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Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfill Site Selection using GIS and Remote Sensing

Techniques – Sargodha District


1. Introduction / Background: -
Solid waste management is a complex issue and it becomes more complex in developing cities
where resources to manage solid waste are limited and community awareness regarding waste
reduction and reuse/recycling is not better. Local bodies with many difficulties and less
opportunities are unable to handle waste generated by ever growing population in urban areas.
To keep the city environment hygienic and healthy there is a need of better solid waste
management. One relatively better solution for waste management in developing cities with lack
of resources is building an open landfill site which can save city area from health issues created
by unmanaged waste and keep the city clean.
Waste can be generated in solid, liquid or gaseous form and all types are treated differently.
Solid waste comprises of different household left overs is considered Municipal Solid Waste
(MSW). Sources of MSW include domestic, commercial, industrial and construction wastes etc.
All this waste requires a systematic management from generation point to disposal for a
sustainable environment. Waste management starts from its collection and no waste left
uncollected in developed countries but in Pakistan it is about 60% or less waste that is collected
in most cities. A large amount of waste is meant to be thrown in open spaces and roadsides.
The easiest, economical and generally implemented method in developing countries, to keep the
urban/populated areas clean, is collection of waste and dumping into an open land depression
which is called landfill. In comparison with open landfills, engineered landfills with leachate
preventative measures and collection system for harmful gases are safe for public health but
expensive to build and operate hence not adopted in developing countries. Even in most
developed city of Punjab i.e. Lahore landfills are just open dumping sites lacking any advanced
facilities. A landfill site has to be proposed in view of rules and regulation of environment and
public health authorities. Social, economic and health issues are driving factors of such selection
thus making it a difficult task in developing countries where resources are fewer and proper
planning and strict implementation of law is lacking. Intelligent use of limited funds is necessary
to address landfills related environmental issues.
GIS technologies are now well known and capable enough to handle large amounts of spatial
and attribute data in quick and systematic way. GIS technologies are an intelligent choice for
site selection process. Analyzing multiple criteria with their geographic aspect can convert the
complicated data into understandable, meaningful quality information to overcome or minimize
delays and inaccuracies in decision making for such problems.
2. Problem Statement
A Landfill is the ultimate destination of waste despite of all waste reduction, recycling and
reusing strategies. With rapid increase in population and in return high consumption rate of
commodities, waste production is multiplied worldwide and waste management problems are
increased accordingly. Selection of a landfill site to satisfy all stakeholders and address related
environmental issues is a difficult task in which modern geospatial techniques can help.
3. Objectives
 Understanding the present situation of Waste Management in the Study Area.
 Assessment of the need for Solid Waste Landfill Site in the Study Area.
 Selection of an optimal Landfill site using GIS and Remote Sensing Techniques.
4. Materials and Methods
4.1. Study Area – Sargodha District / Division
4.2. Dataset Required
Data regarding landfill site selection criteria will be collected from all relevant departments.
Open source data would be used for Remote Sensing and GIS based analysis.
4.3. Methodological Flow Chart
The approach adopted for the study is represented in the flow chart diagram below: -

Defining Selection Criteria

Data Acquisition

Vector Data Preparation for Analysis

LULC Map Base Map Groundwater Depth Points

Buffer Zones Generation IDW for GW depth Map

Individual Suitability Maps Reclassify / Vector Map

Overlay of all Maps

Overall Suitability Map

Overlay LULC Map

Identify Suitable LULC

Overlay GW Depth Map

Identify Suitable Water Depth

Final Suitability Map

Selection of Landfill Site

Numbers of criteria have to be considered before reaching a practical solution for Landfill site
selection. Proximity criteria will include distance from settlement / populated areas, road
network, railway line, surface water (rivers, canals, nallahs etc.). Groundwater depth would be
considered to avoid groundwater contamination due to landfill leachate. Land use classes
derived from satellite image classification would be analyzed to find suitable sites. Main focus
will be on identification of open land meeting all other criteria for building a landfill.
5. Expected Outcomes:
Analysis of the study area using Satellite Imagery and GIS analysis techniques will result into
some sites which would meet all requirements set in the selection criteria and also satisfies all
stakeholders including administrative bodies, local population etc. From the available options
some (2 to 3) optimal sites would be suggested to the decision makers keeping in view the
operational and economic viability.