpose. The groundwater is also a major source of agricultural and domestic water as wells are installed in almost all parts of the region. Although Kebbi State is rich in water, however, there are some pertinent issues which are hampering its agricultural productivity. The low lands (locally called Fadama), has spread out to a vast area. It is inundated every year during the rainy season which lasts from June to September every year. The farmers grow rice during the rainy season when water is standing. They cannot do further agricultural activity for almost two months due to high standing water. This has resulted in widespread waterlogging problem. Besides, the impact of climate change is resulting in rapid variation in river/stream flows. The information about water bodies regarding the availability of water for agricultural and other uses and the behavior of rivers at different flows is seldom available. Furthermore, sediment load (suspended and bedload) is not measured due to which land erosion cannot be countered effectively. This study, carried out in seven different irrigation regions of Kebbi state, found that diversion structures need to be constructed at some strategic locations for the supply of surface water to the farmers. The water table needs to be lowered through an effective drainage system. The monitoring of water bodies is crucial for sound data to help efficient regulation and management of water. Construction of embankments is necessary to control frequent floods in the rivers of Niger and Rima. Furthermore, farmers need capacity and awareness for participatory irrigation management.
Direct Detection of Herbicide Bentazon in Drinking Water by Commercially Available Sensors and Applying Electrochemical Measuring Methods
The quality of water is controlled by two approaches: regulations and quality control laboratory tests. Pesticides are one of the main sources of contamination that regulation is focusing on. Pesticides have been intensively applied by agriculture which led to water contamination that presented a challenge in environmental sustainability and human health. Hundreds of pesticides have been banned from European and American markets due to their effect on the environment and human health. Regulators tried to set up a concentration limit for daily exposure of pesticides, basing the regulation limit on the lowest limit of detection available at that time. To enforce the regulation limit of pesticides in the environment, water quality is checked and monitored for pesticide concentrations using manual methods. These methods are time and resource consuming and can only provide a snap shot of the real situation in the fields. Several incidents in different countries have been reported where water with excessive concentration of pesticide was produced and sent to the customers because of the lack of frequent measurements. One of the pesticides that have been continuously reported leaking into groundwater and suspected to have an effect on human reproduction is bentazon. Bentazon is currently being monitored by manual sampling and laboratory analysis using chromatography. One potential method to change this measuring procedure is to use electrochemical methods for direct detection of bentazon. Electrochemistry is an emerging technology that has the possibility to identify and quantify different compounds and measure concentrations lower than any available technique in the market. The recent breakthrough in electronics and communication technologies allow the electrochemical method to be applied as a field measuring technique by having a small portable measuring device. This study shows for the first time the direct bentazon detection in drinking water without any sample pretreatment or chemical modifications and by using commercially available sensors. Seven different concentrations were tested against the background using electrochemical technique. The bentazon response was identified at a potential around 0.6V and it was possible to detect the compound down to 0.39 mgL-1 without any need for surface modification of the sensor electrodes. The detected concentration is lower than what is accepted by the American regulation (0.7 mgL-1) and higher than what is accepted by the European regulation (0. 1 µgL-1).
Decision Support System for the Management of the Shandong Peninsula, China
A Decision Support System (DSS) for supporting decision makers in the management of the Shandong Peninsula has been developed. Emphasis has been given to coastal protection, coastal cage aquaculture and harbors. The investigations were done in the framework of a joint research project funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In this paper, a description of the DSS, the development of its components, and results of its application are presented. The system integrates in-situ measurements, process-based models, and a database management system. Numerical models for the simulation of flow, waves, sediment transport and morphodynamics covering the entire Bohai Sea are set up based on the Delft3D modelling suite (Deltares). Calibration and validation of the models were realized based on the measurements of moored Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) and High Frequency (HF) radars. In order to enable cost-effective and scalable applications, a database management system was developed. It enhances information processing, data evaluation, and supports the generation of data products. Results of the application of the DSS to the management of coastal protection, coastal cage aquaculture and harbors are presented here. Model simulations covering the most severe storms observed during the last decades were carried out leading to an improved understanding of hydrodynamics and morphodynamics. Results helped in the identification of coastal stretches subjected to higher levels of energy and improved support for coastal protection measures.
Spatio-Temporal Variability in Reciprocal Resource Subsidies across Adjacent Terrestrial and Aquatic Eastern Cape Ecosystems
Rivers and their adjacent ecosystems are linked by reciprocal ecological subsidies. Rivers receive nutrients and energy from land, and these transfers can represent important food subsidies, a phenomenon known as allochthony. Emergence of adult aquatic invertebrates can also provide important food sources to terrestrial consumers. Reciprocal subsidies are influenced by factors such as canopy cover, river flow rate and channel width, which can be highly variable through space and time. The aim of this study is to identify and quantify the main trophic links between adjacent ecosystems (terrestrial and freshwater systems) in several Eastern Cape Rivers with different catchment sizes and flow rates and to develop an understanding of the factors that affect the strength of these links and their spatial dynamics. Food sources and consumers were sampled during four seasons (August 2016, November 2016, February 2017 and May 2017), and stable isotope ratios will serve as tracers to estimate the food web structures. Emergence traps are being used to quantify the rates of emergence of adult aquatic insects, and infall-pan traps are being used to quantify the terrestrial insects falling into rivers as potential food subsidies.
