Mobile technology is aiding garbage management in Nairobi

Our solution in Nairobi - powered by IBM technology

After a plan to reorganize the garbage collection in the city failed in 2010, the Nairobi city council is at it again, this time with the help of technology from IBM.

Fitting all waste collection trucks with mobile phones, modified with a gyroscope and accelerometer is helping to boost garbage collection in Nairobi city due to better use of vehicles. IBM Africa will be using these tools that make the trucks act as “data-collection ants” and possibly to locate where the driver is, or at least where the truck is. What's more, real-time data will also be collected from these vehicles in regard to the amount of fuel used at a given time, the distance covered, time and place spent idling, and the routes used by the driver.

Image: Trucks arrive at the Dandora dumpsite ready to unload

Already, the county government is realizing the benefits of this public-private partnership with IBM, with the tonnage of garbage collected increasing to 1,400 metric tonnes from 800 metric tonnes per day according to Mr Ondieki.

IBM Research Africa is going forward with the project, with a mobile app on its way. In an attempt to boost the Waste management system that will cost taxpayers Sh1 billion per month, the company is planning to launch a mobile application that will make it possible to map garbage collection routes better. The application will see data collected through the waste management system monitored from a main server at the office.

IBM researcher Aisha Walcott Bryant  said while demonstrating how the app works that the app, which will be fitted on garbage collection trucks, will allow automatic monitoring of a number of factors including driver behavior, fuel usage, time spent in collecting garbage, time spent on traffic, speed bumps and potholes. Through this data, the Nairobi County government will have a better chance to plan for improved garbage collection initiatives and make better decisions. The smart devices are now being employed to monitor 10 garbage collection vehicles.

IBM research Africa launched the first commercial research lab in Africa, an initiative helping developing countries in energy, water & agriculture, healthcare, and education and financial inclusion areas.

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