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Abstract

Forest stand decomposition of the Silesian Beskids which is followed by the tree cutting has been observed since the beginning of the 21st century. Changes in forest management due to the introduction of heavy machines for forest work mainly for skidding have been observed in the Silesian Beskids for the last decade. The paper presents results of a three-year investigation of erosion gullies forming in mountain forest after the skidding performed with use of heavy equipment. In the Wilczy Potok catchment comprising an area of above 100 ha 40 gullies were identified. The measurement of the length and depth of gullies showed that the total volume of soil and rock material removed from the catchment area due to erosion accelerated by skidding exceeded 9 000 m3. The year erosion rate for deep gullies was found to be 10%. The presented results show that necessary protective actions and preventive measures should be taken to mitigate the soil degradation processes.
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to present characteristics, toxicity and environmental behavior of nanoparticles (NPs) (silver, copper, gold, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxide) that most frequently occur in consumer products. In addition, NPs are addressed as the new aquatic environmental pollutant of the 21st century. NPs are adsorbed onto particles in the aquatic systems (clay minerals, fulvic and humic acids), or they can adsorb environmental pollutants (heavy metal ions, organic compounds). Nanosilver (nAg) is released from consumer products into the aquatic environment. It can threaten aquatic organisms with high toxicity. Interestingly, copper nanoparticles (Cu-NPs) demonstrate higher toxicity to bacteria and aquatic microorganisms than those of nanosilver nAg. Their small size and reactivity can cause penetration into the tissues and interfere with the metabolic systems of living organisms and bacterial biogeochemical cycles. The behavior of NPs is not fully recognized. Nevertheless, it is known that NPs can agglomerate, bind with ions (chlorides, sulphates, phosphates) or organic compounds. They can also be bound or immobilized by slurry. The NPs behavior depends on process conditions, i.e. pH, ionic strength, temperature and presence of other chemical compounds. It is unknown how NPs behave in the aquatic environment. Therefore, the research on this problem should be carried out under different process conditions. As for the toxicity, it is important to understand where the differences in the research results come from. As NPs have an impact on not only aquatic organisms but also human health and life, it is necessary to recognize their toxic doses and know standards/regulations that determine the permissible concentrations of NPs in the environment.
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Abstract

Three different types of Fe(II)-modified natural zeolites were tested as supports in continuous-flow columns for the treatment of Cr(VI) contaminated water. The natural zeolites chosen as support were commercially available Zeosand (80% clinoptilolite), ATZ (79% phillipsite/chabazite), and ZS-55RW (90% Chabazite). All the examined modified zeolites turned out active for hexavalent chromium abatement, lowering its concentration below the European regulation level, even at relatively high flow rates (40 mL/h, linear velocity 15 cm/h). Zeosand, having a broader pH range of stability, was found to be the best one in terms of both Fe(II) uptake (0.54 wt%) and Cr removal (90 mg Cr/Kg zeolite).
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Abstract

Rivers are considered as one of the main resources of water supply for various applications such as agricultural, drinking and industrial purposes. Also, these resources are used as a place for discharge of sewages, industrial wastewater and agricultural drainage. Regarding the fact that each river has a certain capacity for acceptance of pollutants, nowadays qualitative and environmental investigations of these resources are proposed. In this study, qualitative investigation of the Talar river was done according to Oregon Water Quality Index (OWQI), National Sanitation Foundation Water Quality Index (NSFWQI) and Wilcox indicators during 2011–2012 years at upstream, midstream and downstream of the river in two periods of wet and dry seasons. According to the results of OWQI, all of the values at 3 stations and both periods are placed at very bad quality category and the water is not acceptable for drinking purposes. According to NSFWQI, the best condition was related to the upstream station at wet season period (58, medium quality) and the worst condition was related to the downstream in wet season period (46, very bad quality). Also the results of Wilcox showed that in both periods of wet season and dry season, the water quality is getting better from upstream station to the downstream station, and according to the index classification, the downstream water quality has shown good quality and it is suitable for agriculture.
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Abstract

