Using drones for waste management can help governments and waste management organizations in monitoring landfills, calculating airspace, and deterring littering.
The US generates millions of tons of waste every year. And, going by current waste generation trends, one can understand that the rate of waste generation is increasing every year. And, human-generated waste can be witnessed across the globe.. For instance, Mount Everest has thousands of pounds of garbage accumulated due to littering. And, cleaning garbage in such areas can be quite difficult. Governments and waste management organizations can use drone technology for managing waste. Drones can simplify many operations in waste management such as garbage collection and landfill monitoring. Such drones can also help in cleaning garbage on Mount Everest. Sherpas can use drones to identify and pick garbage for disposal. Also, drones can help in deterring littering and monitoring landfills.
Governments can use drones for waste management in the following manner:
Managing and monitoring landfills can be a complex process that needs planning, equipment, and compliance with government regulations. This process aims to build landfills that do not contaminate their surroundings or enter water sources. Environmental engineers can use drones to monitor landfills. Drones can collect data about landfills in real time. For this, drones can capture high-resolution images and create 3D models of landfills. Such solutions are much cheaper and safer compared to traditional flying methods for collecting landfill data.
Landfills need to keep most of the waste under the top-of-waste (TOW) level. Based on this level, waste management organizations select specific cells to overfill if required. Making errors in this process can result in catastrophic situations for the environment around a landfill. Hence, waste management organizations need to find a reliable method for airspace calculation. Drones can help waste management organizations in measuring overfill capacity and remaining airspace. To measure airspace, drones use 3D models to visualize volumes of waste overfill. Such data allows organizations to see cross-sections of certain cells or entire landfills over time.
Landfills aim to achieve the best compaction rate by filling as much waste as possible in a single cell. Drones can help waste management organizations in this task. Drones can calculate the compaction rate while surveying a landfill. This data can be coupled with weighbridge data to calculate the density of waste in every cell. With this, organizations can calculate and compare the volume of waste in every cell.
Drones can be used to monitor dumpsites and commercial areas. Such drones can identify litterbugs and collect littered garbage at public places like parks and beaches. These drones can also monitor the environment for illegal dumping of industrial waste. The videos and images captured can be used as evidence against illegal dumping practices. With this, governments can impose fines against litterbugs and deter garbage littering and illegal dumping.
A power company in China has deployed drones with flamethrowers to clean power lines. These drones can burn garbage such as plastic bags, lanterns, and kites that are stuck on power lines. This method is much safer than the manual approach of climbing pylons to clean power lines. Similarly, other power companies can also use drones with specialized sensors and flamethrowers to clean power lines.
Using drones for waste management can optimize many operations involved in waste disposal. By combining drone technology with IoT, these devices can be even more advanced in waste management. With such solutions, drones will be able to segregate recyclable and non-recyclable waste. Hence, governments will be able to automate many waste management tasks.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.