How IoT En­abled Smart City Helps Tackle the Prob­lem of Solid Waste Man­age­ment in In­dia

In an exclusive in­ter­ac­tion with Dataquest, R. Venkateswaran, Se­nior VP IoT, Per­sis­tent Sys­tems, talks about solid waste man­age­ment and how IoT en­abled Smart Cities can help tackle this prob­lem of Solid Waste Man­age­ment in In­dia. He also talks about the c

Dataquest - - CONTENTS - —R. VENKATESWARAN Se­nior VP IoT, Per­sis­tent Sys­tems

Where do you think the current prob­lem of solid waste man­age­ment lies? A com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tion to Solid Waste Man­age­ment (SWM) spans across five key ar­eas in the SWM life­cy­cle, namely, Gen­er­a­tion, Col­lec­tion, Trans­porta­tion, Treat­ment and Dis­posal. To­day, in In­dia, we have chal­lenges across each of these ar­eas that need to be over­come to cre­ate a vi­able Solid Waste Man­age­ment so­lu­tion.

Some of the chal­lenges in­clude seg­re­ga­tion of waste at the time of gen­er­a­tion, short­age of suf­fi­cient man­power and garbage vans for col­lec­tion, track­ing and mon­i­tor­ing of waste trans­porta­tion to en­able cross-ver­i­fi­ca­tion and trans­parency, proper treat­ment of bio-degrad­able and re­cy­clable ma­te­rial and lastly, en­vi­ron­men­tally safe and hy­gienic waste dis­posal mech­a­nism.

With a 48% growth in ur­ban pop­u­la­tion in In­dia from 29 crores in 2000 to 43 crores in 2015, there has been a cor­re­spond­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the amount of waste gen­er­ated (ap­prox­i­mately 2.5 times or 150%). Fur­ther, the seg­re­ga­tion of waste (for ex­am­ple, “dry” vs “wet” garbage) has not been con­sis­tently ef­fec­tive due to lack of aware­ness and in­abil­ity to en­force seg­re­ga­tion.

Short­age of man­power and garbage vans is also a key chal­lenge for col­lec­tion and trans­porta­tion. Mu­nic­i­pal bod­ies typ­i­cally out­source this ac­tiv­ity to con­trac­tors but do not have the nec­es­sary sys­tems in place to ef­fec­tively track and mon­i­tor the ser­vices ren­dered by these con­trac­tors. Cit­i­zens add to this chal­lenge of ef­fec­tive col­lec­tion by dis­pos­ing off their garbage out­side the des­ig­nated bins. Waste pro­cess­ing and treat­ment has a strong de­pen­dence on seg­re­ga­tion of waste into mul­ti­ple cat­e­gories (bio-degrad­able, re­cy­cling, bio-hazard etc.). The fi­nal dis­posal of waste is also a big chal­lenge given the lack of plan­ning of land-fill sites. Orig­i­nally, these sites were ear-marked away from the cities to min­i­mize harm­ful ef­fects to in­hab­i­tants. How­ever, with the ex­pan­sion of cities, these sites now fall within city perime­ters, thereby, ex­pos­ing the res­i­dents to health haz­ards and other en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. How can an IoT en­abled Smart City to help tackle the prob­lem of Solid Waste Man­age­ment in In­dia? De­ploy­ing IoT and re­lated tech­nolo­gies can ad­dress some of the pre­dom­i­nant chal­lenges in solid waste man­age­ment very ef­fec­tively.

IoT-en­abled waste col­lec­tion and trans­porta­tion can bring in sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tages in the over­all im­ple­men­ta­tion of waste man­age­ment so­lu­tions. Specif­i­cally, the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions that have out­sourced this work to in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors, can use IoT tech­nolo­gies to track and mon­i­tor the con­trac­tors’ ef­fec­tive­ness. De­ploy­ment of smart bins, track­ing of garbage pickup trucks as well as the san­i­ta­tion work­ers, route op­ti­miza­tion for trucks, cross­check­ing of garbage weight etc. can ef­fi­ciently ad­dress the chal­lenges of en­force­ment and trans­parency. Sim­i­larly, IoT-en­abled sen­sors can also mon­i­tor the amount of al­ter­nate fuel gen­er­ated from the processed waste. This helps the cities ad­dress some of their fuel needs and lever­age the benefits of the Solid Waste Man­age­ment so­lu­tions.

In the long run, IoT-en­abled so­lu­tions can also help in seg­re­gat­ing waste at the time of waste gen­er­a­tion, thereby bring­ing in sig­nif­i­cant value to the rest of the life­cy­cle stages.

Has Per­sis­tent de­ployed any smart waste dis­posal projects?