A Case Study on Blended Pedagogical Approach by Leveraging on Digital Marketing Concepts towards Inculcating Concepts of Sustainability in Management Education
Teaching sustainability concepts along with profit maximizing philosophy of business in management education is a challenge. This paper explores and evaluates various learning models to inculcate sustainability concepts in management education. The paper explains about a new pedagogy that was tested in a business management school (Indus Business Academy, Bangalore, India) to teach sustainability. The pedagogy was designed by intertwining concepts related to sustainability with digital marketing concepts. As part of this experimental method, students (in groups) were assigned with various topics of sustainability and were asked to work with concepts of digital marketing and thus market the concepts of sustainability. The paper explains as a case study as to how sustainability was integrated with digital marketing tools and how learning towards sustainability was facilitated. It also explains the outcomes of this pedagogical method, in terms of inculcating sustainability concepts amongst management students as well as marketing and proliferation of sustainability concepts to bring about the behavioral changes amongst target audience towards sustainability.
Sustained-Release Persulfate Tablets for Groundwater Remediation
Contamination of soil and groundwater has become a serious and widespread environmental problem. In this study, sustained-release persulfate tablets were developed using persulfate powder and a modified cellulose binder for organic-contaminated groundwater remediation. Conventional cement-based persulfate-releasing materials were also synthesized for the comparison. The main objectives of this study were to: (1) evaluate the release rates of the remedial tablets; (2) obtain the optimal formulas of the tablets; and (3) evaluate the effects of the tablets on the subsurface environment. The results of batch experiments show that the optimal parameter for the preparation of the persulfate-releasing tablet was persulfate:cellulose = 1:1 (wt:wt) with a 5,000 kg F/cm2 of pressure application. The cellulose-based persulfate tablet was able to release 2,030 mg/L of persulfate per day for 10 days. Compared to cement-based persulfate-releasing materials, the persulfate release rates of the cellulose-based persulfate tablets were much more stable. Moreover, since the tablets are soluble in water, no waste will be produced in the subsurface. The results of column tests show that groundwater flow would shorten the release time of the tablets. This study successfully developed unique persulfate tablets based on green remediation perspective. The efficacy of the persulfate-releasing tablets on the removal of organic pollutants needs to be further evaluated. The persulfate tablets are expected to be applied for site remediation in the future.
An Evaluation of Air Pollutant Concentrations in GyőR, Hungary
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the concentration levels of common inorganic gases, benzene and particulate matter (PM₁₀ and PM₂.₅) in ambient air of Győr (Hungary) based on the latest published monitoring data. The concentrations of PM10-bound heavy metals (Pb, Cd, As and Ni) and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were also assessed. The levels of pollutants were compared with the Hungarian and EU limit or target values defined for health protection and the WHO air quality guidelines (AQGs) or estimated reference levels. Based on the Hungarian or the EU air quality standards and using the Hungarian Air Quality Index it was found that mainly an excellent (SO₂, CO, C₆H₆, heavy metals) or good (NO₂, O₃, PM₁₀, PM₂.₅, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)) air quality was observed in the urban area of Győr for the year 2016. The annual mean pollutant concentrations (excluding BaP) were not exceeded or just reached the WHO AQGs or reference levels.
An Assessment of Water and Sediment Quality of the Danube River, Hungary: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Trace Metals
Water and sediment samples from the Danube River and Moson Danube Arm (Hungary) have been collected and analyzed for contamination by 18 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and 8 trace metal(loid)s (As, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cr, Cd, Hg and Zn) in the period of 2014-2015. Moreover, the trace metal(loid) concentrations were measured in the Rába and Marcal rivers (parts of the tributary system feeding the Danube). Total PAH contents in water were found to vary from 0.016 to 0.133 µg/L and concentrations in sediments varied in the range of 0.118 mg/kg and 0.283 mg/kg. Source analysis of PAHs using diagnostic concentration ratios indicated that PAHs found in sediments were of pyrolytic origins. The dissolved trace metal and arsenic concentrations were relatively low in the surface waters. However, higher concentrations were detected in the water samples of Rába (Zn, Cu, Ni, Pb) and Marcal (As, Cu, Ni, Pb) compared to the Danube and Moson Danube. The concentrations of trace metals in sediments were higher than those found in water samples.
