Environmental Science and Pollution Research

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ISSN / EISSN : 0944-1344 / 1614-7499
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Yizhen Zhang, Han Zhang, Yu Fu, Luwei Wang,
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-20; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15467-0

Abstract:
The ecological environment and economic development are double-edged swords. Nevertheless, we can still achieve green and coordinated development through environmental regulations and industrial agglomeration. Based on the panel data from 269 cities in China from 2008 to 2017, using the SBM-DEA model, the Malmquist-Luenberger (ML) index, and the spatial Durbin model (SDM) under different weight matrices, this paper explored the spatial pattern of ecological efficiency, the internal evolution mechanism, and the spillover effects of industrial agglomeration and environmental regulation on ecological efficiency. The results demonstrated that China’s urban ecological efficiency had an obvious spatial pattern of “high in the east and low in the west.” Due to the different life cycles of cities, the internal evolution mechanism of urban ecological efficiency had significant differences. Pure technological efficiency (PEFFCH), technological progress (TECH), and scale efficiency (SECH) have contributed the most to the ecological efficiency of the eastern, central, and western regions, respectively. Furthermore, a significant U-shaped relationship existed between industrial agglomeration and ecological efficiency. In particular, urban ecological efficiency will be improved when the industrial agglomeration level exceeds a certain scale. However, the spillover effects of industrial agglomeration were more sensitive to distance factors, leading to failure of the significance test under the economic distance and asymmetric economic distance matrix. The “innovation compensation effect” of environmental regulation was greater than the “compliance cost,” which verified the applicability of the “Porter Hypothesis” in urban ecological efficiency to a certain extent. Finally, the geographical detector showed that each variable had a certain impact on the urban ecological efficiency, and the impact of the interaction term was greater than that of a single variable.
, Asra Pirkhezranian, Negar Sehati, Mohammad Reza Hosseinzadeh, Seyed Yahya Salehi-Lisar, Hans Sanderson
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-11; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15593-9

Abstract:
The present study aimed to investigate the persistence and existence of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and related dissipation products in the environment of Sardasht area, Iran. Three types of environmental samples including water, soil, and native local plant materials were collected and analyzed. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in the electron impact ionization mode has been developed for the separation, screening, identification, and qualification of chemicals after the sample preparation methods. The initial results revealed that no trace of related compounds or CWAs was detected in the soil and water samples. However, trace amounts of some degradation products of blistering agents like mustard gas (HD) and lewisite were found in a tree wood from a house subjected to chemical attack as well as in barley samples (a mixture of leaves and root) collected from an agricultural field in the area indicating chronic low exposure to the environment and people. In order to validate the applied extraction procedures, ethylene glycol was spiked to some of the samples including groundwater, surface soil, grape, and alfalfa plants. All the recoveries were in the range of 83.6–107.4% with the relative standard deviations varying from 4.9% to 12.4% (n = 3) successfully.
Yifang Sun,
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-15; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15278-3

Abstract:
China’s Loess Plateau Region (LPR) plays a significant role in national ecological security and development. Due to the advantage that relates environment with economy, eco-efficiency has become an important indicator of sustainable analysis. Using cross-level panel data for the period 2006–2017, this paper studied LPR’s static eco-efficiency and dynamic performance through a combined application of DEA super-efficient slack-based measure and Malmquist Productivity Index at multi-scales. LPR’s eco-efficiency was found to experience a slight increase during the study period. The value decreased roughly from east to west, with high eco-efficiency mainly distributed in provincial cities and resource-based cities. The decomposition of the Malmquist Index indicated that technological change contributed most to the improvement of eco-efficiency in the LPR. Besides, this paper explained the variations of eco-efficiency based on the integrated input-output indicators and TOBIT regression model. Economic scale, population density, government regulation, technical innovation, and openness degree were identified as positive influencing factors, while the structure of the industry and land-use intensity were found to have negative impacts on eco-efficiency. Resource-based cities were found to have stronger potentials for eco-efficiency improvement than non-resource-based cities. This paper revealed the characteristics of LPR’s eco-efficiency from three perspectives: a spatiotemporal perspective, a macro-meso-micro perspective, and a static-dynamic perspective. The findings of this study hold important implications for policy makers.
Yan Zhang, Linchao Zhang, Jialu Bao, Liantao Liu,
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-11; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15453-6

