AI to Fight Waste Dumps: Experience Gained by Moscow Region and Urbantech Group Discussed in Moscow City Duma

A round table on “Fighting Unauthorized Waste Dumps Through The Lense of New Administrative Penalties” was hosted by the Moscow City Duma as a forum where deputies, representatives of government agencies and the business community discussed certain matters around the situation with unauthorized waste dumps in the Moscow Region in the light of the recent amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences. One more matter discussed at the meeting was the capability to employ unattended automatic equipment to register industrial and household waste handling offences.
According to the Moscow Region’s Ministry of Ecology, every year, the Moscow agglomeration generates approximately 50 million tons of construction waste, six times more than the Moscow Region’s annual volumes of municipal solid waste. Vitaly Mosin, First Deputy Minister of Ecology for the Moscow Region, noted that construction waste management processes used to be obscure and very loosely controlled which resulted in numerous violations during waste transportation and disposal.

From 1 March 2021, a construction waste management reform took off in the Moscow Region. The Ministry launched the “CDESW E-Ticket, Moscow Region’s Geoinformation System” in which waste trucks are registered. CDESW (Construction, Demolition and Excavated Soil Waste) is now transported only if an e-ticket is available. Every truck is equipped with a global satellite navigation system that allows to track its position in real time, making the entire route visible, from the construction site to the landfill. Urbantech Group became the operator of this violation tracking system.
“Over just two years of the “CDESW Control” waste removal and disposal digital control system operation, the Regional Government, jointly with the Urbanetch Group as the operator, have succeeded in bringing down the number of unauthorized waste dumps by 57%, reducing the number of community complaints and saving more than 67 million rubles for the budget,: Vitaly Mosin explained.
“The system that we developed and implemented jointly with the Moscow Region’s Ministry of Ecology employs artificial intelligence and machine vision technologies to monitor construction waste transportation. The system makes use of already installed traffic enforcement cameras so that it “sees” the trucks carrying construction waste, monitors their routes and registers any violations, thereby preventing unauthorized dumping of such waste outside specifically designated landfills. Since its launch in 2021, the system has brought about significant environmental improvements in the Moscow Region, making this region a leader in terms of environmental performance. In particular, the number of illegal construction waste dumps in the region was reduced by almost 60%. At the same time, the system’s flexible architecture provides for its possible roll-out across Russia’s other regions,” added Alexander Vlasov, Urbantech Group’s Chief Sales Officer.
The traffic enforcement cameras enable recognition of a vehicle’s license plate number. The neural network analyzes the image and determines whether the vehicle is a waste truck and whether it is carrying waste at the moment. Artificial intelligence is capable of tracking whether the vehicle visited the landfill. If at some point the system finds that a waste-carrying truck did not visit the landfill but moves along without construction waste in the dump body, the Moscow Region Ecology Ministry’s inspection officers will be notified that the situation requires further investigation.

The Moscow Region Ecology Ministry representatives added that since the beginning of 2023, 420 penalty orders have been issued on account of unlawful construction waste and soil transportation cases, including 315 orders against legal entities, and 105, against private individuals. The total amount of penalties assessed was in excess of 31 million rubles.