In this work, response surface optimization strategy was employed to enhance the biodegradation process of fresh palm oil mill effluent (POME) by Aspergillus niger and Trichoderma virens. A central composite design (CCD) combined with response surface methodology (RSM) were employed to study the effects of three independent variables: inoculum size (%), agitation rate (rpm) and temperature (°C) on the biodegradation processes and production of biosolids enriched with fungal biomass protein. The results achieved using A. niger were compared to those obtained using T. virens. The optimal conditions for the biodegradation processes in terms of total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity, chemical oxygen demand (COD), specific resistance to filtration (SRF) and production of biosolids enriched with fungal biomass protein in fresh POME treated with A. niger and T. virens have been predicted by multiple response optimization and verified experimentally at 19% (v/v) inoculum size, 100 rpm, 30.2°C and 5% (v/v) inoculum size, 100 rpm, 33.3°C respectively. As disclosed by ANOVA and response surface plots, the effects of inoculum size and agitation rate on fresh POME treatment process by both fungal strains were significant.
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Abstract

The elemental composition and morphology of aerobic granules in sequencing batch reactors (GSBRs) treating high-nitrogen digester supernatant was investigated. The investigation particularly focused on the effect of the number of anoxic phases (one vs. two) in the cycle and the dose of external organics loading (450 mg COD/(L·cycle) vs. 540 mg COD/(L·cycle)) on granule characteristics. Granules in all reactors were formed of many single cells of rod and spherical bacteria. Addition of the second anoxic phase in the GSBR cycle resulted in enhanced settling properties of the granules of about 10.6% and at the same time decreased granule diameter of about 19.4%. The study showed that external organics loading was the deciding factor in the elemental composition of biomass. At 540 mg COD/(L·cycle) the granules contained more weight% of C, S and N, suggesting more volatile material in the granule structure. At lower organics loadings granules had the higher diameter of granules which limited the diffusion of oxygen and favored precipitation of mineral compounds in the granule interior. In this biomass higher content of Mg, P and Ca, was observed.
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Abstract

The last study on n-alkanes in surface sediments of Taihu Lake was in 2000, only 13 surface sediment samples were analysed, in order to have a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of n-alkanes in the surface sediments of Taihu Lake, 41 surface sediment samples were analyzed by GC-MS. C10 to C37 were detected, the total concentrations of n-alkanes ranged from 2109 ng g−1 to 9096 ng g−1 (dry weight). There was strong odd carbon predominance in long chain n-alkanes and even carbon predominance in short chain n-alkanes. When this finding was combined with the analysis results of wax n-alkanes (WaxCn), carbon preference index (CPI), unresolved complex mixture (UCM), hopanes and steranes, it was considered that the long chain n-alkanes were mainly from terrigenous higher plants, and that the short chain n-alkanes mainly originated from bacteria and algae in the lake, compared with previous studies, there were no obvious anthropogenic petrogenic inputs. Terrestrial and aquatic hydrocarbons ratio (TAR) and C21−/C25+ indicated that terrigenous input was higher than aquatic sources and the nearshore n-alkanes were mainly from land-derived sources. Moreover, the distribution of short chain n-alkanes presented a relatively uniform pattern, while the long chain n-alkanes presented a trend that concentrations dropped from nearshore places to the middle of lake.
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Abstract

This study applied a modified OxiTop® system to determine the oxygen uptake rate during a 2-day respiration test of selected composting materials at different moisture contents, air-filled porosities and composition of composting mixtures. The modification of the OxiTop® respirometer included replacement and adjustment of a glass vessel (i.e. a 1.9-L glass vessel with wide mouth was used instead of a standard 1-L glass bottle, additionally the twist-off vessel lid was adjusted to attach the measuring head) and application of a closed steel mesh cylinder of 5 cm in diameter and 10 cm in height with the open surface area of the mesh of approximately 56.2%. This modification allowed obtaining different bulk densities (and thus air-porosities) of the investigated composting materials in laboratory composting studies. The test was performed for apple pomace and composting mixtures of apple pomace with wood chips at ratios of 1:0.5, 1:1, 1:1.5 (d.w), moisture contents of 60%, 65% and 75% and air-filled porosities ranging from 46% to 1%. Due to diverse biodegradability of the investigated apple pomace and composting mixtures this test allows for the determination of the effects of different air-porosities (due to compaction in a pile) on the oxygen uptake rate for mixtures with a fixed ratio of a bulking agent. The described method allows for laboratory determination of the effects of moisture content and compaction on biodegradation dynamics during composting.
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Abstract