Abstract:
This study aimed to explore the mechanism of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) toxicity on the uterus and liver of mice during early pregnancy. Pregnant mice were given 0, 1, 5, 10, 20, and 40 mg/kg PFOA daily by gavage from gestational day (GD) 1–7 and sacrificed on GD 9. Subsequently, several toxicity parameters were evaluated, including the uterus and liver weights, liver and uterine indexes, histopathological changes of the liver and uterus, and levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) in the liver. We also determined the expressions of FAS, FASL, Bax, Bcl-2, and Caspase-3 in decidual cells by immunohistochemistry and the TUNEL assay to detect apoptosis uterine cells. The results showed that PFOA increased the liver weights and reduced the uterus index in a dose-dependent manner. With increasing doses of PFOA, the levels of SOD and GSH-Px were significantly decreased, and MDA increased substantially in liver tissue. 20 mg/kg and 40 mg/kg of PFOA caused more substantial harm to the uterus, thus a higher probability for congestion and resorption. The expression of FAS, FASL, Bax, and Caspase-3 in decidual cells of the uterus in the PFOA treatment groups significantly increased in a dose-dependent manner. The expression of Bcl-2 was downregulated, decreasing the Bcl-2/Bax ratio. At gestation day 9, the control group had significantly fewer apoptotic cells in the uterus and shallower staining than the 40 mg/kg PFOA group. The findings of this study suggest that oxidative damage may be one of the mechanisms by which PFOA induces liver toxicity, and a subsequent increase in uterine cell apoptosis may cause embryo loss or damage.
, , Yi Shiuan Chen
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-13; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15708-2

Abstract:
Under the threat of climate change, the issue of climate justice has gradually received international attention in recent years. Climate justice focuses on the unfair phenomena in various regions caused by climate change. At present, some countries are facing “double inequality,” that is, the reverse and separate distribution of “natural hazard” and “social resilience” and that of “risk” and “responsible input.” Therefore, this study constructed a research framework for evaluating climate justice. The framework reconstructed the indicator system and conducted verification analysis on the research issues of climate justice, including the spatial correlation between “natural hazard” and “social resilience” and that between “risk” and “responsible input,” and uses the “bivariate local indicators of spatial association” method to detect the regional current situation and test the justice after government’s resource investment. In this way, four-quadrant spatial characteristics were obtained (high-high, low-low, high-low, and low-high districts) to identify the areas with the characteristics of climate justice. This study used Taiwan as the research area. The results show that Taiwan currently has only 7 regions with “double inequality.” Therefore, only a small part of the region has “double inequality.” The results can be used as the basis for future government’s resource input and the allocation of climate responsibility.
Pauline Uring, , Stéphane C. Alfaro
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-15; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15274-7

Abstract:
Textile fibre degradation can be due to many factors. The most common cause is light exposure, but upon the lifespan of a textile, many other environmental factors are to be taken into account. This study focuses on the role of atmospheric compounds—both particulate and gaseous species—on natural textiles ageing, more specifically cotton, silk and wool. To achieve this, reference samples of textiles were exposed to contrasted environments (marine, urban and semi-rural museums and historical buildings) for natural ageing. These conditions were also reproduced in an experimental chamber dedicated to the study of the impact of airborne pollutants on heritage materials. Experimental ageing allowed to highlight degradation mechanisms for each fibre: SO2 and HCOOH cause the cleavage of cotton's glyosidic links and silk’s peptide bonds, while NO2 promotes the oxidation of the fibres. The most harmful pollutant towards cotton is NO2 since it causes both its oxidation and hydrolysis. The case of wool is more complicated: HCOOH provokes peptide link cleavage (similarly to silk) but this fibre is less sensitive to SO2 attacks than silk and even seems to be protected against future alterations after having been firstly exposed to this pollutant. In any case, this experimental study evidences that damages caused by gaseous pollutants are fostered by the presence of particles, regardless of the chemical composition of the particle coating.
Disha Chauhan, Muthuprasad Thiyaharajan, Anvita Pandey, Nidhi Singh, Vishal Singh, Sumit Sen,
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-18; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15713-5