Analysis and Evaluation of the Water Catchment Basins of the Erosive-Mudflow Rivers of Georgia on the Example of the River Vere
On June 13-14 of 2015, a landslide in village Akhaldaba was formed as a result of the intense rains in the water catch basin of the river Vere. As a result of the landslide movement, freshets and mudflows originated, and unfortunately, there were victims: zoo animals and birds were drawn in the flood and 12 people died due to the flooded motor road. The goal of the study is to give the analysis of the results of the field and scientific research held in 2015-2017 and to generalize them to the water catch basins of the erosive-mudflow rivers of other mountain landscapes of Georgia. By considering the field and scientific works, the main geographic, geological, climatic, hydrological and hydraulic properties of the erosive-mudflow tributaries of the water catch basin of the river Vere were evaluated and the probabilities of mudflow formation by considering relevant risk-factors were identified. The typology of the water catch basins of erosive-mudflow rivers of Georgia was identified on the example of the river Vere based on the field and scientific study, and their genesis, frequency of mudflow formation and volume of the drift material was identified. By using the empirical and theoretical dependencies, the amount of solid admixtures in the mudflow formed in the gorge of the river Jokhona, the right tributary of the river Vere was identified by considering the shape of the stones.
Photocatalytic Indoor Air Purification: From Lab-Scale to Commercial Device
Concerns have risen about public health problems due to presence of many volatile organic compounds in this environment, referred to as indoor air pollution. Significant research efforts are therefore directed towards advanced indoor air purification methods. Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology is nowadays considered a very promising and sustainable technology for indoor air purification, for example, integrated in HVAC systems. The mechanism of PCO involves the activation of a semi-conductor photocatalyst, such as TiO₂, by illumination with UV-light, generating reactive hydroxyl radicals and superoxide anions that are able to break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, there is still a substantial gap to be filled between lab-scale investigation of suitable photocatalysts and applied PCO technology for air purification. Efficient operation of a PCO reactor requires insights in mass transfer rates, i.e., convective and diffusive transport towards the catalytic surface, irradiance and the kinetics of adsorption, desorption, and photocatalytic reaction. Finite element modeling (FEM) is a numerical method for solving complex physics and is a very attractive approach for the analysis of a PCO reactor performance through integrated simulations of fluid dynamics, irradiance distribution and kinetics of desorption, adsorption, and reaction at the catalytic surface. The development of a multiphysics model is presented in which radiation field modeling is coupled with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to predict the performance of a lab-scale photocatalytic multi-tube reactor. The radiation field model simulates the UV-irradiance on the catalytic surface and is calibrated with in-situ spectroscopic measurements for various sets of TiO₂-coatings, based on differences in coating layer thickness and refractive index. The results from this simulation were used to define an irradiance-dependent reaction rate constant in a coupling with CFD. The kinetic parameters, describing adsorption, desorption, and photocatalytic reaction, were estimated and validated, based on correlation with experimental data, in which a polluted airflow (containing acetaldehyde as VOC model compound) is passed through the reactor and the outlet concentration monitored by FTIR-spectroscopy. The multiphysics model was able to predict the outlet concentration very accurately for all coatings. The validity and intrinsicity of all relevant parameters, describing the photocatalytic process, was emphasized in an air-tight climate chamber experiment with realistic indoor air VOC concentrations and flow rates of an operating ventilation system. Hence, the multiphysics model was deployed to fine-tune the reactor design for optimal performance. As a general conclusion, we can state that multiphysics modeling can be a useful and convenient tool for designing and upscaling photocatalytic devices.
A Photocatalytic Multi-Tube Reactor for Indoor Air Purification in Heating, Ventilation and Air Applications
Indoor air quality (IAQ) has become of vital importance to health globally. Nowadays people living in developed countries spend more than 80% of their time indoors. Many hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been identified indoors, emitted from construction materials, indoor equipment or human indoor activities such as cooking or heating. VOCs may trigger the sick building syndrome (SBS), which covers the broad range of health problems caused by bad IAQ. To ensure a healthy IAQ, an interesting strategy is to combine ventilation and air purification. Of the advanced air purification methods, photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is a promising technique for integration into heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The advantage of using an air purification device in heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) systems is that the IAQ can be maintained with a minimum of ventilation, resulting in less energy consumption and even a contribution to a better OAQ. PCO is an interesting, cost-effective and efficient approach for indoor air pollution, and in particular VOC abatement. Glass tubes are presented as excellent photocatalytic substrate to meet the challenging requirements of a ventilation system. Glass tubes can easily be dip-coated (withdrawal speed of 120 mm/min) with the photocatalyst (TiO₂ based coating) and packed to constitute a transparent monolith-like multi-tube reactor, aligned with the air flow to minimize the pressure drop. Moreover, borosilicate glass is relatively cheap and has excellent UV-A light transmitting properties. In this work, various TiO₂ (P25 Degussa) loaded sol-gel coatings (0-70 g/L) were investigated under different operating conditions, i.e., VOC concentrations, flow rates, and UV-A light irradiance. Pressure losses were measured and compared with a differential pressure sensor in a reactor integrated into a closed circuit air duct system. A calibrated Avantes Avaspec-3648 spectrometer was used to measure the emitted spectral UV light irradiance at several positions in the multi-tube reactor. The coating activity was measured in an ISO 22197-2:2011 standard reactor with gas chromatography equipped with a flame ionization detector (GC-FID). The reactor performance was measured at both a) high acetaldehyde concentrations and low velocities, using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and b) lower concentrations and higher velocities, using a GC-FID connected with an air tight climate chamber built in accordance with the AFNOR XP B44-013 standard. The in-depth characterization of this reactor showed a trade-off between photocatalytic activity and UV-A light transmission. Furthermore, a maximum of 50 g/L P25 (TiO₂) could be added in the sol-gel procedure without loss of adhesion. At high acetaldehyde concentrations and low flow rates, 10 g/L P25 sol-gel coated tubes performed best. However, at low acetaldehyde concentrations and high flow rates the 30 g/L coating performed better. The results prove the feasibility of the concept and provide vital insights for the further development and scaling up of multi-tube reactors in ventilation systems.
