Monitoring Landfill Sites (Legal and Illegal)


December 1st, 2020


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The Challenge

The ever growing consumerist society that is spreading around the world has a highly detrimental impact upon the planet. Decades of production, use and disposal of goods has led to significant volume of waste, usually without adequate frameworks to enable effective reuse of the material. This not only represents an incredibly wasteful use of natural resources, but this waste has to be disposed of and in many parts of the world the storage solutions are woefully insufficient. The environmental impact of these sites can be significant with leaching of toxic substances into the soil and water table, the emission of greenhouse gasses, and the destruction of land that could otherwise be used for something far more productive (both for the site itself and the surrounding areas).

A growing global population, coupled with an increasing demand for finite resources as economies grow means that this problem will become significantly worse unless pro-active measures are taken. There is an increased recognition of the need to shift from a linear to a circular economy, where waste is “designed-out” via the planned reuse of the raw material at the end-of-life of the goods. It will, however, take time for this to become ubiquitous in the most wealthy of countries, and even longer in regions of the world where such initiatives are less likely to be funded. The existing landfill sites will still require monitoring and action being taken to minimise their impact.

Similarly, the monitoring of historical landfill sites can be a high priority, particularly in areas where building on top of former landfill sites has occurred. One extreme example is the rapid and large landslips that happened in La Paz, Bolivia in 2019 as a result of heavy rain in an area built on top of old waste sites, forcing 88 families to lose their homes.

Our Solution

Using our technology we can identify the location and size of existing landfill sites anywhere in the world, and we can estimate:

  • whether these are active or historical landfill locations
  • the rate of expansion of the sites
  • the stability of the site, in particular where there has been redevelopment on top of an old landfill
  • ongoing monitoring for the identification of greenhouse gas emissions from larger locations
  • any negative environmental impact/change of the surrounding area that could be caused by the landfill site