Sustainability

Journal Information
EISSN: 20711050
Published by: MDPI
Total articles ≅ 54,929

Latest articles in this journal

Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912141

Abstract:
Rapid urbanization has led to the exploitation of water quality and quantity. Urban growth and its activities result in the pollution of freshwater by generating different types of waste. Root Zone Technology (RZT) has successfully been adopted and employed in several countries to promote sustainable development. RZT paves the way for the incorporation of automated dynamics into an artificial soil ecosystem. This study’s primary goal was to develop a water treatment process for industrial effluents naturally and effectively using RZT. The technology adopts layers of coarse and fine aggregates, charcoal, sand, and planted filter beds consisting of compost media to treat effluents; the system is easily installed, low-maintenance, and has low operational costs. Selected plants achieved a result of 50–80% pollutant removal. RZT reduces the characteristics of effluents, such as chemical oxygen demand, biochemical oxygen demand, pH, color, TSS, TDS, BOD, COD, etc., by a more significant amount. Further studies of more plant species should be performed to improve this technology. Soil tests will also be an excellent option for understanding the concepts of reed absorption mechanisms. In addition, incorporating modeling in agricultural systems will be beneficial for future studies.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912142

Abstract:
Health China 2030 calls for health equity. The strict household registration system, known as Hukou, results in an uneven distribution of social resources between urban and rural China. Higher education can promote social mobility and narrow health inequality. Health literacy is a significant indicator to predict health status. Drawing on national representative data recently collected, this study examines the impact of higher education on health literacy in urban and rural China. Propensity score matching was used to address potential selection bias. Ordinary least squares regressions and Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition techniques were conducted to explore urban-rural disparities in health benefits from higher education. The findings indicate that there are existing gaps in health literacy, higher education attainment, household income, and healthcare coverage between urban and rural China. Higher education attainment can significantly promote health literacy both in urban and rural China, after controlling for a series of demographic, socio-economic, and individual characteristics. Moreover, this study highlights a negative heterogenous treatment effect pattern: those who are less likely to attend college can obtain more health benefits from higher education than those who are more likely to be admitted into college. Public education and health programs, policies, and goals should be further optimized to promote integrated development in urban and rural China.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912140

Abstract:
This study proposes a participation scale of people in the national new rural program, namely the levels of know, discuss, implement, and monitor identifies participation and their determinants by employing Tobit regression models. From a dataset of 508 household respondents collected in seven regions across countries, we find that the highest level of participation is still at the level of know, while the lowest level is at the level of monitor. Additionally, in some areas of the program, people are mobilized to participate in certain activities, even though they do not have a good understanding nor thoroughly discuss how to carry it out. Considering the findings, we recommend increasing the active participation of the people in the bottom-up approach, associated with the practical needs of the people and the program’s sustainability.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912135

Abstract:
Landslides have significant impacts on the stress and deformation of existing tunnel that can damage the existing tunnel lining structures and thus affect normal traffic operation. It is of importance to study the mechanical mechanism of tunnel–landslide support systems. However, there are few studies on the mechanical mechanism of existing tunnels in landslide areas. The combination of medium-diameter anti-slide piles (300 mm ≤ D ≤ 800 mm) overcomes the disadvantages of the complex construction process and higher site requirements for large-diameter anti-slide piles (D > 800 mm) and the disadvantage of lower support with micro anti-slide piles (D < 300 mm). In this study, considering the influence of landslides on existing tunnel deformation, a new type of medium-diameter anti-slide pile reinforcement system for existing tunnels is proposed based on the Nanping Tunnel project. In order to study the influence of pile spacing on tunnel support, first, the maximum pile spacing of 12.5 d (25 cm) was calculated by the mathematical geometric method, and then, three physical models were established for experimental comparison and analysis, including three different spacing cases of 7.5 d (15 cm), 10 d (20 cm), and 12.5 d (25 cm). In addition, numerical simulation was used to analyze the landslide and tunnel deformation under three pile spacing working conditions. The following conclusions are reached: As the distance between the combined pile increased, the deformation of the pile body and the tunnel lining structure also increased gradually, and the earth pressure and bending moments acting on the tunnel and the pile body increased progressively. However, when the pile spacing was increased from 7.5 d to 10 d, the increase in tunnel bending moment (52.9% increase in tunnel lining moment) was much more significant than when the pile spacing was increased from 10 d to 12.5 d (28.1% increase in tunnel lining moment). The results showed that if the landslide thrust is small, the pile spacing can be increased to 12.5 d or more in the design of combined medium-diameter anti-slide piles; if the landslide thrust is large, the pile spacing should be reduced to 7.5 d or less. Whether the landslide’s thrust is large or small, the combined medium-diameter anti-slide piles with a 10 d pile spacing are less cost-effective for landslide control. The new combined medium-diameter anti-slide piles have high loading capacity and stability, which can further improve the strength of existing tunnels.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912139

Abstract:
In this paper, we studied the territorial, technical, and economic conditions for the potential installation of a wave energy converter plant (WEC) connected to the small power grid of the island of El Hierro (Canary Islands). To define the best location, the non-directional gross energy potential at the selected points was computed from long series of data of deep-water waves, propagated up to the coast using coefficients of refraction and shoaling calculated for the bathymetry of the island. The study concludes that the best location is the northeastern coast of the island “Llanos Blancos”, where the gross energy potential for the non-directional oscillating water column (OWC) plant used as a reference is 265.40 MWh/m per year. The methodology proposed in the work uses light computing means and affordable data series and is easily extrapolated by industry practitioners to other regions, particularly oceanic insular regions subject to waves potentially from any direction.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912138

Abstract:
Achieving optimal levels of indoor thermal comfort in a warm, humid climate continues to pose a challenge to building occupants in such climatic regions. Buildings are either being retrofitted or designed differently to cater to thermal comfort. As a result, a variety of tactics have been deployed to guarantee optimal thermal comfort for occupants. Some scholars have highlighted the salient contributions of various types of construction materials toward the delivery of different housing types which perform differently under a diverse range of climatic conditions. A plethora of studies suggesting better indoor thermal comfort performance of traditional buildings as compared to contemporary dwellings due to various reasons have been observed. However, limited studies have sought to investigate this suggestion within warm, humid climatic regions. As such, this study engages in an evaluation of indoor thermal comfort qualities of traditional and modern buildings during the dry season with the goal of developing design guidelines for a thermally pleasant environment in a town, Okigwe, which is situated in a warm, humid climatic region in Southeastern Nigeria. Data were collected utilizing a field measurement technique. Throughout the survey period, variables of the indoor environment such as relative humidity and air temperature were recorded concurrently in nine selected buildings, two traditional and seven modern buildings. The fluctuations and differences in relative humidity and air temperature between the two building types were investigated using Z-test statistical techniques. The study’s results revealed that the contemporary structures’ indoor air temperature (29.4 °C) was 0.6 °C higher than traditional buildings’ indoor air temperature (28.8 °C). Therefore, the study recommends that architects and planners should make concerted efforts to integrate methods of passive design into the provision of a comfortable indoor thermal environment rather than relying solely on active design strategies, which whilst lacking in traditional buildings, nonetheless did not prevent such buildings from recording lower air temperature readings compared to modern buildings.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912131

Abstract:
With the continuous increase in motor vehicle ownership in recent times, traditional transportation has been unable to meet people’s travel needs. Research on autonomous driving technology will help solve a series of problems associated with driving, such as traffic accidents, traffic congestion, energy consumption, and environmental pollution. In this paper, an improved artificial potential field method is proposed to complete the planning of automatic driving trajectories by adding the distance adjustment factor, dynamic road repulsive field, velocity repulsive field, and acceleration repulsive field. The invasive weed algorithm is introduced to solve the defects associated with the traditional artificial potential field method. The prediction model—for which corresponding constraint variables were set and an optimal objective function was established to build up the MPC model controller to achieve the goal of trajectory tracking—was linearized and discretized from a vehicle dynamics model. Finally, co-simulation based on MATLAB and CarSim was used to verify the practicability of the model.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912137

