WITH the country’s sustainable development players having been rewarded last week, it is imperative to talk about the internet of things (IoT), in the context of revolutionising waste management systems in Namibia.
With this in mind, it’s possible to imagine that in the future, smart African cities, inclusive of Windhoek, will be able to achieve zero waste, improve services to citizens and reduce municipality operational costs, thanks to smarter, more efficient waste collection systems.
The global technology revolution is transforming how we think about waste management.
The influx of people to extended urban areas of poverty and the consumption of products are only some of the things that are fuelling waste generation across the continent.
With higher population growth rates and increased consumer demands and consumption, a new connected approach is required. Global shaping of technology means that waste management practices and systems can be enhanced for government, service providers and consumers.
A crucial part of this revolution is making sure that poor and developing countries also tap into the changes and trends in technology, which are emerging in the waste management industry, as the population growth in developing countries, and in Africa specifically, is the largest in the world.
The internet of things can help us provide integrated, timeous and sustainable solutions. We’re moving towards creating a circular economy for waste management, with the help of technology, which includes a cradle-to-cradle approach, as well as relooking at how we can reuse and recycle products, components and materials, to reduce the use of natural resources.
Smart cities of the future will integrate technology, connectivity and communication, to share data that can help with several waste management processes, such as optimising the routes that garbage disposal vehicles follow for waste collection and removal, together with automating operations, through sensors on garbage bins signalling that collection is needed when the bins are full.
The data that this automated process generates can transmit information in real-time to a control centre, to guide the driver on routes to take, collection points, bins to collect, traffic situations, estimated times for collection, as well as provide analytical information on this process to determine the cost of waste collection per kilometre. After the bins are collected, then information on the waste types can be analysed to determine, for example, which bins need to go to recycling centres or to disposal sites. The information can be used to inform and provide clients with invoicing information simultaneously, via Cloud. This is already happening on smaller scales in other parts of the world, and it’s time for Namibia to follow suit.
Imperatively, waste management suppliers and experts need to work towards fostering a collaborative approach to finding solutions for the challenges that confront government.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015