Quantela Blog

Waste Management: A solution every city needs

Over 50% of the world’s population is already living in cities, and this figure is set to rise to 75% by 2050. While the world’s cities only cover 2% of the global land area, they account for increasing landfill waste, which is one of the causes for greenhouse-gas emissions. The unmanaged waste costs corporations and public institutions millions of dollars in hauling and disposal fees.

There is a need for smart and sustainable solutions for cities that can help them to curb all the challenges posed by rapid urbanization. And I guess one of the most important solutions when we talk about smart cities is effective and innovative Waste management solution.

Improper waste disposal can cause serious issues to the environment. As such, waste management and the safe disposal of waste have massive and far-reaching consequences for the environment and is definitely of vital importance. Some of the waste disposed eventually rots away, get decomposed and reabsorbed into the earth. A lot of it, however, is not biodegradable and never rots away.

In addition, the decomposition process can produce some fairly noxious smells, as well as methane gas. This is an explosive gas and contributes to global warming. In addition to this, the leachate that is produced during the decomposition process can cause pollution, and poorly managed landfill sites can cause litter and attract vermin.

Have a look at the below infographic to know the decomposition rate of various things:

The incineration of waste, while avoiding the issues of landfills, can cause other hazardous environmental issues instead: the incinerators generate ash which frequently contains heavy metals, as well as other toxins. A new report from the World Bank’s Urban Development department estimates the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) will rise from the current 1.3 billion tons per year to 2.2 billion tons per year by 2025.

The annual, global cost of this necessary solid waste management is projected to rise from the current $205 billion to $375 billion, with the cost increasing most severely for those cities in low-income countries. Given the rapid rise in both quantity and costs of solid waste, cities need to manage their waste better. By deploying a solid waste solution, cities can make their waste management operations more data-driven and intelligent. They can track garbage dumps, bins and garbage trucks.

By applying data science to their waste supply chain they can optimize collection routes and derive valuable insights and visibility into waste collection, disposal, and reuse. Waste can be solid, liquid, or gaseous and each type has different methods of disposal and management. Waste management deals with all types of waste, including industrial, biological, and household. In some cases, waste can pose a threat to human health. Waste is produced by human activity, for example, the extraction and processing of raw materials.

The solution of waste management is intended to reduce adverse effects of waste on human health, the environment or aesthetics. Not just on the environment, the traditional waste management system is inadequate in many other ways. The waste is generally not well managed, not picked up on time which can be the cause of a lot of diseases and infections but also due to overflowing trash bins and littering. It is important to streamline the process of picking up the bins, which helps in maintaining cleanliness throughout the city.

And that’s the reason why waste management is one of the most important and basic solutions for Smart cities. Traditionally waste collections have been ineffective because it comprises of collecting each and every bin without really knowing if the bins were full or empty. This is inevitably inefficient, with half-full bins being emptied, poor use of city assets and unnecessary fleet fuel consumption. Via traditional means, checking the waste containers regularly is also been difficult due to remote locations or difficult access and costs huge money.

The regular waste bins can be replaced with IoT based waste bins with sensors and can be installed in various parts of the city. The sensors provide administrators the capability of knowing the fill-level and the type of waste of each waste bin in real time, through wireless mobile networks, which enables them to take data-driven actions proactively, targeting only the locations of full trash bins. The data sent helps the administrators to know the exact time for waste collection, with the recommended route, which is called route optimization.

The solution should be able to suggest the best route to be taken depending on the bins that are filled. This can result in cost optimization and savings because fewer collections mean less money spent on driver hours, fuel and truck maintenance. The next level of waste management is when the platform also predicts the fill levels of different bins for the coming days by utilizing historical data, which can help the administrators to plan accordingly. This is done using AI.

Results showed that artificial intelligence models have good prediction performance and could be successfully applied to establish municipal solid waste forecasting models. And few companies have already started doing this. AI can help administrators with more predictive information like a number of trucks that might be required, collection timings etc A waste management solution would be incomplete without a fleet management mobile app for the truck drivers, which should have the capability for them to mark a bin as collected whenever they are done with it.

This data is transmitted to the command and control center for administrators to keep a check on the collected bins in real time. They should also be able to track the trucks from the platform (Fleet management) In fact, why do we need bins with sensors. To begin with, imagine if the waste bins are placed at strategic locations in the proximity of already installed traffic and parking cameras. These cameras, in addition to providing the traffic and parking data, also provides the fill levels of the bins, there would also be no need for the extra investment on replacing the bins with sensor bins.

This can be implemented in cities that have low budgets for waste management solutions. True, this cannot be a full-fledged waste management solution. But then, it might be good enough to start the solution at a low cost, and eventually, the solution can be replaced with the IoT based waste management solution in phases to reduce the cost burden on city budgets.

A perfect waste management solution involves collecting, transporting, disposing, recycling and monitoring waste generated through human activities. Waste management is the process of treating solid wastes and offers variety of solutions for recycling items that don’t belong to trash. It is about how garbage can be used as a valuable resource. Waste management is something that each and every household and business owner in the world needs.

References:

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2012/06/06/report-shows-alarming-rise-in-amount-costs-of-garbage

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: