The Swachh Bharat campaign could soon get a digital accessory. The Centre may use its Digital India project in conjunction with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to have solar-powered trash cans like in many US cities which send alerts to sanitation crew once they are full.
If this happens, the question on when to empty trash cans will not remain a guessing game.
Such a solution, which combines solar energy and information technology was launched in the US and 47 other countries by a firm named Big Belly, which was named the 'Top Smart City' application in the 2015 Internet of Things Awards. Waste management is an integral part of India's biggest cleanliness campaign, Swachh Bharat, but the reality is stinking and open dustbins compounded by lack of a smart waste management solution for efficient sorting of waste or identifying recyclable disposed products.
The government has asked for citizens' suggestions to come up with such a waste management solution.
The idea being floated is to use Internet of Things (IoT) — an integration of small devices linked by a web-based system which can send signals through sensors and interact with an online system.
Basically, the government plans a solution for installing such devices on specially-designed trash cans in major urban centres across the country which will be solar-powered to emit signals to the online system once full so that sanitation crews are dispatched to the spot. Big Belly has installed such fully-covered and solar-powered trash receptacles and trash compactors in many cities abroad like New York, Boston, Chicago, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Stockholm.
"Waste management is an important requirement for ecologically sustainable development. Efficient sorting of waste is a major issue in today's society," the government has said in a post on the prime minister's MyGov portal asking for citizen suggestions for such a project. "To assist the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative, projects may be set up to create products which are solar-powered trash receptacle and trash compactor that alerts sanitation crews of municipal authorities, when it is full," the post under Digital India project says, asking for atechnology-based solution to ensure wastes are properly disposed and collected.
"We would like to welcome your ideas on how a smart waste management system using IoT can be implemented in order to achieve the target of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," the government has said.
The trash cans installed by Big Belly abroad communicate with a cloud-based web application for constant updates on their waste levels - they come with an attached bin for recyclable waste. The Indian government is also concerned over an e-waste management solution. "E-Waste (electrical and electronic devices) is of immediate and long term concern as the industry is unregulated and recycling can lead to major environmental degradation posing a major threat to human health," the government post says.
The Prime Minister had launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, 2014 on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti.