Researchers from Tel Aviv University have used drones for the first time in their war on illegal waste dumping.
They mapped four sites in the north of Israel, analyzed the waste, and say the economic value of recycling it instead would have been NIS 200 million ($56 million).
“Our study shows that by integrating existing aerial mapping technologies, with economic- environmental models, we can promote recycling of illegal waste and save public funds,” said Dr. Vered Blass, of the Porter School of Environment and Earth Sciences, who led the study.
“Instead of paying landfill fees and polluting the soil, the waste may be recycled at a lower cost while reducing environmental damage.
“The idea behind the study was to try and adopt the principles of a circular economy that promotes strategies for savings in resources for reuse, repair, remanufacture, and recycling of materials and products.
“By using these principles, we sought to save the authorities a lot of money – instead of paying high landfill fees for all the illegal construction waste, which can be recycled.”
Currently, local authorities measure the amount of waste and collect it, transport it to an authorized treatment facility, and clean and rehabilitate the contaminated soil.
This is an expensive process requiring significant budgetary spending by municipalities, who then raise taxes on citizens.
The researchers mapped a total of 3,600 square meters, categorized the types of waste, and analyzed the economic value of the waste compared with landfilling.
They believe that their study provides missing data that may be useful to the state, local authorities, commercial companies and contractors, as well as companies that monitor and manage recycled waste and raw materials.
The study was published in the international journal Remote Sensing.