Sustainability of Geosynthetics-Based Solutions.

Sustainability of Geosynthetics-Based Solutions.

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Author(s): Jolanta Dabrowska (corresponding author) [1,*]; Agnieszka Kiersnowska [2]; Zofia Zieba [1]; Yuliia Trach [2,3]

1. Introduction

Current climate models indicate that rising temperatures are intensifying the Earth’s water cycle. Climate change affects precipitation—rainfall distribution and intensity are changing, and floods and droughts are becoming more frequent. Wind speeds are increasing worldwide. Maximum and minimum temperatures, frost depths and the length and thickness of snow cover are changing, and rising sea levels have a devastating impact on coastal areas [1,2,3,4,5]. All these changes affect the design, construction and maintenance of engineering structures. The damaging action of water is becoming more frequent and intense, requiring the creation of new flood defences and more effective protection against the destructive effects of water erosion. Heat waves are also becoming more common, requiring the use of appropriate building materials and air-conditioning equipment, which increases energy consumption. Due to climate change, engineering structures must be designed to new load and foundation standards or statistical river flows. Current research indicates that in civil engineering structure failures and disasters are mainly triggered by weather- and climate-related hazards [2,4,6]. On the other hand, the construction sector undoubtedly influences human-caused climate change and is the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (almost 40%), excavation and consumption of raw materials (50%), energy consumption (40%) and global waste production (30%). Moreover, construction activities cause significant land, water and air degradation, including eutrophication, acidification and particulate formation, ozone depletion, desertification, deforestation, soil erosion and high water resources consumption [7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14].

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, introduced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the Agenda contains 169 related targets that reflect the three dimensions of sustainable development—economic, social and environmental. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are set to be achieved by 2030 [15,16]. While the construction sector is affected by all 17 SDGs, the following should be considered particularly relevant: SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 11 (sustainable cities …

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