Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 6

Environmental Monitoring Related Abstracts

6 Radon-222 Concentration and Potential Risk to Workers of Al-Jalamid Phosphate Mines, North Province, Saudi Arabia

Authors: El-Said. I. Shabana, Mohammad S. Tayeb, Maher M. T. Qutub, Abdulraheem A. Kinsara


Usually, phosphate deposits contain 238U and 232Th in addition to their decay products. Due to their different pathways in the environment, the 238U/232Th activity concentration ratio usually found to be greater than unity in phosphate sediments. The presence of these radionuclides creates a potential need to control exposure of workers in the mining and processing activities of the phosphate minerals in accordance with IAEA safety standards. The greatest dose to workers comes from exposure to radon, especially 222Rn from the uranium series, and has to be controlled. In this regard, radon (222Rn) was measured in the atmosphere (indoor and outdoor) of Al-Jalamid phosphate-mines working area using a portable radon-measurement instrument RAD7, in a purpose of radiation protection. Radon was measured in 61 sites inside the open phosphate mines, the phosphate upgrading facility (offices and rooms of the workers, and in some open-air sites) and in the dwellings of the workers residence-village that lies at about 3 km from the mines working area. The obtained results indicated that the average indoor radon concentration was about 48.4 Bq/m3. Inside the upgrading facility, the average outdoor concentrations were 10.8 and 9.7 Bq/m3 in the concentrate piles and crushing areas, respectively. It was 12.3 Bq/m3 in the atmosphere of the open mines. These values are comparable with the global average values. Based on the average values, the annual effective dose due to radon inhalation was calculated and risk estimates have been done. The average annual effective dose to workers due to the radon inhalation was estimated by 1.32 mSv. The potential excess risk of lung cancer mortality that could be attributed to radon, when considering the lifetime exposure, was estimated by 53.0x10-4. The results have been discussed in detail.

Keywords: Radiation Protection, Dosimetry, Environmental Monitoring, radon, phosphate deposits

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5 Marine Environmental Monitoring Using an Open Source Autonomous Marine Surface Vehicle

Authors: U. Pruthviraj, Praveen Kumar R. A. K. Athul, K. V. Gangadharan, S. Rao Shrikantha


An open source based autonomous unmanned marine surface vehicle (UMSV) is developed for some of the marine applications such as pollution control, environmental monitoring and thermal imaging. A double rotomoulded hull boat is deployed which is rugged, tough, quick to deploy and moves faster. It is suitable for environmental monitoring, and it is designed for easy maintenance. A 2HP electric outboard marine motor is used which is powered by a lithium-ion battery and can also be charged from a solar charger. All connections are completely waterproof to IP67 ratings. In full throttle speed, the marine motor is capable of up to 7 kmph. The motor is integrated with an open source based controller using cortex M4F for adjusting the direction of the motor. This UMSV can be operated by three modes: semi-autonomous, manual and fully automated. One of the channels of a 2.4GHz radio link 8 channel transmitter is used for toggling between different modes of the USMV. In this electric outboard marine motor an on board GPS system has been fitted to find the range and GPS positioning. The entire system can be assembled in the field in less than 10 minutes. A Flir Lepton thermal camera core, is integrated with a 64-bit quad-core Linux based open source processor, facilitating real-time capturing of thermal images and the results are stored in a micro SD card which is a data storage device for the system. The thermal camera is interfaced to an open source processor through SPI protocol. These thermal images are used for finding oil spills and to look for people who are drowning at low visibility during the night time. A Real Time clock (RTC) module is attached with the battery to provide the date and time of thermal images captured. For the live video feed, a 900MHz long range video transmitter and receiver is setup by which from a higher power output a longer range of 40miles has been achieved. A Multi-parameter probe is used to measure the following parameters: conductivity, salinity, resistivity, density, dissolved oxygen content, ORP (Oxidation-Reduction Potential), pH level, temperature, water level and pressure (absolute).The maximum pressure it can withstand 160 psi, up to 100m. This work represents a field demonstration of an open source based autonomous navigation system for a marine surface vehicle.

Keywords: Environmental Monitoring, Open source, autonomous navigation, UMSV, outboard motor, multi-parameter probe

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4 Environmental Monitoring by Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Images and Spatial Data: A Case Study of Mineral Exploitation in Brazilian Federal District, Brazil

Authors: Maria De Albuquerque Bercot, Caio Gustavo Mesquita Angelo, Daniela Maria Moreira Siqueira, Augusto Assucena De Vasconcellos, Rodrigo Studart Correa


Mining is an important socioeconomic activity in Brazil although it negatively impacts the environment. Mineral operations cause irreversible changes in topography, removal of vegetation and topsoil, habitat destruction, displacement of fauna, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, siltation of watercourses and have potential to enhance climate change. Due to the impacts and its pollution potential, mining activity in Brazil is legally subjected to environmental licensing. Unlicensed mining operations or operations that not abide to the terms of an obtained license are taken as environmental crimes in the country. This work reports a case analyzed in the Forensic Institute of the Brazilian Federal District Civil Police. The case consisted of detecting illegal aspects of sand exploitation from a licensed mine in Federal District, nearby Brasilia city. The fieldwork covered an area of roughly 6 ha, which was surveyed with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) (PHANTOM 3 ADVANCED). The overflight with UAV took about 20 min, with maximum flight height of 100 m. 592 UAV georeferenced images were obtained and processed in a photogrammetric software (AGISOFT PHOTOSCAN 1.1.4), which generated a mosaic of geo-referenced images and a 3D model in less than six working hours. The 3D model was analyzed in a forensic software for accurate modeling and volumetric analysis. (MAPTEK I-SITE FORENSIC 2.2). To ensure the 3D model was a true representation of the mine site, coordinates of ten control points and reference measures were taken during fieldwork and compared to respective spatial data in the model. Finally, these spatial data were used for measuring mining area, excavation depth and volume of exploited sand. Results showed that mine holder had not complied with some terms and conditions stated in the granted license, such as sand exploration beyond authorized extension, depth and volume. Easiness, the accuracy and expedition of procedures used in this case highlight the employment of UAV imagery and computational photogrammetry as efficient tools for outdoor forensic exams, especially on environmental issues.