Abstract:
Urban water management is a growing concern in India’s rapidly urbanizing cities. Population growth and climatic variability are exuberating the impact on surface and underground water supply. Understanding the causes and the extent of water vulnerability is required for developing effective strategies for water insecurities. This study attempts to assess the water vulnerability across different wards of a touristic city of Himalaya-Nainital using IPCC approach considering the three dimensions: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Seven indicators, mostly spatial, i.e. edaphic (aspect, elevation) and climatic (land surface temperature) besides some water infrastructural (distance to water distribution) and population, were considered for development of vulnerability index using Analytical Hierarchy Process for assigning weights. These indicators were simple to extract and easy to obtain and mostly available from secondary sources and were capable to account the variability at micro-level. Moreover, the current adaptation mechanisms for water security were also derived through conducting surveys by randomly selecting households across the wards. Staff House and Harinagar wards were the most vulnerable. The survey results that the adaptation mechanism should be managed at individual and organization level. Policy measures such as optimum use of water, grey water recycling, spring rejuvenation, rain water harvesting, and leakage proof infrastructure with intervention of new technologies, may be adopted and implemented for reducing the water vulnerability in the city along with the public participation. The appropriate measures for water vulnerability would further provide support for improving the facilities to the tourists in the city thereby improved economic opportunities to the locals.
Rania Ibrahim, Abdessamad El Hassni, Shahram Navaee-Ardeh,
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-13; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15525-7

Abstract:
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is one of the main contaminants found in biogas, which is one of the end products of the anaerobic biodegradation of proteins and other sulfur-containing compounds in solid waste. The presence of H2S is one of the factors limiting the valorization of biogas. To valorize biogas, H2S must be removed. This study evaluated the performance of a pilot-scale biotrickling filter system on H2S removal from landfill biogas. The biotrickling filter system, which was packed with stainless-steel pall rings and inoculated with an H2S-oxidizing consortium, was designed to process 1 SCFM of biogas, which corresponds to an empty bed residence time (EBRT) of 3.9 min and was used to determine the removal efficiency of a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide from landfill biogas. The biofiltration system consisted of two biotrickling filters connected in series. Results indicate that the biofiltration system reduced H2S concentration by 94 to 98% without reducing the methane concentration in the outlet biogas. The inlet concentration of hydrogen sulfide, supplied to the two-phase bioreactor, was in the range of 900 to 1500 ppmv, and the air flow rate was 0.1 CFM. The EBRTs of the two biotrickling filters were 3.9 and 0.9 min, respectively. Approximately 50 ± 15.7 ppmv of H2S gas was detected in the outlet gas. The maximum elimination capacity of the biotrickling filter system was found to be 24 g H2S·m−3·h−1, and the removal efficiency was 94 ± 4.4%. During the biological process, the performance of the biotrickling filter was not affected when the pH of the recirculated liquid decreased to 2–3. The overall performance of the biotrickling filter system was described using a modified Michaelis–Menten equation, and the Ks and Vm values for the biosystem were 34.7 ppmv and 20 g H2S·m−3·h−1, respectively.
Huiying Zhao, Zhichun Wang, Xiufen Li, , Chunliang Zhao,
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-9; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15640-5

