Smart Waste Management and Smart Cities

With the burgeoning city population, the problem of waste accumulation in India, needs to become a serious shared concern, as the ever-growing amount of waste continues to gradually choke the country. Waste in India is generated at every level – from households to industries; the problem therein, lies in its mismanagement, as the concepts of segregation, treatment of waste and its recycling are yet to become a part of mainstream conscience. Government mission mode programs like Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and by extension Swacch Bharat Mission (Urban), are taking up waste management as a serious issue.Government departments are working on spreading awareness regarding the benefits of waste segregation, while the cities are seeing proposed plans, of setting up of more waste-management plants. Waste collection in India is a troublesome task, as a lot of municipal bodies, do not possess sufficient manpower and garbage collection vehicles. They also lack the monitoring capacity for the amount of garbage being collected, in some cases if at all, and how much of it is sent for treatment and disposal. Adding to this attrition is the fact, that a lot of municipal workers are still under unofficial contracts, which affects their wages, attendance and the work hours put in by them. In the case of cities particularly, civic bodies, hand out contracts for garbage collection, to private contractors. These contractors may have the necessary workforce but, do not essentially have an effective monitoring system in place, resulting in uneven/irregular attendance; thereby impacting garbage collection efficiency. An important concept/facility for Smart cities is Smart Waste Management and the implementation of technology can help this cause, by having monitoring mechanisms in place.Options like, unique identification cards that can help in recording and tracking the number of hours worked by a collection agent;or analytical solutions, that can help in tallying the number of hours put in and the amount garbage collected, and figure out discrepancies, if any, using metrics, are all possible by leveraging technology. Also, to avoid fraud or malpractices wherein, even though the records show a collection being made yet, no collection is made, sensors can be employed, that continuously monitor and track the collection. Leveraging technologies like IOT can help India tackle its waste woes and is being currently employed as a monitoring system.Further benefits of Smart Waste Management include: • Managing routes and vehicles dynamically through an automated system • Real-time management of garbage collection points that have been missed • Efficient monitoring/management of waste collection bins. • Monitoring and tracking of refuse weight by the refuse vehicle en-route • Reducing human intervention in the monitoring process. • Maintaining a history of vehicle routes, sites attended etc. • Monitoring Road Sweeping Vehicles. • Ensuring complete coverage of door to door, as well as community collections. • Reporting of vehicles, garbage collection, other SWM details to higher authorities from any location, at any given point in time. • Route optimization, that can help in the reduction of trip time, saving of fuel and serving more locations. • Integrating dumping ground and transfer station facilities, with centralized locations. With the Smart Cities Mission aiming to transform about 100 cities across the country, into smart cities; functioning high-end waste management systems are a critical component, to achieving this goal. With technological solutions in place, civic bodies can monitor the amount of garbage collected from/disposed of at, a particular site and in case a particular site has exhausted its capacity, immediate re-routing and shifting of waste can ensue. Thus, for smart cities to live up to their names, eco-friendly smart waste management needs to be employed, from the point of inception, so that tackling of waste does not become a serious problem for urban spaces.

Author: Sujit Patheja, Head – Business Development, Smart Infrastructure

Sujit Patheja heads Business Development for the Smart Infrastructure practice and is responsible for defining strategy, building brand and driving sales targets in the Smart City/Infrastructure space for ITL. In his stint at ITL, Sujit has led many strategic initiatives and delivered success across Industries and geographies. Before joining ITL, Sujit spent 6 years at Infosys spearheading sales across Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities and Government verticals. Sujit is a post graduate with a MBA degree in International Business.

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