Volume XXI |

Usage of zeolite raw materials as natural barrier for conservation of nuclear waste

Abstract: The presence of manganese oxides and hydroxides forming thin crusts up to 4-5 mm thick, deposits and impregnations with black color was found in the pink-reddish clinoptilolite zeolites from the field works in the area of the Most deposit, Bulgaria. The aim of the present research is to study the zeolite raw material in the area of the deposit in order to determine the manganese mineralization. The presence of certain microporous minerals, referred to as octahedral molecular sieves (OMS) and octahedral layered materials (OL) will increase the value of the zeolite raw material from the deposit in order to use them as a sorbent of heavy metals and radionuclides to solve some ecological problems.

Volume XXI |

Associated impact of the COVID-19 induced lockdown on air quality of Kolkata Metropolitan Area (India)

Abstract: As a pandemic, COVID 19 spread worldwide in early 2020. Primarily densely populated countries had remained vulnerable due to this biological hazard. Many people were forced to stay home owing to nature of the disease and no respite. A nationwide lockdown was implemented in India for 29 days (March 24th to April 21st) of 2020 during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the nationwide lockdown, industries, transport, and other commercial activities were suspended, except for necessary services. During the entire pandemic situation, an affirmative impact was observed as the air quality was reported to have improved worldwide. The complete economic lockdown to check COVID-19, brought unforeseen relief from severe condition of air quality. An apparent, reduction in level of PM2.5 and Air Quality Index (AQI) was experienced over Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
Present work explores the various metrics of air pollution in Kolkata, West Bengal, India (imposed as a result of containment measure for COVID-19). The polluting parameters (e.g., PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NO2, CO, O3, and NH3) were chosen for seven monitoring stations (Ballygunge, Fort William, Victoria, Bidhannagar, Jadavpur, Rabindra Bharati, Rabindra Sarabar), which are spread across the metropolitan area of Kolkata. National Air Quality Index (NAQI) has been used to show pre-and during-lockdown air quality spatial patterns. The findings showed major changes in air quality throughout the lockdown period. The highest reduction in pollutants emission was observed for: PM10 (-60.82%), PM2.5 (-45.05%) and NO2 (-62.27%), followed by NH3 (-32.12%) and SO2 (-32.00%), CO (-47.46%), O3 (15.10%). During the lockdown, the NAQI value was reduced by 52.93% in the study area.

Volume XX |

Identifying gaps in conservation and habitat management – Natura 2000 site Târnovu Mare-Latorița

Abstract: The study aims to identify the main gaps in conservation and proposes objectives in the management of protected areas. The physical characteristics of the protected area, the land use, the identification of current pressures and future threats are analyzed. Geomorphological and geological analysis is the component that highlights the correlations between relief and the distribution of habitat types. Among the features that make it unique in the Carpathian landscape, the protected area consists of a very rugged calcareous ridge with calcareous rocky slopes and chasmophytic vegetation, alpine calcareous grass-lands and a habitat of community interest consisting of forests with Larix decidua (the largest larch area in the Romanian Carpathians). The site is also home to a viable population of large carnivores (Ursus arctos, Canis lupus, Lynx lynx).
The main current pressures that are also mostly identified as future threats to the site are intensive grazing, the extension of access roads, poaching, creating of conditions for invasive species, reduction of habitat connectivity due to anthropogenic causes, antagonism with domestic animals, and off-road driving of the motor vehicles.
Future threats are anticipated due to growing forestry activities, with a negative impact especially by complete deforestation, which is favoured by the restitutio in integrum of forests to the private domain without any conditionality for those that lie within the protected natural areas.
Intensive grazing leads to grassland degradation (impoverishment in species, changes in plant association). Among the proposed conservation measures, we mention: strict control of grazing livestock and grazing period, payment of compensation for private forests with high conservation value, limitation of buildings and access roads in the high areas.

Volume XX |

Comparative analysis on the role of vegetation in controlling the potential effects of gas stations on residential areas

Abstract: When considering human activities with potential negative effects in urban environment, gas stations are a hot topic. For over one century their presence increased associated to the number of vehicles used in cities, and frequently they are associated with residential areas – where the highest number of users are present. Acknowledging their potential effects, gas stations are a response to a high demand in cities – that of mobility. This is especially relevant in Central and Eastern Europe cities (such as Bucharest), which continue to be dominated by cars and alternative models of transportation are present in lower proportions. In the present study we started from extracting with field observations the present characteristics of gas stations in Sector 4 of Bucharest. We applied 31 field observation sheets using Survey 123, containing information about their emplacement and accessibility, the presence and structure of vegetation, etc. We compared results to those of 120 questionnaires applied to the population. Our results revealed the important role the presence of vegetation has on reducing the negative effects of gas stations (both observed and perceived), the differences between populations living in the proximity of gas stations and other residents, and also the fulfilment of legal requirements. We consider our results to be extremely relevant and useful instruments for urban planners and decision-makers in their efforts of improving the quality of life and wellbeing in cities.

Volume XX |

Role of media in managing environmental conflicts in Rovinari Thermal Power Plant area, Gorj County, Romania

Abstract: Thermal power plants currently contribute significantly to global energy production. However, they cause a series of environmental conflicts through pollution and environmental degradation processes. In this context, people, as well as a number of environmental organisations, NGOs, and mainly the media play an important role in managing these conflicts. In this study, we aimed to analyse how the media can contribute to the management of environmental conflicts generated by the Rovinari thermal power plant in Gorj County, Romania. Its impact is highly visible in the village of Rogojel (Farcăşeşti township), which is located in the immediate vicinity of the thermal power plant, owing to the noise produced by the conveyor belts and excavators, as well as the air pollution generated by the coal dust. Residents have submitted a series of complaints to the Environmental Guard, the Government, and the European Commission. As a method of investigating the situation, both local and national media, which have become a real agora where citizens express their dissatisfaction were chosen. Ziare.com was chosen as a news archive, where 20 volunteers read 24 news articles. When asked if the article reflects concerns regarding the environment, a total of 276 affirmative answers were obtained. In addition, when volunteers were asked how much violence and tension does the article convey, a total of 136 responses were obtained for maximum violence and 160 for high violence. The Cronbach Alpha index had values of 0.73 and 0.66 in the first and second cases, respectively. The articles and strong words of the volunteers were analysed using NVivo software to calculate their frequency and the degree of correct results. Currently, the situation is still open to debate, beyond the unlikely solution of relocating the entire locality or closing the thermal power plant.