(126a) Use of Environmental Sustainability Principles to Help Solve Environmental Problems of Concern Today | AIChE

(126a) Use of Environmental Sustainability Principles to Help Solve Environmental Problems of Concern Today

In 1987, the concept of sustainable development was first put forward in the Bruntland Report which was prepared for the World Commission on Environment and Development. The links between inequality, poverty, and environmental degradation were recognized; the report sought a way for a fairer world with less damage to the environment that supports communities. The report defined sustainable development as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. As a consequence, environmental sustainability ensures that in meeting our needs for water, food, and shelter as well as engaging in activities that make our lives enjoyable, we don’t damage the environment, deplete our natural resources, and protect global ecosystems. Important aspects tied in with address: (1) Behavioral economics; (2) Intergenerational equity; and (3) What to do with the developing world. As engineers, we will increasingly need to be considering these concepts.

Recent research activities aimed toward environmental sustainability have involved: condensate recovery in air handlers; improved building energy conservation; use of green roofs combined with cistern collection and rain gardens for storm water mitigation on campus buildings; modeling of pollutants fate and transport in the Nile River tributaries; use of electrochemical sensors in storm drains to characterize storm water runoff in urban roadways; use of vertical gardening systems and community gardens to address urban food deserts; lead contamination in drinking water systems physical/chemical treatment of hazardous wastes, particularly in the area of sonication (acoustic cavitation) and photocatalysts to treat organic contaminants; and waste plastics in the marine environment. Highlights of several of these research topics will be described in the context of environmental sustainability.