Keywords: Mining, Environmental Monitoring, UAV, computational photogrammetry

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3 Building Atmospheric Moisture Diagnostics: Environmental Monitoring and Data Collection

Authors: Paula Lopez-Arce, Hector Altamirano, Dimitrios Rovas, James Berry, Bryan Hindle, Steven Hodgson


Efficient mould remediation and accurate moisture diagnostics leading to condensation and mould growth in dwellings are largely untapped. Number of factors are contributing to the rising trend of excessive moisture in homes mainly linked with modern living, increased levels of occupation and rising fuel costs, as well as making homes more energy efficient. Environmental monitoring by means of data collection though loggers sensors and survey forms has been performed in a range of buildings from different UK regions. Air and surface temperature and relative humidity values of residential areas affected by condensation and/or mould issues were recorded. Additional measurements were taken through different trials changing type, location, and position of loggers. In some instances, IR thermal images and ventilation rates have also been acquired. Results have been interpreted together with environmental key parameters by processing and connecting data from loggers and survey questionnaires, both in buildings with and without moisture issues. Monitoring exercises carried out during Winter and Spring time show the importance of developing and following accurate protocols for guidance to obtain consistent, repeatable and comparable results and to improve the performance of environmental monitoring. A model and a protocol are being developed to build a diagnostic tool with the goal of performing a simple but precise residential atmospheric moisture diagnostics to distinguish the cause entailing condensation and mould generation, i.e., ventilation, insulation or heating systems issue. This research shows the relevance of monitoring and processing environmental data to assign moisture risk levels and determine the origin of condensation or mould when dealing with a building atmospheric moisture excess.

Keywords: Protocols, Environmental Monitoring, Atmospheric Moisture, mould

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2 A Low-Cost Air Quality Monitoring Internet of Things Platform

Authors: Christos Spandonidis, Stefanos Tsantilas, Elias Sedikos, Nektarios Galiatsatos, Fotios Giannopoulos, Panagiotis Papadopoulos, Nikolaos Demagos, Dimitrios Reppas, Christos Giordamlis


In the present paper, a low cost, compact and modular Internet of Things (IoT) platform for air quality monitoring in urban areas is presented. This platform comprises of dedicated low cost, low power hardware and the associated embedded software that enable measurement of particles (PM2.5 and PM10), NO, CO, CO2 and O3 concentration in the air, along with relative temperature and humidity. This integrated platform acts as part of a greater air pollution data collecting wireless network that is able to monitor the air quality in various regions and neighborhoods of an urban area, by providing sensor measurements at a high rate that reaches up to one sample per second. It is therefore suitable for Big Data analysis applications such as air quality forecasts, weather forecasts and traffic prediction. The first real world test for the developed platform took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, where 16 devices were installed in various buildings in the city. In the near future, many more of these devices are going to be installed in the greater Thessaloniki area, giving a detailed air quality map of the city.

Keywords: Internet of Things, Smart Cities, Environmental Monitoring, distributed sensor system

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1 Selective and Highly Sensitive Measurement of ¹⁵NH₃ Using Photoacoustic Spectroscopy for Environmental Applications

Authors: Emily Awuor, Helga Huszar, Zoltan Bozoki


Isotope analysis has found numerous applications in the environmental science discipline, most common being the tracing of environmental contaminants on both regional and global scales. Many environmental contaminants contain ammonia (NH₃) since it is the most abundant gas in the atmosphere and its largest sources are from agricultural and industrial activities. NH₃ isotopes (¹⁴NH₃ and ¹⁵NH₃) are therefore important and can be used in the traceability studies of these atmospheric pollutants. The goal of the project is the construction of a photoacoustic spectroscopy system that is capable of measuring ¹⁵NH₃ isotope selectively in terms of its concentration. A further objective is for the system to be robust, easy-to-use, and automated. This is provided by using two telecommunication type near-infrared distributed feedback (DFB) diode lasers and a laser coupler as the light source in the photoacoustic measurement system. The central wavelength of the lasers in use was 1532 nm, with the tuning range of ± 1 nm. In this range, strong absorption lines can be found for both ¹⁴NH₃ and ¹⁵NH₃. For the selective measurement of ¹⁵NH₃, wavelengths were chosen where the cross effect of ¹⁴NH₃ and water vapor is negligible. We completed the calibration of the photoacoustic system, and as a result, the lowest detectable concentration was 3.32 ppm (3Ϭ) in the case of ¹⁵NH₃ and 0.44 ppm (3Ϭ) in the case of ¹⁴NH₃. The results are most useful in the environmental pollution measurement and analysis.

Keywords: Environmental Monitoring, photoacoustic spectroscopy, ammonia isotope, near-infrared DFB diode laser

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