12

There is a conflict of interest between gardening requirements and stormwater requirements: Stormwater barrels should be kept empty, garden barrels should be kept full. Though a rain barrel or tank could make a useful water retention device, it loses its value as a stormwater load-reduction mechanism when you retain the water for gardening or other ...


12

Quick summary: The city and the country both have positives and negatives in pollution production... the data here suggests perhaps the urban core produces slightly less pollution (depending upon how you score follow-on effects)... But both areas fall far far short of the exurbs, where people combine the negatives of both the city and the country for ...


12

A forest of old trees sequesters more carbon per year than a forest with the same quantity of young trees. When I first saw this question I thought I knew the answer -- trees grow faster when they're young, therefore they sequester carbon at a higher rate. When I went looking for the data to back this up, I found that this is still a somewhat controversial ...


10

Short Answer First of all, let me say that I love rain barrels, and have them installed at both homes I've owned (both older homes that are already fully landscaped). I think rain barrels are great water saving devices, and can provide some buffer against run-off. They're also cheap and easy to install, and can often repurpose existing containers. However, ...


10

Dangers Most of plastic materials when burning in a conventional fire decompose to toxic substances which have bad health effect on many living organisms including humans. Many of the substances are carcinogenic. The dangerous substances are mainly: dioxins furans styrenes some plastics can produce extremely and acutely toxic hydrogen cyanide carbon ...


8

You are talking about black gold that has a value of AU$40 per 25 litre bag in my area. I would suggest either selling it or putting it back into the soil. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar for uses of charcoal as a soil amendment. You can collect (cool) charcoal in a plastic bag until you have a volume worth doing something serious with. Because ...


7

To encourage people to not use of purchase cars develop a public transportation system that is easily accessible by the to public and caters to the needs of the public so that people will use it. Additionally, the energy source for the public transport system must be electricity. Anything that is combustible, even bio fuels, will maintain a certain level of ...


7

You should not burn plastic. Besides the environmental impact, you're wasting resources. You should recycle plastic - here is how that's done: 1. The plastic is sorted Sorting and grouping plastic materials according to resin type is an important first step in the recycling process because contamination can render a batch of material un-reusable. The most ...


7

CO2 Don't have time to fully address this now, but here's an interesting plot of results from Boston, USA: As you can see from this graph, CO2 levels can vary quite a bit over time simply within one city. You can see a seasonal amplitude of +/- ~12 ppm that's due to plant photosynthesis speeding up (reducing CO2) in summer, and slowing down (allowing CO2 to ...


7

As LShaver writes, larger trees sequester more carbon than smaller trees, but only if they are still growing. In a "fully-grown" forest (as per the title) that process has ended — decay and regrowth are in equilibrium. Fully-grown forests are carbon-neutral. All of them. The Amazon rainforest — all 5,500,000km² of it — is carbon neutral. If you plant a ...


6

I know that in the past PBDEs were used as flame retardant in all kinds of products like clothing, computer monitor casings, couches, but also in foam mattrasses, including memory foam. I suspect manufacturers stopped using them after it became known that PBDEs accumulate in human bodies and may cause cancer. Also, PBDEs have been banned in the EU in 2004 ...


5

There are two issues with used motor oil. One is that PCAH forms Thats Poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Benzene like rings with odds and ends attached. Many are biologically active, some are carcinogenic. If burned at high temp, with sufficient oxygen, they aren't a problem. Incompletely burned they are serious problems. The second issue are the very ...


5

This has become too long for a comment. One can imagine a similar question like this: "Heffingbourne has a problem with all sorts of rubbish being disposed in lakes, forests and the town centre. How can we solve this problem sustainably?" I think the question has very little to do with sustainability. Answers to this hypothetical question are of course "...


5

Commercial/ Factory designs have been replacing the power transmission of "lubricated chains" and "gear mechanisms" with high performance "Timing Belts" made of special polymer composited with steel fibre etc. One of our family was extensively involved in such redesigns/ solutions in all possible industries beyond automotive that you can think of (hydro ...


5

You have to also consider the climate where each type of cooler will be used and how each type of cooler works. Refrigeration coolers transfer heat from inside a building to the outside. However, the hotter the outside temperature the less effectively such coolers work. If the outside/atmospheric temperature is 50 C or higher, such coolers will struggle. ...