Optimization of Operational Water Quality Parameters in a Drinking Water Distribution System Using Response Surface Methodology
Chloramine is commonly used as a disinfectant in drinking water distribution systems (DWDSs), particularly in Australia and the USA. Maintaining a chloramine residual throughout the DWDS is important in ensuring microbiologically safe water is supplied at the customer’s tap. In order to simulate how chloramine behaves when it moves through the distribution system, a water quality network model (WQNM) can be applied. In this work, the WQNM was based on mono-chloramine decomposition reactions, which enabled prediction of mono-chloramine residual at different locations through a DWDS in Australia, using the Bentley commercial hydraulic package (Water GEMS). The accuracy of WQNM predictions is influenced by a number of water quality parameters. Optimization of these parameters in order to obtain the closest results in comparison with actual measured data in a real DWDS would result in both cost reduction as well as reduction in consumption of valuable resources such as energy and materials. In this work, the optimum operating conditions of water quality parameters (i.e. temperature, pH, and initial mono-chloramine concentration) to maximize the accuracy of mono-chloramine residual predictions for two water supply scenarios in an entire network were determined using response surface methodology (RSM). To obtain feasible and economical water quality parameters for highest model predictability, Design Expert 8.0 software (Stat-Ease, Inc.) was applied to conduct the optimization of three independent water quality parameters. High and low levels of the water quality parameters were considered, inevitably, as explicit constraints, in order to avoid extrapolation. The independent variables were pH, temperature and initial mono-chloramine concentration. The lower and upper limits of each variable for two water supply scenarios were defined and the experimental levels for each variable were selected based on the actual conditions in studied DWDS. It was found that at pH of 7.75, temperature of 34.16 ºC, and initial mono-chloramine concentration of 3.89 (mg/L) during peak water supply patterns, root mean square error (RMSE) of WQNM for the whole network would be minimized to 0.189, and the optimum conditions for averaged water supply occurred at pH of 7.71, temperature of 18.12 ºC, and initial mono-chloramine concentration of 4.60 (mg/L). The proposed methodology to predict mono-chloramine residual can have a great potential for water treatment plant operators in accurately estimating the mono-chloramine residual through a water distribution network. Additional studies from other water distribution systems are warranted to confirm the applicability of the proposed methodology for other water samples.
Use of Waste Road-Asphalt as Aggregate in Pavement Block Production
This research investigated the possibility of replacing coarse and fine aggregates with waste road-asphalt (RWA), when sieved appropriately, in concrete production. Interlock pavement block is used widely in many parts of the world as modern day solution to outdoor flooring applications. The weight-percentage replacements of both coarse and fine aggregates with RWA at 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% and 90% respectively using a concrete mix ratio of 1:2:4 and water-to-cement ratio of 0.45 were carried out. The interlock block samples produced were then cured for 28days. Unconfined compressive strength (UCS) and the water absorption properties of the samples were then tested. Comparison of the results of the RWA-containing samples to those of the respective control samples shows significant benefits of using RWA in interlock block production. UCS results of RWA-containing samples compared well with those of the control samples and the RWA content also influenced the lowering of the water absorption of the samples. Overall, the research shows that it is possible to replace both coarse and fine aggregates with RWA materials when sieved appropriately, hence indicating that RWA could be recycled beneficially.
Valorisation of Polyethylene and Plastic Bottle Wastes as Pavement Blocks
This research investigated the possibility of using waste low-dense polyethylene and waste plastic bottles for the production of interlock pavement blocks. In many parts of the world, interlock pavement block is used widely as modern day solution to outdoor flooring applications and the blocks have different shapes, sizes and colours suiting the imagination of landscape architects. Using suitable and conventional mould having a 220 x 135 x 50 mm³ shape, the interlock blocks were produced. The material constituents of the produced blocks were waste low-dense polyethylene and waste plastic bottles mixed in varying, respective percentage-weight proportions of; 100%+0%, 75%+25%, 50%+50% and 25%+75%. The blocks were then tested for unconfined compressive strength and water absorption properties. The test results compared well with those of conventional concrete interlock blocks and the research demonstrates the possibility of value recovery from the waste streams which are currently dumped in open-spaces thereby affecting the environment.
