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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Uses Advanced Tech to Manage Waste

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment is exploring using emerging technologies to more effectively manage large amounts of waste generated from the city. Applying information technology is an inevitable trend and increasingly popular for environmental protection, the Director of the Department’s Information Technology Centre, Bui Hong Son, recently said.

The city generates about 9,500 tonnes of domestic waste each day, equivalent to about 3 million tonnes per year. Waste management involves the collecting, storing, transporting, treating, and disposing of waste in an environmentally safe way. Collecting, transporting and treating huge amounts of waste poses several challenges to the city authorities, who believe advanced technologies will enhance performance.

Since June, the Centre has been working with a private player on a pilot programme using a software application to manage waste. Users can download and install the app on their iOS or Android devices to register for waste collection (including bulk waste collection), pay fees, monitor garbage truck routes, and even give feedback on waste services. The app is widely used by private waste collectors in District 7’s Binh Thuan, Tan Quy, Tan Thuan Dong, and Tan Thuan Tay wards.

A digital map for solid waste collection in the city is also being developed. It offers information about routes, the velocity and status of garbage trucks, waste collection points, and waste treatment stations. Additionally, last year, 14 waste collection units in the city’s Go Vap district began using an app that digitises waste management and allows users to make online payments for waste collection services in the district. With an online waste market, the app allows scrap dealers and owners of waste to connect. Sellers of waste can take pictures of products they want to sell, such as paper and plastics, and post the images on the app. Users can also post information about old items they have and want to donate.

When these software pieces are linked, they will share databases on waste owners, waste transporters, waste treatment organisations, and waste amounts, which will help authorities more efficiently coordinate the process, Bui Hong Son explained. This will reduce the amount of waste being transported to the wrong location or poorly handled. Applying technologies could help landfills and incinerators precisely report the concentration of gases released into the air.

The department also plans to utilise the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) operation model as a foundation for natural resources and environment database sharing. Through these databases, state agencies, private businesses, and individuals can easily develop practical software for waste management.

Other countries across the world are using technologies in innovative ways to manage solid waste treatment. In Singapore, for example, a chip installed into public trash bins can notify waste collectors when to take waste away. Through apps, garbage trucks can identify the shortest route to minimise cost. Better products can also be created from waste by using advanced composting technology. Meanwhile, in India, researchers created a robot to clean septic tanks. The HomoSEP robot can homogenise hard sludge in the tank through a custom-developed rotary blade mechanism and pump the tanking slurry using an integrated suction mechanism.

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