The Environmental Protection Department uses drones in combatting illegal deposition of waste and landfilling activities
- Promotion of I&T Adoption in the Government
- Environmental Protection Department
Illegal deposition of construction and demolition (C&D) waste and landfilling activities in rural areas not only damage land condition but also adversely affect the environment, especially at the “Conservation Area” and “Site of Special Scientific Interest”. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) discovered that some recidivistic polluters began to arrange observers and even installed CCTVs at tactical locations, helping offenders to escape from the scene before the arrival of enforcement officers.
To tackle this situation, the EPD starts deploying drones with powerful zooming capability to surveil remotely the offence act of illegal deposition of C&D waste and landfilling of the polluters from the air. The drone is equipped with advanced devices such as 200x zoom 4K cameras, enabling distance monitoring without the awareness of the polluters. The appearance and license plate are photographed, so that the polluters have nowhere to hide.
With the application of such powerful drones, investigators of the EPD can intercept the polluters more efficiently and effectively. Since the introduction of the smart equipment in the middle of 2020, the department has successfully prosecuted 21 cases of illegal waste disposal in Nam Sang Wai and Lut Chau, Yuen Long, an increase of 1.1 times compared with the 10 cases before the introduction of the smart equipment. There was no such activity found in these areas from the middle of 2021 to the first half of 2022.
We need to keep open-minded for exploring and adapting to the use of smart equipment. Time is really needed for the frontline colleagues to enhance their technique in using advanced technology, which will eventually help enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of enforcement. Moreover, I&T enhancement would be a continuous process in order to catch up with the technology of the polluters.