Mural Exhibition as a Promotive Strategy to Proper Hygiene and Sanitation Practices among Children: A Case Study from Urban Slum Schools in Nairobi, Kenya
Background: Provision of adequate levels of water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools is a strategic objective in achieving universal primary education among children in low and middle-income countries. However, lack of proper sanitation and hygiene practices in schools, especially those in informal settlement has resulted to an increased rate of school absenteeism thereby affecting the education and health outcomes of the children in those setting. Intervention or Response: Catholic Relief Services in Kenya supports five schools in informal settlements of Nairobi by painting of key hygiene messages on school walls to promote proper hygiene and sanitation practices among the school children. The mural exhibitions depict the essence of proper hygiene practices, proper latrine use, and hand washing after visiting the latrine. The artwork is context specific and its aimed at improving the uptake of proper hygiene and sanitation practices among the school children. Review of project related documents was conducted including interviews with the school children. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the qualitative information generated. Results and Lessons Learnt: 12 school children have interviewed on proper hygiene and sanitation practices and the exercise revealed that painted murals were the best communication platforms for creating awareness on proper sanitation on issues relating to water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools. The painting mural provided a strong knowledge base for the formation of healthy habits in both the school and informal settlement. In addition, these sanitation messages on the school walls empower the children to share these practices with their siblings, parents, and other family members thereby acting as agents of change to proper hygiene and sanitation in those informal settlements. The findings revealed that by adopting proper sanitation and hygiene practices, there has been a reduction of school absenteeism due to a decrease in disease related to inadequate sanitation and hygiene in schools. Conclusion: The adoption of proper sanitation in schools entails more than just a painted mural wall. Insights revealed that to have a lasting sanitation and hygiene intervention, there is a need to invest in effective hygiene educational programming that encourages the formation of proper hygiene habits and promotes changes in behavior.
Growing Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides L.) on Contaminated Soils with Heavy Metals in Bulgaria
A field study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides L.) for phytoremediation of contaminated soils. The experiment was performed on agricultural fields contaminated by the Non-Ferrous-Metal Works near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The experimental plots were situated at different distances (0.5, 3.5, and 15 km) from the source of pollution. The concentrations of Pb, Zn, and Cd in vetiver (roots and leaves) were determined. Correlations between the content of the heavy metal mobile forms extracted with DTPA and their content in the roots and leaves of the Vetiver have been established. The Vetiver is tolerant to heavy metals and can be grown on soils contaminated with heavy metals. Plants are characterized by low ability to absorb and accumulate Pb, Cd, and Zn and have no signs of toxicity (chlorosis and necrosis) at 36.8 mg/kg Cd, 1158.8 mg/kg Pb and 1526.2 mg/kg Zn in the soil. Vetiver plants can be classified as Pb, Cd and Zn excluder, therefore, this plant has the suitable potential for the phytostabilization of heavy metal contaminated soils. Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support by the Bulgarian National Science Fund (Project DFNI 04/9).
Climate-Driven Water Resources Planning Model for the Dublin Region, Ireland
This paper describes development, calibration and testing of a climate-driven water resources planning model for the Dublin region. The developed model was formed within the Water Evaluation and Planning software (WEAP21) by interconnecting different components of the water resources system in Dublin. In particular, the Liffey and Dublin bay catchment, which accounts for approximately 85% of water supplies within the region, was divided into contiguous sub-catchments. The rainfall-runoff module of the model was forced by monthly climate time series in order to simulate flows within the catchment. In addition, the model accounted for all types of water uses, which comprise domestic uses, non-domestic uses, hydropower and in-streamflow requirements. Estimated amounts of these water uses were then used to allocate water from existing sources. To quantify the domestic and non-domestic water uses, the region was divided into six water supply zones each of which was connected to its source(s). Model parametrisation was achieved using several datasets across a variety of sectors including hydrology, climate, land use, population, infrastructure and water uses. After parameterisation, the most sensitive parameters of the model were identified and then calibrated to obtain adequate match between actual historic observations and model results during the simulation period. Goodness of fit statistics were used to assess performance of the model in simulating natural and managed flows at select locations within the catchment. Results show that the model was able to accurately quantify the regional water balance including natural and managed flows and water uses. This demonstrates the suitability of the model for use as a tool to predict future behaviour of the water resources system of Dublin in the context of population and industrial growth, climate change, and also in term of changes in water policies and infrastructure.
