An estimated 32% of India’s 1.33 billion citizens live in urban areas, and this number is expected to rise to 50% by 2050. This puts a strain on the urban infrastructure in our country and accentuates the existing challenges of corruption, apathy and operational delays and deadlocks. With the government of India announcing 100 smart cities by 2022, there is a need for solutions to the current problems plaguing our corporations.
Smart cities use technology and automation to aid in governance and public department work. Utilising IOT and 5G-enabled automation, solutions in terms of usage, modelling, and cost will raise the standard of living for the citizens.
According to the Central Pollution Board of India, 1.28 lakh tons of solid waste was generated every day in 2012, out of which only 70% was collected and 12.5% processed or treated. The SWM or Solid Waste Management Cycle includes five steps: generation, collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal. All stages have numerous challenges, the main ones including segregation of bio-degradable and plastic waste. Treatment of waste includes composting and waste-to-energy treatment. Landfilling is the last option and must be limited to only non-biodegradable waste and inert waste.
Steps can be taken to integrate IOT-enabled sensors with waste collection bins, which transmit data such as weight and volume to a central server. These bins when transported can also be tracked to ensure that all waste is getting collected. Methods to differentiate and segregate waste can also be developed using machine learning and AI-enabled mechanisms to enable automating this arduous task. Composting and tracking can be done without human intervention.
To summarise, the need of the hour is the adoption of inventive and innovative solutions to solve the problem of disposal in our country. This will be an integral part of every smart city system that needs significant research and management to function efficiently.