5

I'm not typically an answer-my-own-question kind of person, but this has been on the back of my mind for days. The challenge in answering this is that we do not have an apples-to-apples kind of comparison. On the one hand we have dishwashers whose primary impact is energy they consume for electric motors / heating of water and the impact of creating the ...


5

Battery Weight Batteries are heavy - a Tesla 85kWh battery weighs 540kg. - VW Golf 55.7kWh battery weight 330kg you are looking at around 6kg per kWh. The main part of this argument is based on how much heavier an EV is and how much more shedding of the components and road will occur due to that additional weight. How much heavier are electric cars? I ...


5

I question the blanket assertion of 1 liter of oil contaminating 1 million liters of water. That's 1 part per million. This article: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/water-quality/guidelines/chemicals/petroleumproducts_2add_june2008.pdf?ua=1 talks in detail about certain volatile fractions of various petrochemicals. Some of these have ...


4

Well, I know the question is more about outdoor plants (Trees) but I found a Wiki page on NASA's study about Indoor plants, which help remove toxic agents like benzene, ammonia etc. from air. NASA Clean Air Study has the details.


4

Plant bamboo. Its also an excellent biofuel. Pines and evergreens collect pollutants on their leaves/spines/firs but are unable to drop them and assist in decomposition. this is why the bottom of a pine forest is always devoid of other plants. Bamboo is an excellent "growth" plant in terms of CO2 absorption as well as allowing pollutants to biodegrade within ...


4

Availability in the long term You didn't include in your list a mention of how available copper will be in the future; this matters, for sustainability, because we can't afford to be using it for guttering if we're about to run out of copper ore. It is a very important metal for other purposes, such as electrical components. Wikipedia has a good article on ...


4

Plant a lot of trees -- assuming you mean partciulate pollution: See for example Estimating the removal of atmospheric particulate pollution by the urban tree canopy of London, under current and future environments, Tallis et al. 2011


4

Prevalence of garbage in the oceans A recent study in Nature Scientific Reports finds that the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is massive, and keeps growing. From the article, "Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic" (emphasis added): Our model, calibrated with data from multi-vessel and aircraft ...


4

No. Electric cars emit less particulates. Main sources of particulate emissions from transport are: brake wear tyre wear road wear and resuspension of road dust/soil exhaust Exhaust particulate emissions are zero for electric cars. Brake wear is significantly (66% estimated) less for electric cars due to regenerative braking. Tyre wear is related ...


3

This brochure of the European Environmental Bureau gives 12 good tips to reduce air pollution in a city. Here a summary and some extra information I added: Create Low Emission Zones (LEZ): charge or prohibit vehicles that do not comply with certain emission requirements. This is already done in for example London, and Berlin. In Madrid they propose to do ...


3

I suppose as with most things it depends (climate, precipitation, erosion factors, season, etc.) But I can't imagine a scenario in which I would rather have rain-barrels instead of say a rain-garden with water absorbing swails on contour. Or better yet a "Natural Swimming Pool" or "Plunge Pool"! On the advantages of a rain garden over rain barrels: ...


3

Unfortunately, the real answers are rarely as easy as one might think. Let's discuss a couple of major sources of smog in Harbin in turn and why they are hard to address. Burnt Field Stubble Being from a rural area myself, for the most part, I tend to wince when people decide that burnt field stubble is the root of all the problems. This tends to be (...


3

You ask a very open ended question. You could refine it somewhat by stating what you see as the pollutants and their problems. Decide on what your priorities are, and how you will make tradeoffs between them. Is global warming more important that local health? Is local health more important that a clean river? One way is to decide on the externalized ...


3

There is something that is moderately similar in use on the Thames - the difference being that it collects only floating rubbish, and does not extend to the riverbed: Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 Apparently there is also a more active version of a similar concept, also on the Thames, where a filter is moved through the water by a powered ...


3

I compost all organic material, with the exception of paper. I bury meat and animal bones bc it can attract other animals. I have been known to re-use cardboard as a one-season box garden. It may be true that recycling is not energetically a win in a cost benefit analysis, while there may not be a local pickup, you could ask around if there is a recycling ...


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