Supported Gold Nanocatalysts for CO Oxidation in Mainstream Cigarette Smoke
It has been suggested that nicotine, CO and tar in mainstream smoke are the most important substances and have been judged as the most harmful compounds, responsible for the health hazards of smoking. As nicotine is extremely important for smoking qualities of cigarettes and the tar yield in the tobacco smoke is significantly reduced due to the use of filters with various content and design, the main efforts of cigarettes researchers and manufacturers are related to the search of opportunities for CO content reduction. Highly active ceria supported gold catalyst was prepared by the deposition-precipitation method, and the possibilities for CO oxidation in the synthetic gaseous mixture were evaluated using continuous flow equipment with fixed bed glass reactor at atmospheric pressure. The efficiently of the catalyst in CO oxidation in the real cigarette smoke was examined by a single port, puf-by-puff smoking machine. Quality assessment of smoking using cigarette holder containing catalyst was carried out. It was established that the catalytic activity toward CO oxidation in cigarette smoke rapidly decreases from 70% for the first cigarette to nearly zero for the twentieth cigarette. The present study shows that there are two critical factors which do not permit the successful use of catalysts to reduce the CO content in the mainstream cigarette smoke: (i) significant influence of the processes of adsorption and oxidation on the main characteristics of tobacco products and (ii) rapid deactivation of the catalyst due to the covering of the catalyst’s grains with condensate.
The Effect of Soil Contamination on Chemical Composition and Quality of Aronia (Aronia melanocarpa) Fruits
A field study was conducted to evaluate the chemical composition and quality of the Aronia fruits, as well as the possibilities of Aronia cultivation on soils contaminated with heavy metals. The experiment was performed on an agricultural fields contaminated by the Non- Ferrous-Metal Works (NFMW) near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The study included four varieties of Aronia (Aron variety, Hugin variety, Viking variety and Nero variety). The Aronia was cultivated according to the conventional technology on areas at a different distance from the source of pollution NFMW- Plovdiv (1 km, 3.5 km, and 15 km). The concentrations of macroelements, microelements, and heavy metals in Aronia fruits were determined. The dry matter content, ash, sugars, proteins, and fats were also determined. Aronia is a crop that is tolerant to heavy metals and can successfully be grown on soils contaminated with heavy metals. The increased content of heavy metals in the soil leads to less absorption of the nutrients (Ca, Mg and P) in the fruit of the Aronia. Soil pollution with heavy metals does not affect the quality of the Aronia fruit varieties.
Managing Climate Change: Vulnerability Reduction or Resilience Building
Adaptation interventions are the common response to manage the vulnerabilities of climate change. The nature of adaptation intervention depends on the degree of vulnerability and the capacity of a society. The coping interventions can take the form of hard adaptation – utilising technologies and capital goods like dykes, embankments, seawalls, and/or soft adaptation – engaging knowledge and information sharing, capacity building, policy and strategy development, and innovation. Hard adaptation is quite capital intensive but provides immediate relief from climate change vulnerabilities. This type of adaptation is not real development, as the investment for the adaptation cannot improve the performance – just maintain the status quo of a social or ecological system, and often lead to maladaptation in the long-term. Maladaptation creates a two-way loss for a society – interventions bring further vulnerability on top of the existing vulnerability and investment for getting rid of the consequence of interventions. Hard adaptation is popular to the vulnerable groups, but it focuses so much on the immediate solution and often ignores the environmental issues and future risks of climate change. On the other hand, soft adaptation is education oriented where vulnerable groups learn how to live with climate change impacts. Soft adaptation interventions build the capacity of vulnerable groups through training, innovation, and support, which might enhance the resilience of a system. In consideration of long-term sustainability, soft adaptation can contribute more to resilience than hard adaptation. Taking a developing society as the study context, this study aims to investigate and understand the effectiveness of the adaptation interventions of the coastal community of Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh. Applying semi-structured interviews with a range of Sundarbans stakeholders including community residents, tourism demand-supply side stakeholders, and conservation and management agencies (e.g., Government, NGOs and international agencies) and document analysis, this paper reports several key insights regarding climate change adaptation. Firstly, while adaptation interventions may offer a short-term to medium-term solution to climate change vulnerabilities, interventions need to be revised for long-term sustainability. Secondly, soft adaptation offers advantages in terms of resilience in a rapidly changing environment, as it is flexible and dynamic. Thirdly, there is a challenge to communicate to educate vulnerable groups to understand more about the future effects of hard adaptation interventions (and the potential for maladaptation). Fourthly, hard adaptation can be used if the interventions do not degrade the environmental balance and if the investment of interventions does not exceed the economic benefit of the interventions. Overall, the goal of an adaptation intervention should be to enhance the resilience of a social or ecological system so that the system can with stand present vulnerabilities and future risks. In order to be sustainable, adaptation interventions should be designed in such way that those can address vulnerabilities and risks of climate change in a long-term timeframe.
Determinants of Economic Growth in Pakistan: A Structural Vector Auto Regression Approach
This empirical study followed structural vector auto regression (SVAR) approach proposed by the so-called AB-model of Amisano and Giannini (1997) to check the impact of relevant macroeconomic determinants on economic growth in Pakistan. Before that auto regressive distributive lag (ARDL) bound testing technique and time varying parametric approach along with general to specific approach was employed to find out relevant significant determinants of economic growth. To our best knowledge, no author made such a study that employed auto regressive distributive lag (ARDL) bound testing and time varying parametric approach with general to specific approach in empirical literature, but current study will bridge this gap. Annual data was taken from World Development Indicators (2014) during period 1976-2014. The widely-used Schwarz information criterion and Akaike information criterion were considered for the lag length in each estimated equation. Main findings of the study are that remittances received, gross national expenditures and inflation are found to be the best relevant positive and significant determinants of economic growth. Based on these empirical findings, we conclude that government should focus on overall economic growth augmenting factors while formulating any policy relevant to the concerned sector.