Ultrasonic disintegration, as a method of sludge pre-treatment (before the stabilization process), causes changes in their physicochemical characteristics. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of ultrasonic disintegration conditions (sonication) on the changes in the physicochemical characteristics of sonicated sludge, i.e. an increase in the content of organic substances in the supernatant, sludge dewaterability and flocs structure. Thickened and non-thickened excess sludge from the municipal wastewater treatment plant in Gliwice was disintegrated. The process was conducted, using a high-power disintegrator equipped with a lenticular horn. In order to determine the most favorable conditions, the sewage sludge was sonicated at a wave frequency of f=25 kHz (as a function of time), with a different samples volume (V1=0.5 and V2=1 L) and emitter position of 1 and the 2.5 cm from the bottom of the chamber in which the process was conducted. The disintegration of sewage sludge was carried out with a specific energy density (EV) in the range from 10 to 30 kWh/m3. The evaluation of the disintegration effects was based on changes in the physicochemical characteristics of the sludge and/or supernatant at the end of the process, expressed by commonly used and author’s disintegration indicators. The best results were obtained for the sludge disintegrated with a volume of V2=1 L and the emitter position of 2.5 cm from the bottom of the chamber. The study confirms that in various operating conditions of ultrasonic disintegration, there is a possibility for obtaining different effects which may influence the course of anaerobic stabilization and quality of the final products of the process.
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Abstract

The paper deals with the problem of the determination of the effects of temperature on the efficiency of the nitrification process of industrial wastewater, as well as its toxicity to the test organisms. The study on nitrification efficiency was performed using wastewater from one of Polish chemical factories. The chemical factory produces nitrogen fertilizers and various chemicals. The investigated wastewater was taken from the influent to the industrial mechanical-biological wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The WWTP guaranteed high removal efficiency of organic compounds defined as chemical oxygen demand (COD) but periodical failure of nitrification performance was noted in last years of the WWTP operation. The research aim was to establish the cause of recurring failures of nitrification process in the above mentioned WWTP. The tested wastewater was not acutely toxic to activated sludge microorganisms. However, the wastewater was genotoxic to activated sludge microorganisms and the genotoxicity was greater in winter than in spring time. Analysis of almost 3 years’ period of the WWTP operation data and laboratory batch tests showed that activated sludge from the WWTP under study is very sensitive to temperature changes and the nitrification efficiency collapses rapidly under 16°C. Additionally, it was calculated that in order to provide the stable nitrification, in winter period the sludge age (SRT) in the WWTP should be higher than 35 days.
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Abstract

In the study the comparative analysis of test results of drainage of municipal wastewater sludge was conducted with the use of flocculant Praestol 855BS and the mixture of flocculant Praestol 855BS 50% + orange essential oil 50%, as the reagents supporting this process. It was also attempted to reduce unpleasant smells exuding from the drained sludge. The process of drainage of municipal wastewater sludge was conducted in the laboratory setting centrifuge of MPW-350 type. The variable independent parameters were centrifugation time, centrifugation speed, dosage of flocculant Praestol 855BS as well as dosage of mixture in the proportion of flocculant Praestol 855BS (50%) + orange essential oil (50%). The following parameters were subject to assessment: water content in the sludge, dry mass content in the reflux as well as time of maintenance of the oil’s smell in the sludge. The conducted tests demonstrated that the orange essential oil has an impact on drop in resultant quality parameters of the drainage process of municipal wastewater sludge. Batching of the orange essential oil has an impact on considerable reduction of odours exuding from drained wastewater sludge, and thus on improvement of work conditions connected with operation of centrifugal separators. Bearing in mind both the efficient drainage process of wastewater sludge as well as simultaneous reduction of unpleasant smells exuding from the sludge during this process it is assumed and recommended to simultaneously apply both reagents, that is flocculant Praestol 855BS (50%) and orange essential oil, also in the volume of 50%.
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Abstract