Abstract:
In order to explore the characteristics of climate change in the future in the West Liao River Basin under the background of future climate change, this study analyzed the changes of the annual average temperature, annual precipitation, and annual evapotranspiration from 2021 to 2060 in the West Liao River Basin under the scenarios of RCP4.5 (low emission) and RCP8.5 (high emission) originated from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. The results show that (1) under the two different scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), the annual average temperature in the West Liao River Basin is 7.67 °C and 8.12 °C, respectively, and the temperature shows an upward trend; the mutation years of RCP4.5 are more than those of RCP8.5; the annual average temperature of RCP4.5 is controlled by periods of 22 years and 29 years, while RCP8.5 has only one main period of 29 years; the contribution rates of the first eigenvector variance of EOF are 97.12% and 96.64%, respectively, and the change types are the same. The sensitive areas of variation are in the southwest and western regions respectively. (2) The annual precipitation in the West Liao River Basin under the two scenarios are 815.78mm and 798.64mm, with tendency rates of −20.51/mm/10a and 17.26/mm/10a; the mutation years in the West Liao River Basin under scenario RCP4.5 are mostly occurred in the 2030s and 2040s, while those under scenario RCP8.5 are mostly occurred in 2040s and 2050s; under scenario RCP4.5, the change is mainly controlled by shorter periods, while under scenario RCP8.5, the change is controlled by two main longer periods of 19 years and 28 years. Under the two scenarios of RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, the cumulative contribution rates of the variance of the first three eigenvectors of the EOF in the West Liao River Basin are 42% and 90.23% respectively. The first eigenvector is consistent, and the second and third eigenvectors are the reverse type of South (East)-North (West). (3) The results show that the annual evapotranspiration in the West Liao River Basin under the scenarios of RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 is 597.79mm and 618.45mm, respectively, and the trend rates are 18.20/mm/10a and 4.48/mm/10a; under scenario RCP4.5, the change is controlled by periods of 23 years and 29 years, while under scenarios RCP8.5, the change is controlled by periods of 18 years and 28 years; the contribution rates of the first eigenvector variance of EOF are 91.05% and 89.51% respectively, and they are consistent distribution, and their sensitive areas are in the southeast and central regions respectively.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research pp 1-15; doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15632-5

Abstract:
Soil and litter play important roles in ecosystem nutrient storage and cycling, which both affect plant growth and ecosystem productivity. However, the potential linkages between soil and litter nutrient characteristics and nutrient characteristics of different plant functional groups (PFGs) remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) concentrations and stoichiometric ratios in different organs of three PFGs (trees, shrubs, and herbs), litter, and soil in nine natural secondary mixed forests in the Qinling Mountains. Leaves N and P concentrations and N:P ratios, varied from 15.6 to 18.97 mg·g−1, 1.86 to 2.01 mg·g−1, and 7.34 to 8.72, were highest at the organ level, whereas the C:N and C:P values were lowest in leaves. At the PFG level, N and P concentrations of herbaceous were 1.23 to 3.69 and 1.42 to 1.93 times higher than those in same organs of woody species, while the N:P ratio was significantly lower in herb leaves than in tree and shrub leaves. Tree organs had significantly higher C concentrations and C:N and C:P ratios than shrub and herb organs. The leaf N:P ratios of all PFGs were less than 14, suggesting that plant growth was limited by N in the study region. The nutrient contents and stoichiometric ratios in plant organs had different degrees of linkages with those in litter and soil. Soil nutrient characteristics mainly affected (23.9 to 56.4%) the nutrient characteristics of the different PFGs, and litter nutrient characteristics also had important contributions (4.5 to 49.7%) to the nutrient characteristics of PFGs, showing the following order: herbs > trees > shrubs. Our results indicate that the functional difference in plant organs resulted in diverse nutrient concentrations; and varied nutrient connections exist among different ecosystem components. Furthermore, nutrient characteristics of litter and soil can together affect the nutrient characteristics of PFGs.
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