Lombardy Region: hazardous waste management using satnav

The region

In accordance with European and Italian regulations, the Lombardy Region is in charge of supervising waste management and transnational transport in its territory. Within the General Direction for Territory and Urban Planning, the Structure for Waste Authorisations and Innovations is responsible for authorising waste treatment and disposal, regulating the shipping of waste towards foreign countries and overseeing the scoping of ways to optimise the execution of these tasks through innovative solutions.

The challenge

The volume of hazardous industrial waste transported from the origin to the treatment plants has increased for decades. One of the main issues for Lombardy and other regions has been to avoid illegal industrial and hazardous waste transport and disposal.

The satellite solution

In 2007, the Region created the Information System for the Transnational Transport of Waste (S.I.T.T. – Sistema Informativo per i Trasporti Transfrontalieri di Rifiuti). S.I.T.T. allows for the complete dematerialisation of the administrative records submitted by the waste-management companies (including itineraries, weight of transported cargos, and departure and arrival dates and times). The registered companies’ trucks and cargos are equipped with low cost GPS receivers, which automatically transfer in real-time the recorded data from the vehicles to the control centre, via the GSM/GPRS mobile communication network. This permits permanent tracking of the vehicles’ position and of the itinerary actually run in real time and to detect immediately eventual changes of cargos. The system is based on GPS Lombardia (www.gpslombardia.it), the regional network of permanent satellite navigation signal stations for public and private entities, which improves the accuracy of the basic GPS signal.

The result

The system is currently in its pre-operational phase: since 2008, 200 vehicles including trucks and trailers are monitored on a daily basis, most of them travelling from Italy to Germany, Eastern Europe and the Netherlands through Austria and Switzerland.

The registered companies benefit from real-time monitoring of their fleet and freight without paying for the service or the equipment. By digitalising the waste authorisation process, the web component permits considerable savings in time and money both for the region and for the transport companies. Since each cargo is equipped with a GPS receiver corresponding to the relevant truck, the system immediately detects if a cargo is illicitly transported to a different destination from the original.

The region is currently looking for possible partnerships to continue financing the system and extend its coverage. 

Satellite navigation allows us to monitor vehicles transporting hazardous waste in real-time and with a high level of accuracy”. Dario Sciunnach, Regione Lombardia, D.G. Territorio e Urbanistica.