Detection of illegal landfills with the use of artificial intelligence

Mar 25, 2024 | #Sustainable | 0 comments

Spain generates 22 million tons of garbage per year.Correctly treating this waste is vital to prevent risks to human health, water, soil and air. In short, a necessity to make cities liveable places.

The European Commission is clear in the Green Deal guidelines: waste must be treated correctly to protect the environment. However, in Spain 13% of municipal waste is not treated correctly. To this we must also add that Spain has more than 1,500 illegal landfills. Do you still not know the advantages of artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and control these places?

How to identify illegal landfills with artificial intelligence (AI)

Illegal landfills pose a significant threat to the environment and public health. These unauthorized accumulations of waste affect all spheres of the ecosystem. Therefore, it is crucial to have effective control over these landfills to minimize their impact.

Data analysis, the interpretation of images obtained by satellite and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) are presented as indispensable allies in this fight. Thanks to its learning capacity, AI can autonomously analyze satellite images to automatically identify illegal landfills and alert about their presence. In addition, this information allows experts to know how these locations affect the vegetation, topography, water or soil.

At agforest, we deal with pollution and resource management issues such as the detection of illegal landfills through the use and integration of both technologies.

Why is it important to identify illegal landfills?

Health, environment and economy. These are the three main areas that illegal dumping affects. The accumulation of waste can be a source of diseases transmitted by its fauna, such as mosquitoes, rodents or birds. A serious threat to public health.

Regarding the environment, the soil absorbs chemicals, heavy metals and other harmful substances; poured into water or carried by the wind. We must also not forget the economic impact derived from the cleaning, removal and rehabilitation of the locations where these landfills are located.

Control illegal landfills with artificial intelligence

Images obtained by satellite and artificial intelligence (AI) are an indispensable tool to help authorities control these accumulations of waste. How is it done?

  • Monitoring of illegal landfills: satellite images allow the growth of these sites to be analyzed. In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) applied to these images and data makes it possible to identify illegal activities in landfills, such as the burning of waste or the dumping of dangerous substances.
  • Investigation of illegal landfills: The large number of illegal landfills and the size of the territory make it difficult for authorities to collect evidence of illegal activity at landfills. AI can be used to analyze satellite images to obtain this information and even identify those responsible for these spills.

Both for its detection and its control, it is vital to use companies specialized in geospatial information technology to guarantee rapid, agile and effective detection, capable of maximizing the resources used.

The advantages of artificial intelligence in the management of illegal landfills

Clandestine garbage deposits, the abandonment of industrial waste or maritime dumping are some of the main causes of the formation of these landfills. Whatever the causes of its creation, it is essential to address this problem to ensure the health of people and the sustainability of the ecosystem.

In this context, the application of satellite images and artificial intelligence (AI) represents great advantages over detection through field work. Efficiency, combined with precision about the location and size of illegal landfills, allow authorities to take action quickly and easily. We must not forget that all this results in a considerable reduction in costs.

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