Per­sis­tent Sys­tems has de­vel­oped an IoT-en­abled Solid Waste Man­age­ment so­lu­tion to ad­dress the col­lec­tion and trans­porta­tion of Solid Waste. It in­volves retrofitting ex­ist­ing garbage bins by adding con­nected sen­sors to make them “smart bins”. These sen­sors de­tect the level and weight of the garbage and trans­mit this in­for­ma­tion to a server de­ployed in the city’s Data Cen­ter through ex­ist­ing cel­lu­lar in­fra­struc­ture. These ruggedi­zed sen­sors en­sure that they can with­stand ex­treme weather con­di­tions and have a long bat­tery life of at least 2-3 years.

Our so­lu­tion uses the data from the smart bins to op­ti­mize the route, the sched­ule and the size of the garbage trucks for waste col­lec­tion and trans­porta­tion, thereby im­prov­ing the fuel ef­fi­ciency of the waste col­lec­tion process. Track­ing of the truck through geo-fenc­ing and pe­ri­odic alerts for var­i­ous in­ci­dents helps the Mu­nic­i­pal body to mon­i­tor the performance of the work­ers and con­trac­tors to as­signed to this task. Daily, weekly and monthly re­ports about dif­fer­ent as­pects of the col­lec­tion process help the San­i­ta­tion depart­ment head to as­sess and make im­prove­ments.

We are work­ing closely with the mu­nic­i­pal bod­ies in Pune and Nag­pur and are part­ner­ing with large Sys­tem In­te­gra­tors in re­spond­ing to the Smart City ini­tia­tives to cover the Waste Man­age­ment area.

What chal­lenges do you see in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of smart solid waste man­age­ment sys­tems?

While there is a gen­eral aware­ness and pi­lot de­ploy­ments of Smart Solid Waste Man­age­ment so­lu­tions in some cities such as Ben­galuru, Vi­jayawada, In­dore, Jaipur and Pune, these de­ploy­ments have limited scope and hence have not re­ally lever­aged the full value of a smart so­lu­tion. My view is that the main chal­lenges are not nec­es­sar­ily tech­nol­ogy-re­lated, but more around the process and mind­set of peo­ple.

In a typ­i­cal Smart city plan, Solid Waste Man­age­ment is com­bined along with the rest of the Smart City ini­tia­tives. This re­sults in a sig­nif­i­cant de­lay in de­ci­sion mak­ing, thereby, slow­ing down the de­ploy­ment of smart Solid Waste Man­age­ment so­lu­tions. These de­ploy­ments can be speeded up by fo­cused ini­tia­tives for ef­fec­tive Solid Waste Man­age­ment. Per­haps gov­ern­ment / civic bod­ies should con­sider de­cou­pling var­i­ous Smart City ini­tia­tives and ex­pe­dit­ing some, de­pend­ing on im­me­di­ate need and pri­or­ity.

Fur­ther, we have ob­served that en­force­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion typ­i­cally hap­pens only for cer­tain phases of the Solid Waste Man­age­ment life­cy­cle, but not in its en­tirety. For ex­am­ple, a spe­cific de­ploy­ment may fo­cus only on garbage truck track­ing, but not the san­i­ta­tion work­ers. Such de­ploy­ments, while bring­ing in some im­prove­ments, do not re­al­ize the full po­ten­tial of such a so­lu­tion.

How will it ben­e­fit its var­i­ous stake­hold­ers?

Var­i­ous stake­hold­ers such as mu­nic­i­pal bod­ies, con­trac­tors, pri­vate waste man­age­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions and cit­i­zens will ben­e­fit sig­nif­i­cantly from the smart city ini­tia­tives around waste man­age­ment. Specif­i­cally, the ben­e­fit will come about in terms of trans­parency in op­er­a­tions, re­duced op­er­a­tions costs, elim­i­na­tion of poor prac­tices and al­lo­ca­tion of funds as per the needs/chal­lenges.

Can you throw some light on the grow­ing im­por­tance of data man­age­ment for smart cities?

The idea be­hind Smart Cities is en­abling the var­i­ous depart­ments such as San­i­ta­tion, Trans­porta­tion, Water Man­age­ment etc to lever­age tech­nol­ogy and au­to­ma­tion to solve their crit­i­cal chal­lenges. An im­me­di­ate fol­low up to this ini­tia­tive is the gen­er­a­tion of sig­nif­i­cant data (prefer­ably in real-time) cen­tered around the key performance met­rics of these depart­ments. The in­sights from the data gen­er­ated are key to de­ci­sions and ac­tions that would other­wise not have been pos­si­ble.

Ef­fec­tively man­ag­ing the data gen­er­ated from the var­i­ous depart­ments and in­te­grat­ing them as part of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process is key to the suc­cess of the Smart City ini­tia­tives. Fur­ther, the in­sights de­rived from this data can also be made avail­able to other depart­ments or states to help ac­cel­er­ate their smart city plans. As an ex­am­ple, shar­ing of water con­sump­tion by one state/city can help other neigh­bor­ing states/cities plan their water chal­lenges ef­fec­tively. This does re­quire all depart­ments to work col­lab­o­ra­tively in the best in­ter­ests of the cit­i­zens.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.