Solid Waste Management with the help of GIS

As we know the problem of improper solid waste management in developing countries is a well debated topic and a known issue for quite some time. While there has been improvements but I can say at least in my city, the capital of India, Delhi, improvement has been much slower and there hasn’t been much reform in the MCD’s practices to manage the waste. But lets talk about this problem in context with all cities in the developing countries.

With increasing population, urbanization, rapid grown in community standards of living, has greatly added to the pace at which solid waste is produced. But the major issue being not much rapid growth according to the rate of waste generated, in terms of infrastructure and technology for managing, processing, transporting and scavenging this waste effectively and efficiently. Typical challenges faced by the municipals being resource allocation, machinery and its maintenance, complaint handling, and most importantly tracking of the resources.

There is a dire need to solve these problems and a major factor or say catalyst to help solve the issue can be the infusion of location analytics in this field as well. We know how sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) is taking up in today’s world. This could be effectively used to solve this issue by using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), GPS (Global Positioning System) and Load and Weight sensors. RFID simply uses electromagnetic fields to identify the tags connected to objects which store electronically stored information. (Like the ones you see attached with clothes in shops in malls).

This concept has already started to take up with dustbins in Mumbai already being equipped with RFID tags for retrieving garbage information metadata. (Read Here ).

But how this system can prove to be effective in terms of solid waste management and analytics?

pic_con_a_0056822_intFirstly to manage and identify prone areas and blocks we need raw data to perform the analysis. This raw data can be anything like weight, volume, frequency, payment details, and most importantly location, which can be collected by these RFID tags attached to the dustbins allocated to all registered homes. Making the conventional dustbins smart as now we can collect data such as weight, volume, owner information, from these bins. RFID tags alone cannot collect this information as they can only store personally stored information that would be static, but to retrieve dynamic data such as weight and volume we need the load sensors.

Now to read the information from the tags, we need readers. These reader will be attached to the waste disposal trucks that gather waste from location to location. These readers are nothing but small radios with antenna that emit a signal. When a tag comes within its range, the reader is activated and can retrieve the information stored within it.

So now we have data from each household, blocks, etc. this data will be travelling alongside the garbage truck which will also be enabled with GPS. SO that means we have all this data on the MAP and it can be tracked, monitored and then finally analyzed. Through the use of mobile applications this data can be consumed and pave way for an application that helps in monitoring and locating the bin trucks, routes, weight of waste per truck, etc.

To conclude, the analysis of this data can prove to be essentially helpful to formulate new policies, techniques and manage the solid waste as now we have the precise location up to each household for the corresponding waste units i.e. dustbins. Not only this the amount of recyclable waste collected and its processing can also be accelerated and closely monitored, with the location aspect, through this concept which in my opinion is very vital for the environment and overall detection of more prone areas.

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7 Comments on "Solid Waste Management with the help of GIS"

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1 year 1 month ago

A useful sharing, solid waste has polluted our surroundings, it should be treated in green way. GIS is a good idea.

1 year 2 months ago

Nice Article ………….

Sachin Agrawal
1 year 2 months ago

Nicely articulated Pushpak, I believe its all about mindset and authorities are opening themselves to adopt new technologies for efficient handling of solid waste. One more point I would like to highlight about the use of RFID for implementing the concept “pay as you throw”. This can help in charging the user as per wt and type of waste generated.

Ajay Madhukar Joshi
Ajay Madhukar Joshi
1 year 2 months ago
hello Pushpak, Thanks for nice article. You remind me my research word done almost 25 yrs back with National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) where we had planned Solid waste Managment for Mumbai and other cities. WE had definitely collected the required data at that time the only difference i feel is now it can be well tagged and can be online to monitoring. Definitely i agree that a new parameter will be introduce as MONITORING THE SYSTEM with GIS as tool. But still I felt that we require more study and research w.r.t indian Solid waste generation, Collection &… Read more »
Sachin Agrawal
1 year 2 months ago

Very well said Ajay Sir, of course, there are many aspects we need to consider before implementing in India. In recent times I have seen some of municipal/authorities (Mumbai, Ranchi…..) are in line of adopting these technologies. Yes its long way to go.

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