This article provides an overview of the approach taken by the International Court of Justice and its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice, to questions of municipal law. Beginning with an outline of the theoretical framework, it discusses the conventional position that domestic law is a factual issue for the Court, before considering the ways in which the two Courts have utilised municipal law. It also considers to what extent the Court employs domestic law in ascertaining international legal rules.
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Abstract

This article explores the legal principles that govern the interpretation of “secondary instruments” in international law. A “secondary instrument” under international law is, for the purposes of this article, a written document adopted by a body empowered by a treaty to take action with respect to the treaty, but which is not itself a treaty. Such instruments find increasing application in international law. The article specifically examines the interpretation of secondary instruments arising in five settings in international practice: the United Nations Security Council, the International Maritime Organization, the International Seabed Authority, the International Whaling Commission, and conferences/meetings of the parties under multilateral treaties. This selection of practice will serve to illustrate principles of interpretation across a range of international institutional settings for the purpose of determining the rights and obligations of state-parties to a treaty regime.
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Abstract

In the 21st century ageism is becoming the most widely spread phenomenon. It has become so extensive that presently many more seniors in Europe are exposed to ageism than other people to sexism or racism. Contrary to other vulnerable groups, the elderly do not enjoy any binding instrument that could protect them and their dignity against ageism in the same way that women and racial groups are protected against sexism and racism. Unfortunately, the UN General Assembly resolution, supposed to be a first step to drawing up such a convention, was adopted with a significant number of abstentions, leaving the fate of a potential treaty on the rights of the elderly uncertain. On the other hand, in 2014 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a new recommendation, and in June 2015 members of the Organisation of American States adopted a treaty protecting the elder’s rights. Taking into account these new circumstances, the idea underlying this article is to investigate the ability of international instruments to limit ageism and protect older persons’ dignity, as well as to indicate existing gaps.
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Abstract

This article examines the recent developments in the prosecution of international crimes committed in the Palestinian Territory, focusing mainly on the role of the International Criminal Court. The author analyses the Palestinian accession to the Rome Statute and the declarations issued pursuant to Art. 12(3) in order to verify whether it is possible to bring justice to Palestine through the prosecution of atrocities committed by both parties. The article pays great attention to the most recent events, such as the Prosecutor’s report on the Mavi Marmara incident and the subsequent decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber. Issues related to the Palestinian statehood are taken in account in relation to the interplay between international criminal justice and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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Abstract

This article is dedicated to the publications of the Russian legal scholars on the annexation of Crimea in 2014 or, according to the Russian version of the events “Crimea’s reunification with Russia.” Based on the factual circumstances of the case and the norms of Ukrainian constitutional law and international law, as well as modern approaches in international legal doctrine, the article analyses the key arguments of the Russian authorities and its legal scholarship, namely the following: 1) Russia’s use of force against Ukraine was necessary to defend Russian nationals and compatriots; 2) Russia’s use of force against Ukraine was a lawful response to the request for assistance by the legitimate leaders of Ukraine (V. Yanukovych) and Crimea (S. Aksyonov); 3) the events in Crimea were a secession, with the subsequent accession of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation as an independent state; 4) Ukraine disregarded the principle of the equality and self-determination of peoples vis-à-vis the residents of Crimea, therefore, Crimeans had the right to secede; 5) Crimea is historically Russian; 6) Ukraine had been exercising peaceful annexation of the peninsula since 1991, and Russia did not object to this (subject to certain conditions, which Ukraine violated in 2014); 7) the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was illegal. This article evaluates whether these claims hold any weight under international law. In addition the general trends in contemporary Russian approaches to international law are outlined and their effects on its foreign policy are examined.
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Abstract

This article attempts to discover the key elements of the democratic principle, as described by the judges sitting in Luxembourg and Strasbourg, whose case law reveals the underlying idea of democracy at the supranational level. Until recently the debate on democracy was limited to the national level. But things are changing, and this article shows the gradual emergence of a process led by supranational courts, in which the application of the democratic principle finds multiple grades and variations. In this way the supranational/international courts have opened a new chapter in the process of constitutionalization of international law.
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Abstract

This article examines the process of the judicial Europeanization of the Polish Constitution. In Poland the judicial method of Europeanizing the Constitution is currently the primary way of adjusting constitutional norms to requirements resulting from EU law. The phenomenon of re-interpretation of constitutional provisions in light of the new and changing realities is a characteristic feature of contemporary constitutionalism. It has been a long time since most national constitutions have undergone significant textual changes. In Poland, the scope of judicial Europeanization of the Constitution is connected, to a great extent, with the inflexible procedure required for constitutional amendments. In this situation, these so-called “silent changes” of constitutional norms are the easiest and fastest way of reacting to requirements stemming from Poland’s EU membership. In the Polish case not only have the norms regarding the political system of the state changed, but also constitutional standards relating to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms have undergone the process of the Europeanization. To some extent, these changes relate to procedural norms as well.
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Abstract

The judgments delivered by the European Court of Human Rights in Al-Nashiri v. Poland and Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland highlight the potential tension that may arise between states’ broad reliance on national security grounds to withhold disclosure of secret files and compliance with their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. The present article examines the above-mentioned judgments, focusing, in particular, on how (and to what extent) the withholding of secret information may infringe on the right to the truth and, as far as proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights are concerned, the state’s duty to cooperate with it.
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Abstract

Global trade and intercontinental tourism are on the rise in today’s world. This, in turn, leads to more cross-border law suits. Inevitably, jurisdictions will be confronted with legal concepts that are unknown in the host forum. This contribution investigates whether, and to what extent, punitive damages judgments originating in the United States can be enforced against the assets of a defendant in a number of selected Member States of the EU. More specifically, the article explores the possibilities of enforcing American punitive damages judgments in five EU countries, namely Germany, Italy, Spain, France and England. This comparative analysis reveals that the case law in these selected countries is relatively divergent as to the stance adopted towards foreign punitive damages, resulting in different degrees of acceptance of this legal remedy.
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Abstract

The feature that most attracts private parties from different states to referring their dispute to an arbitral tribunal is the flexibility of the procedure. However, the differences between arbitration and court litigation are not only procedural, but they concern the substance of the parties’ cases. This is because in the realm of international arbitration the law applicable to the merits of the case is determined according to other provisions than the statutory conflict of laws rules. Depending on the arbitration law of the seat, the entire private international law statute can be captured in a single provision – “absent the parties’ choice, the arbitral tribunal shall apply the rules of law which it determines to be appropriate”. It follows that arbitral tribunals, unlike state courts, are not bound by the conflict of laws rules of the forum. What’s more, the merits of a dispute submitted to arbitration may be governed not only by some national body of law (e.g. the Polish Civil Code) but also by a non-state, nonnational set of provisions – “rules of law” (e.g. the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts). The aim of this article is to analyze how the parties and tribunals may make use of their autonomy in determining the law applicable to a dispute. Furthermore it examines whether there are any limits thereto in light of the Rome I Regulation.
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Abstract

The thrust of this article is to examine a contemporary international arbitration process in commercial and investment cases, specifically the interplay of common law and civil law elements in the taking of evidence. It begins with a survey of the provisions of the most popular international arbitration instruments, including international arbitration rules and IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration. Following the discussion of some relevant examples of international arbitration instruments, the author tries to answer the question whether these instruments, in their current form, support the popular thesis that the international arbitration process has become largely harmonized. In trying to verify this thesis, the article also goes beyond the text of international arbitration instruments and considers the influence of the cultural biases of international arbitration actors.
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