Impact of Fire on Bird Diversity in Oil Palm Plantation: Case Study in South Sumatra Province
Fires in oil palm plantations are events that occurred annually. Objective of this research was to study the extent of fire impact on bird diversity in oil palm plantation. Data were gathered from February to March 2017, using transect method (5 lanes) to collect data on bird species and abundance. Analysis of undergrowth used a quadrat method of 20m x 20m with 5 sample plots measuring 2m x 2m. Species diversity was calculated by species number, Margalef's Richness Index (Dmg) and Evenness Index, whereas comparison of species compositions between burnt and unburnt areas was determined by Index of Similarity. Data analysis showed that a number of bird species in the burnt area were higher than those in unburnt area (36 versus 25 species). Similar results were obtained for species richness with Dmg + 5.44 in burned area and 3.26 unburned areas. Different results were found for the Evenness Index, where the value was higher in unburned area (0.86) than burned area (0.65). These results indicated that fires did not decrease bird diversity as alleged by many parties who stated that fires caused species extinction. On the contrary, these findings found higher number of birds in burned area from 25 to 36 species due to the high bird mobility. During occurrence of fire, birds flew away and flew back once the fire has been extinguished. Fire has also triggered the increased number of undergrowth and insects species that acted as feed for the birds' community. This result is consistent with several research findings in the United States and Australia that used controlled fires as one of regional management tools. These findings are critically important in making prior judgement when attempting to make prudent decision for oil palm managers on the compensation for the ecological loss due to the fire.
Impact of Private Oil Palm Expansion on Indonesia Tropical Forest Deforestation Rate: Case Study in the Province of Riau
A variety of negative allegations have criticized the Indonesian oil palm plantations as being environmentally unfriendly. One of the important allegations thus must be verified is that expansion of Indonesian oil palm plantation has increased the deforestation rate of primary tropical forest. In relation to this, a research was conducted to study the origin or history of the status and land use of 8 private oil palm plantations (with a total of 46,372.38 ha) located in Riau Province. Several methods were employed: (1) conducting analysis of overlay maps between oil palm plantation studied with the 1986 Forest Map Governance Agreement (TGHK) and the 1994 and 2014 Riau Provincial Spatial Plans(RTRWP); (2) studying the Cultivation Right on Land (HGU) documents including the Forestry Ministerial Decree on the release of forest area and (3) interpretation of lands at imagery of bands 542, covering 3 years before and after the oil palm industries operated. In addition, field cross-checked, and interviews were conducted with National Land Agency, Plantation and Forestry Office and community figures. The results indicated that as much as 1.95% of the oil palm plantations under study were converted from production forest, 30.34% from limited production forest and 67.70% from area for other usage /conversion production forest. One year prior to the establishment of the plantations, the land cover types comprised of rubber plantations (49.96%), secondary forest (35.99%), bare land (10.17%), shrubs (3.03%) and mixed dryland farming-shrubs (0.84%), whereas the land use types comprised of 35.99% forest concession areas, 14.04% migrants dryland farms, and 49.96% Cultivation Right on Land of other companies. These results indicated that most of the private oil palm plantations under study, resulted from the conversion of production forests and the previous land use were not primary forest but rubber plantations and secondary forests.
Impacts of Oil Palm Plantation on Mammal and Herpetofauna Diversity: A Case Study in Riau Province, Indonesia
Expansion of Indonesia oil palm plantations has contributed significantly to the national revenue annually and has been able to absorb millions of workers. Behind all these positive contributions, such expansion was accused as the cause of the decline in wildlife populations such as mammal and herpetofauna. Research was carried out in 8 oil palm plantations in Riau Province of Indonesia from March to April 2016, to determine the impacts of oil palm plantations on mammal and herpetofauna biodiversity. Direct observation was conducted simultaneously equipped with camera traps placed (for mammal) on various land cover types. For mammals' survey, line transect method was used, and for herpetofauna, Visual Encounter Survey (VES) method was used. Landsat imagery was used to interpret land cover types 3 years prior to the establishment of the oil palm plantations. The study revealed that one year before the oil palm plantations was established, most the land covers were comprised of 49.96% rubber plantations, 35.99% secondary forest, 10.17% bare land, 3.03% shrubs and 0.84% mixed dryland farming-shrubs. Based on the number of species found, it was identified that on the average, mammal diversity in 4 of 8 oil palm plantations, showed a decrease by 14.29%-100%, whereas 2 plantations did not experienced any changes in the number of species and one plantation showed an increased in the number of mammal species. The plantations that experienced a reduction in the number of mammal’s diversity were previously dominated covered by secondary forest (40%) and rubber plantation (40%), while those experiencing no changes in the number of species were also dominated by secondary forest. The area with an increased number of mammal species was historically dominated by rubber plantation. On the contrary, significant results were shown for herpetofauna, where all study sites showed a sharp increase in the number of herpetofauna species, by 100%-225.00%.
