Our global environment now consists of numerous natural and artificial metals.
Metals have played a critical role in industrial development and technological
advances. Most metals are not destroyed; indeed, they are accumulating at an
accelerated pace, due to the ever-growing demands of modern society. A fine
balance must be maintained between metals in the environment and human
health. It is with this view in mind that this book has been written to address
diverse issues surrounding heavy metals in the environment.
Sven Erik Jørgensen is professor of environmental chemistry at the Danish
University of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has doctorates in engineering from
Karlsruhe University and sciences from Copenhagen University. He has been
editor in chief of Ecological Modelling since the journal started in 1975. He is
chairman of the International Lake Environment Committee. He has edited or
authored 58 books in Danish and English and written 300 papers of which twothirds
have been published in peer-reviewed international journals.
This book is written with the objective of providing fundamental knowledge
concerning the biological and health effects of environmental pollutants on
living systems. The book emphasizes the chemical and biological characteristics
of major pollutants found in our environment and their impacts on the health
of living organisms, including not only humans and animals but also plants.
Because of the potential public health implications, the importance of toxic air pollutants in ambient
air has been recognized to some degree for many years. Efforts to “regulate” human activities
resulting in the production of ambient air pollutants probably date back many centuries, even as
the combustion of fossil fuels and air pollution from other organized human activities began having
a noticeable impact on the environment.
The most significant issues facing mankind today are related to the quality of our
environment. Past decisions did not always consider environmental factors as
critical elements. However, current decisions made daily should reflect the
importance of the environment. All environment-related issues are multidisciplinary,
ranging from science and engineering to social, economic, and regulatory
issues. Further, these issues are not related to any one region or country, but are
global in nature, requiring multidisciplinary, multiorganizational, and multinational
The specific problems associated with concrete and concreting in hot
environments have been recognised for some decades. This recognition has
manifested itself over the years at a few symposia and in hundreds of papers
where relevant research results and field observations were presented and
discussed. In other publications the practical conclusions from these available
data and experiences have been summarised in the form of guidelines for hot
Enzymes that function within plants, animals, and microorganisms are fundamental to
life, and their contributions to metabolic pathways and processes have been studied extensively.
For over 100 years there has been interest in what today is called ecological or
environmental enzymology. This aspect of enzymology originates from the work of
Woods, who, in 1899, wrote about the survival and function in soil of plant peroxidases
following their release from decaying plant roots.
On average, one ton of hazardous waste per person is generated annually
by industries in the United States. Before the Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act of 1984, hazardous wastes were improperly disposed of into
the environment without any regulation. As a result, remediation of these
contaminated sites and management of the ongoing hazardous waste sources
are two major tasks to be achieved by treatment technologies.
A large amount of information has accumulated on humic acids and
related substances, which warrants the creation of an independent
science of humic compounds. Two different concepts have emerged
from the maze of data, one claiming humic compounds to be
operational or fake compounds, produced by the analytical extraction
procedures, and the other considering them to be natural compounds
occurring in soils, rivers, lakes, oceans and their sediments.
Evidence grows daily of the rapid changes in climate due to human activities and
their impact on plants and animals. Plant function is inextricably linked to climate
and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. On the shortest and smallest scales
the climate affects the plant’s immediate environment and thus directly inﬂuences
physiological processes. On longer and larger time and space scales climate inﬂu-
ences species distribution and community composition and determines what crops
can be viably produced in managed agricultural, horticultural and forestry ecosys-
This volume aims at providing a coherent presentation of recent developments and
understanding of heavy metal reactivity in soils. Such an understanding is necessary
in addressing heavy metals concerns in the environment. The implicit framework of
multiple reactivity acknowledges the widely known role played by the various
colloidal surface functional groups in concomitant reactions. This overarching frame
of reference allows unification between molecular structure-reactivity relationships
at one scale and transport processes at the other....
When I began my professional career at the University of
Nebraska–Lincoln in 1979, I intended to direct my research and
outreach program at the emerging field of climate impact science.
It was fortuitous that a large portion of the United States, including
the Great Plains, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest, had
recently come out of an intense but somewhat short-lived drought
The idea for this book began over ten years ago through conversations with Clive
Edwards, editor of an agroecosystems series of books. It was clear to both of us
that the human intersect with the environment is mediated by social forces that are
international, national, and local. But at that point there was little research to
demonstrate the nature of the relationships between human institutions and ecosystems.
Several years ago the Open University in Heerlen and Maastricht
University decided to launch a course on ‘Climate and the Environment’,
with a diverse team of authors. Both natural and social scientists, from
several regions of the world, contributed to this book. Initially, the book was
intended as a textbook within this course for students of Environmental
Sciences programmes at the Open University and Maastricht University. As
the book developed it became clear that it would be an excellent source to
anyone professionally engaged in the wide area of the enhance greenhouse
Twenty years ago, world leaders gathered at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and signed the
first global agreement to tackle climate change. At the time, the impacts of climate change on
communities and economies were just beginning to be understood, and the role of the private
sector in responding to these challenges was only just emerging. But two decades later, climate
change is no longer a distant threat looming on the horizon; it has emerged as arguably the
greatest global challenge of our time.
Carbon offsets are an innovative tool for allowing companies and individuals to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions beyond what they can easily achieve on their own. In the past
two years, interest in carbon offsets has grown dramatically as companies and concerned
consumers have sought ways to help mitigate climate change. However, the global
market for voluntary carbon offsets is currently unregulated, which has led to growing
concerns about whether buyers are really getting what they are paying for.
In 1992, the first United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development, popularly known as the Rio Earth Summit, was convened
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to address the state of the environment and
sustainable development. The Earth Summit yielded several important
agreements including “Agenda 21”, a plan of action adopted by over
178 governments to address human impacts on the environment at
local, national and global levels, and key treaties on climate change,
desertification and biodiversity.
Understanding the origins of humanity has long been one of our foremost
intellectual pursuits, and one that greatly interests the general public as
evidenced by museum attendance and by numerous media productions
and general interest publications. Progress toward an improved understanding
of our heritage is a continuing challenge for the scientific community, requiring
advances in a range of disciplines that include archaeology, anthropology, geology,
biology, oceanography, and genetics, and particularly research advances in
areas where two or more of these fields intersect.