Abstract:
Soil erosion results in land degradation and desertification in northern China. The Xilingol League of Inner Mongolia is an important part of the “Two Barriers and Three Belts”, and has been given the main function of “a windbreak and sand-fixing belt of northern China”. Accurate measuring of soil erosion moduli, analyzing the differences in soil erosion moduli across different periods and regions, are the basis for carrying out soil conservation and evaluating the effectiveness of ecological governance. Some radioisotopes are good environmental tracers because they are closely combined with the fine particles of the surface soil and are only affected by the mechanical movement of soil particles. In this paper, Taipusi Banner and Zhengxiangbai Banner, which are in the farming–pastoral ecotone in northern China, were selected as the study area. A regional reference inventory, that is, the activity of 137Cs and 210Pbex in the sample without any soil erosion, accumulation/deposition, or any kind of manual disturbances, as well as the soil erosion moduli, were determined by 137Cs and 210Pbex composite tracing technology and multiple lines of evidence. The results are as follows: (1) The regional 137Cs reference inventory was 1928 Bq∙m−2, and the regional 210Pbex reference inventory was 10,041 Bq∙m−2. (2) On a 50-year time scale, the soil erosion moduli in the study area ranged from 140 t∙km−2∙a−1 to 1030 t∙km−2∙a−1; on a 100-year scale, the soil erosion moduli in the study area ranged from 35 t∙km−2∙a−1 to 2637 t∙km−2∙a−1; the entire study area was in a lightly eroded state. (3) Compared with two periods before and after the 1970s, the southern parts (cultivated land and grassland) experienced an increasing trend in soil erosion moduli due to land reclamation, grassland grazing, and other activities. Due to weakening wind and increasing precipitation, soil erosion moduli in the northern parts (southern margin of the Hunshandake Sandy Land) slowed down. The study also discussed the uncertainty and application potential of isotope-tracing technology in sandy land of typical grasslands in northern China.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912136

Abstract:
This study explores how school buildings can be exploited more efficiently in the future, since, at present, they remain unused for a substantial amount of time. One possibility to tackle this inefficiency, is to involve the local community more closely in usage of its school building. First, a theoretical analysis was carried out to increase the fundamental understanding of the underlying dynamics related to opening school infrastructure to the local community. Second, focus group discussions were organized to research whether involving the local community in the school building was compatible with educational needs. The first highlighted that more extensive building usage could lead to positive social, environmental, educational and economic benefits. In the second, educational experts stressed that they wanted to adopt more innovative and flexible forms of teaching in the future, such as team teaching. Technical directors expressed concerns on safety issues if the local community is to be more closely involved. In the final step, all findings were translated into their technical consequences. From this analysis, it could be concluded that a school building with a high degree of short-term flexibility was the preferred option to reconcile societal and educational needs.
Published: 25 September 2022
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912134

Abstract:
In bridge structural health monitoring systems, an accurate baseline model is particularly important for identifying subsequent structural damage. Environmental and operational loads cause nonstationarity in the strain monitoring data of urban girder bridges. Such nonstationary monitoring data can mask damage and reduce the accuracy of the established baseline model. To address this problem, a steady-state data baseline model for bridges is proposed. First, for observable effects such as ambient temperature, a directional projection decoupling method for strain monitoring data is proposed, which can reduce the nonstationary effect of ambient temperature, and the effectiveness of this method is proven using equations. Second, for unobservable effects such as traffic load, a k-means clustering method for steady state of traffic loads is proposed; using this method, which can divide the steady and nonsteady states of traffic loads and reduce the nonstationary effect of traffic loads on strain monitoring data, a steady-state baseline model is established. Finally, the effectiveness of the steady-state baseline model is verified using an actual bridge. The results show that the proposed baseline model can reduce the error caused by nonstationary effects, improve the modelling accuracy, and provide useful information for subsequent damage identification.
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