Conservation Importance of Independent Smallholdings in Safeguarding Biodiversity in Oil Palm Plantations
The expansions of independent smallholdings in Indonesia are feared to increase the negative ecological impacts of oil palm plantation on biodiversity. Hence, research is required to identify the conservation importance of independent smallholder oil palm plantations on biodiversity. This paper discussed the role of independent smallholdings in the conservation of biodiversity in oil palm plantations and to compare it with High Conservation Value Forest as a conservation standard of RSPO. The research was conducted from March to April 2016. Data on biodiversity were collected on 16 plantations and 8 private oil palm plantations in the Districts of Kampar, Pelalawan, Kuantan, Singingi and Siak of Riau Province, Indonesia. In addition, data on community environmental perceptions of both smallholder plantation and High Conservation Value (HCV) Forest were also collected. Species that were observed were birds and earthworms. Data on birds were collected using transect method, while identification of earthworm was determine by taking some soil samples and counting the number of individual earthworm found for each worm species. The research used direct interview with oil palm owners and community members, as well as direct observation to examine the environmental conditions of each plantation. In general, field observation and measurement have found that birds species richness was higher in the forested HCV Forest. Nevertheless, if compared to non-forested HCV, bird’s species richness was higher in the independent smallholdings. On the other hand, different results were observed for earthworm, where the density was higher in the independent smallholdings than in the HCV. It can be concluded from this research that managing independent smallholder oil palm plantations and forested HCV forest could enhance biodiversity conservation. The results of this study justified the importance of retaining forested area to safeguard biodiversity in oil palm plantation.
Distribution of Current Emerging Contaminants in South Africa Surface and Groundwater
Emerging contaminants (EC) such as pharmaceutical and personal care products have been accumulating for years in water bodies all over the world. However, very little is known about the occurrences, levels, and effects of ECs in South African water resources. This study provides an initial assessment of the distribution of eight ECs (Acetaminophen, Atrazine, Terbuthlyazine, Carbamazepine, Phenyton, Sulfmethoxazole, Nevirapine and Fluconozole) in fifteen water sources from the Free State and Easter Cape provinces of South Africa. Overall, the physiochemical conditions were different in surface and groundwater samples, with concentrations of several elements such as B, Ca, Mg, Na, NO3, and TDS been statistically higher in groundwater. In contrast, ECs levels, quantified at ng/mL using the LC/MS/ESI, were much lower in groundwater samples. The ECs with higher contamination levels were Carbamazepine, Sulfmethoxazole, Nevirapine, and Terbuthlyazine, while the most widespread were Sulfmethoxazole and Fluconozole, detected in all surface and groundwater samples. Fecal and E. coli tests indicated that surface water was more contaminated than groundwater. Microbial communities, assessed using NGS, were dominated by the phyla Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, in both surface and groundwater. Actinobacteria, Planctomycetes, and Cyanobacteria, were more dominant in surface water, while Verrucomicrobia were overrepresented in groundwater. In conclusion, ECs contamination is closely associated with human activities (human wastes). The microbial diversity identified can suggest possible biodegradation processes.
The Review and Contribution of Taiwan Government Policies on Environmental Impact Assessment to Water Recycling
Because of inborn natural conditions and man-made sabotage, the water resources insufficient phenomenon in Taiwan is a very important issue needed to face immediately. The regulations and law of water resources protection and recycling are gradually completed now but still lack of specific water recycling effectiveness checking method. The research focused on the industrial parks that already had been certificated with EIA to establish a professional checking system, carry through and forge ahead to contribute one’s bit in water resources sustainable usage. Taiwan Government Policies of Environmental Impact Assessment established in 1994, some development projects were requested to set certain water recycling ratio for water resources effective usage. The water covers and contains everything because all-inclusive companies enter and be stationed. For control the execution status of industrial park water and waste water recycling ratio about EIA commitment effectively, we invited experts and scholars in this filed to discuss with related organs to formulate the policy and audit plan. Besides, call a meeting to set public version water equilibrium diagrams and recycles parameter. We selected nine industrial parks that were requested set certain water recycling ratio in EIA examination stage and then according to the water usage quantity, we audited 340 factories in these industrial parks with spot and documents examination and got fruitful results – the average water usage of unit area per year of all these examined industrial parks is 31,000 tons/hectare/year, the value is just half of Taiwan industries average. It is obvious that the industrial parks with EIA commitment can decrease the water resources consumption effectively. Taiwan government policies of Environmental Impact Assessment took follow though tracking function into consideration at the beginning. The results of this research verify the importance of the implementing with water recycling to save water resources in EIA commitment. Inducing development units to follow EIA commitment to get the balance between environmental protection and economic development is one of the important EIA value.