Digital solid waste management technology
Solid waste management is becoming a major public health and environmental concern in urban and semi-urban areas of many developing cities in developing countries. The situation in Kenya, particularly in cities like Kisumu, is experiencing a severe sanitation problem caused by the poor waste management system. The public sector in many cities in Kenya are unable to deliver services effectively, regulation of the private sector is limited and illegal dumping of domestic and hospital waste is a common practice. In general, since the emergence of COVID 19 pandemic, plastic waste and testing kits, face masks, and gloves management is given a very low priority in African countries. As a result, very limited funds are provided to the solid waste management sector from the clinic sector by the governments, and the levels of services required for the protection of public health and the environment are not attained. The problem is acute at the local government level where the local taxation system is inadequately developed and, therefore, the financial basis for public services, including solid waste management, is weak. Improper and untimely solid waste collection and management leads to substantial negative environmental impacts (for example, pollution of air, soil and water, and generation of greenhouse gases from landfills), health and safety problems (such as diseases spread by insects and rodents attracted by garbage heaps, and diseases associated with different forms of pollution) and more so contributes to coronavirus as a result of complicated hygiene. Municipal (or local) authorities charged with the responsibility of providing municipal solid waste management services (together with other municipal services) have found it increasingly difficult to play their role. Waste disposal in urban areas has remained a great menace to the municipalities despite various measures. Solid waste production is relative to population size, location, and income level, thus proper waste management techniques participatory is vital for efficiency.
Since it is impossible for households and clinical sectors not to produce waste, the digital waste management technology will provide the communities with the timely information system, where we use short messaging system(S.M.S) in the mobile phone application, to transfer communications from the households, hospitals, industries, and institutions to our centralized database server giving information on the condition of the waste bin in their compound and after the household, consumer clicking the ” ready for collection button” in the designed mobile application, then we get the information in our server and send the contracted “waste collector company ” to go for the garbage and take it to the appropriate dumping site.
Every household in the town setup is provided with a unique number (identification Number) which shows the location, street, and household number, clinic center numbers of every person/ institution in the project piloting program. We ensure that waste collected within these sites is separated and treated before it is collected on time to avoid spillage and leakages and thus reduces the risk of the spread of coronavirus infections. With the availability of a short messaging system(SMS), we map Kisumu town and develop a system of waste collection routes, this, is intended to minimize waste collection truck transport costs. Timely collection of waste will minimize waste pillaging and spillage on waste collection sites within residential, clinics and working areas this will reduce risk of diseases that might spread through minimizing germs from waste collection sites to the population through water, food contamination and this will also reduce waste pilling in the water drainage system and which contributes in complicating hygiene within the city.
The origin of the project
The project idea has been developed by Wagai environmental science and development team(WESDEP) in Kenya and we hope to work with other innovators and investors to scale it up to major towns in the country and also to benefit other developing countries in the globe. We truly believe that innovative ideas, alongside greater public-private partnership, is key to the solution for a truly integrated, systematic, and coordinated solution to waste management during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project aims to achieve a healthy environment and sustainable waste management in the community by improving solid waste collection and transportation of waste services from COVID-19 isolation centers.
The Digital Waste Management project also strives to maximize waste recovery through quick information technology and thus to reduce the COVID 19 pandemic infection and environmental degradation caused by plastic and other solid waste by the Lake Victoria region in 3 years hoping to benefit 900,000 households and private sectors which includes both men, women, youths, children, and people with disabilities. By using SMS methods to manage biodégradable waste, we can minimize waste that needs to be disposed of in centralized landfills, thus reducing the environmental impact of disposal sites. We have come to realize that the success of these innovative solutions significantly relies on the environmental consciousness of residents. As such, it is important to motivate and inform people about the importance of managing and recycling waste. This is where digital waste management technology comes in. It will function as a waste management information hub, which will help users to properly manage the waste they generate. Besides, it is important to have a medium where new waste management policies and solutions can be communicated to each member of a community. The objective of Digital waste management technology is also to encourage decision-makers in government, local authorities and local industries to develop and adopt policies, strategies, and practices that are cleaner and safer, make efficient use of technical resources, ensure environmentally sound management of waste, and reduce pollution and risks for humans and the environment. It functions as a waste payment app as well as a hub to access local information and policies on waste management. Another feature of the technology is the waste collection and recycling dates reminder. It will in the future also help users identify recyclable wastes as well as locate recycling centers closest to them. Also, users can use this app to monitor and track waste pickups. Therefore, it will be easy for users to keep track of the amount they spend on disposing of trash. Besides, it seeks to enable the implementation of conventions and international agreements and encourage the internalization and reduction of environmental waste management costs. The Wagai environmental science and development (WESDEP) program strategy in carrying out these objectives is to influence decision-making through partnerships with other national and international organizations, governmental authorities, business and industry, and non-governmental organizations to facilitate knowledge management through networks; support the implementation of the digital waste management technology.
The Digital waste management technology is in its first year of piloting stage in Kisumu and on achieving the desired results, Kisumu in Kenya, becomes a vision for other urban areas but eventually will translate to a competition to be the best in the solid waste management system in the country in combating COVID 19 pandemic and also to other developing countries. Prizing for the best could be introduced to encourage innovation by the public to clinch the award and to adapt to the new technology. This will enhance cohesiveness and unity among the public institutions, private sectors, and the government.
In close partnership with the government of Kenya and other relevant authorities, the project will cease to be an individual goal but a national call which can translate to international levels of solid waste management sustainability
Wecycle App functionalty
The app will employ a conversational interface that will provide people simple information on how to segregate and compost at home, make it easy to connect to their closest Karchokoyugi(dumpsite), as well as allow them to sign up for local events like composting and kitchen gardening workshops. Another important function of the app is that it will recommend prices that different types of recyclable materials should be sold to help residents get good prices for their materials.
Once the dumpsites have been mapped, and the app is ready, we plan to hold awareness drives in neighborhoods- encouraging them to segregate their waste at home, compost and sell their recyclables to their local dumpsite.
In the future, We could expand this service to be a reverse eBay provider, where dumpsite advertise prices for waste streams so that people can shop around and get the best prices for their waste in their neighborhood? That would be a great addition to the app and people would use it to sell their waste at the highest market prices to the dumpsite
Besides, incorporating ‘green waste’ – i.e. food waste and RO water waste into the plan -organize demos and workshops for people to discard the green waste for further use in horticulture.
Also, a lot of toxic wastes are currently thrown into the regular garbage, things like batteries, sharps ( needles), oils, etc. There are no places to dispose of these safely. This requires the participation of the government for waste management integration.