Sucess Stories

Satellite Earth Observation data provides regions with waste monitoring services to improve waste management practices

A waste mapping and monitoring service to improve waste management practices and to detect illegal landfills using satellite Earth Observation data is tested by the Environmental Protection Agency of Puglia region and by Conversano, a small town located in Puglia.

Service provider: Planetek Italia srl
User/Customer: ARPA Puglia
EOservice: Land -Use Land-Cover Analysis
If you are interested in finding out more about this service please click here for more information.
Source: Planetek

According to the EU Waste Framework Directive (European Directive 2006/12/EC), waste is defined as “any substance or object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard”.

Waste may be broadly classified in three ways:
- Hazardous waste that usually meets one or more of these four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity;
- Non-hazardous waste;
- Inert waste

Waste can be disposed of in a number of ways, including landfill, incineration, recycling, mechanical biological treatment (anaerobic digestion and/or composting), pyrolysis and plasma arc gasification.

The management for non-hazardous residential and institutional waste in urban areas, including collection, disposal and planning aspects , are usually the responsibility of local government authorities.

At the national level, EU legislation (through Council Directive 75/442/EEC on waste) requires each Member State to draw up one or more waste management plans in compliance with relevant EU directives, which are implemented by regional or local authorities. Each individual Member State has the duty to apply the principles of these directives when implementing a national waste management system.

The “Ronchi” decree (Waste Management Act 22/77), published in February 1997 and the subsequent revisions of this Act, regulated the management of waste in Italy at the national level, forbidding uncontrolled landfills and stipulating that every region must have a waste management plan. Despite the EU directive of 1999, which limited the use of landfills, this practice remains the main method of waste disposal in Italy.

The project offers waste mapping and monitoring services aimed at improving the environment, protecting human health and increasing efficiency in waste management across Europe and Canada. The services are based upon the use of remote sensing satellites coupled with the expertise of scientists.

Wastemon is based mainly upon very high-resolution applications, hyperspectral and thermal satellite imagery, and to a lesser extent on differential interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). These technologies are applied to filter areas with potential buried and surface waste as well as monitoring active landfill sites.

Following analysis of user requirements and business opportunities for EO data in waste, the following four services are offered:

* Service 1A – Detection of sites with potential buried waste

* Service 1B – Support for in-situ investigations and monitoring of sites known to have buried waste

* Service 2 – Detection of sites with potential surface waste

* Service 3 – Mapping active landfills

Planetek Italia has implemented some of the aforesaid services by developing products for a municipality located 30 km south-east of Bari in Puglia Region (south Italy).

The WorldView-2 VHR images taken in April 2011 which included multi-spectral and panchromatic bands were selected. The user provided the updated land-use map issued in July 2011, as ancillary data useful during the next step, and an ortophoto taken in 2006.

An object-based classification was performed on the basis of the spectral response of the sample area waste sites. The result was a preliminary land-cover map that identified potential illegal waste sites. The land-cover information and the road-network was used to filter out such preliminary results, building a sort of probability map based on selective criteria such as distance from the road network of less than 100m; distance from existing landfills, etc. The co-occurrence of the parameters related to the previous criteria makes the probability of finding illegal sites very high and allows the confirmation of the waste sites mapped from the preliminary EO data processing.

A first validation check was performed by on-screen qualitative analysis on the basis of the VHR image available over the area of interest (WorldView-2 image and ortophoto). Then a field-survey was performed in order to assess the plausibility of the output result. Figure 2, which shows images taken during the field survey, confirms the occurrence of illegal waste sites. Over 10 potential illegal waste sites were mapped in the area of interest, and a sample of 5 sites were selected to be visited physically. The field survey confirmed the occurrence of illegal waste sites in 4 of these therefore resulting in an accuracy of 80%.