Solid Waste in the Virtual World: A Digital Twinning Approach for Waste Collection Planning

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Solid waste (SW) management is a crucial challenge for urban sustainability. With global waste generation exceeding two billion metric tons every year, it poses various negative impacts, including health risks and environmental contamination. Despite not being a primary SDG, addressing SW management is essential for achieving several goals, as it relates to 12 out of 17 SDGs. South Africa, in particular, struggles with issues as large generation, and inadequate waste collection services. To address these challenges, a dynamic model incorporating real-time monitoring, optimized collection routes, and citizen participation is proposed. This study case involves a real-time citizen engagement method to locate, identify, and visualize SW containers and littering sites via open-source tool called Epicollect5 based on geospatial information. This can be considered as a first step towards a Digital Twin for SW management. In a three-day data collection campaign, a total of 1270 containers and 820 littering sites were identified. The result show inadequate distribution of containers in public spaces, highlighting the need for citizen involvement in reporting container information to achieve a comprehensive understanding of their distribution. Additionally, the concentration of litter reports in peripheral park areas emphasizes the importance of providing well-distributed containers and prompt maintenance. The inclusion of photographs in reports helps identify areas requiring immediate attention, while citizen participation mitigates challenges associated with location accuracy and resource requirements. Digital twinning, multi-stakeholder engagement, and citizen participation provide insights into waste container distribution and combating illegal dumping. This approach benefits lower-income countries with limited resources, improving SW management practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecent Advances in 3D Geoinformation Science - Proceedings of the 18th 3D GeoInfo Conference
EditorsThomas H. Kolbe, Andreas Donaubauer, Christof Beil
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-43699-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-43698-7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2024

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography
ISSN (Print)1863-2246
ISSN (Electronic)1863-2351


  • 2024 OA procedure
  • Solid Waste
  • Citizen participation
  • Digital Twins


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