Leveraging AI and IoT for environmental sustainability can help maximize our current efforts for environmental protection. According to a 2018 report by Intel, 74% of 200 business decision-makers in environmental sustainability agreed that AI would help solve environmental problems.
Using IoT and AI for reducing e-waste
Millions of electronic devices are discarded without proper disposal. Billions of dollars are wasted every year for proper disposal or recycling of used parts of discarded devices. To mitigate the issue of improper disposal of redundant electronic devices, companies like Apple use recycled materials or materials which have a low harmful impact on the environment. The amalgamation of hardware and software can prove beneficial for environmental protection. Major companies can use AI and IoT for environmental sustainability along with eco-friendly hardware to reduce the generation of e-waste. With proper techniques in place, the discarded devices can be refurbished and reused, saving millions of dollars for the enterprise in the manufacturing of new products.
Using IoT and AI, businesses can develop systems to monitor their hardware. The system can detect and notify the consumer if the life cycle of a part is over or has turned faulty and guide the consumer through replacement procedures. An efficient IoT based AI-driven system can help decrease our carbon footprint.
Applying IoT and AI for agricultural sustainability
Soil pollution is a major issue faced today due to population growth, intensive farming, and other activities. Two hundred fifty thousand deaths occur every year all over the world due to pesticide poisoning. Food production is the key to sustenance of human life on earth. Application of AI and IoT for environmental sustainability includes methods to monitor crops and soil and maximize crop production with a low impact on the environment. IoT and AI technologies have the potential to transform traditional agricultural practices. They pave the way for safer agricultural methods and ultimately benefit people’s health. Smart monitoring devices and sensors can be attached to crops to monitor their growth constantly. Anomalies can be detected and resolved immediately. Parameters such as hydration, plant nutrition, and diseases can be monitored in real-time. The data can then be utilized to determine irrigation patterns and recommend the best watering cycles. A better variety of crops having high nutritional content can be farmed using AI, which can also lower our use of harmful pesticides.
Leveraging IoT and AI for species protection
Many animal species have become extinct or are on the brink of extinction. This is a huge problem affecting the bio-diversity of the planet. IoT and AI can be used to study animal behavioral patterns, such as migration, mating, and feeding habits. AI technologies like computer vision enable the monitoring of these species non-invasively. Advanced AI and vision techniques help detect animals in pictures from cameras placed to track and study animal movements. A US based company uses computer vision to detect footprints of rhinos, cheetahs, and other endangered species to identify, track, and determine circumstances that threaten them.
AI can help protect large forest areas by monitoring them using AI-enabled drones. The data collected can be used to map the area and monitor changes. Species detection, forest coverage area, and poaching routes can be tracked using AI-enabled systems. A major area in which IoT and AI can be used is to stop poaching of animals by monitoring known poaching paths. Camera or even motion sensors connected to a network can help in bringing down poaching activities significantly.
Using IoT and AI for cleaner air
According to a report by the WHO, 97% of cities in low- and middle- income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. Air pollution can cause chronic and respiratory problems like asthma and such fatal diseases as lung cancer. IoT and AI can provide tools to monitor air pollution in real-time. The tools can identify sources of air pollution quickly and accurately. For example, the source of a gas leak in an industry can be identified using smart sensors and remedial measures can be applied effectively. Government organizations and commercial enterprises can benefit hugely by using IoT and AI technologies to monitor air purity levels and alert employees if air quality falls below a certain level. With further advancements in the technology, IoT and AI can be utilized to reduce harmful emissions released in our surroundings in the first place. Another area in which IoT and AI can help reduce air pollution is the automotive sector. The technologies enable autonomous cars to be fuel-efficient. AI-enabled traffic lights, too, can contribute to reducing air pollution. They can use machine vision to adjust to the flow of traffic, minimizing the driving time. One such system is already in place at some intersections in Pittsburgh where it has already reduced the travel time by 25 percent.
Using IoT and AI for maximizing renewable energy technologies
Renewable energy technologies are already useful in cutting down environmentally hazardous activities. Applying IoT and AI machinery to existing practices can help maximize the benefits of renewable energy methods. It will help make renewable energy solutions like solar panels and wind turbines more efficient and cost-effective. Smart grid technologies will change the way electricity is produced and distributed to homes, offices, and everywhere else. These grids give energy providers a better understanding of power usage and provide the ability to make real-time adjustments for efficiency. The process of delivering energy will be improved thanks to IoT devices that use artificial intelligence that reduces the amount of energy wasted when it’s in transmission lines. This will lower our dependence on fossil fuels, hopefully eliminating their need completely.
Applying IoT and AI for water preservation
Human exploitation of natural resources have had a harmful impact on major water bodies. Trash levels in our oceans are higher than ever before. Safeguarding our oceans from being polluted becomes a major responsibility when using AI and IoT for environmental sustainability. Autonomous garbage collection trucks, powered by AI, are helping us get rid of the trash from oceans. Machine learning can also help assess the changing conditions that harm the ocean, such as illegal fishing, discharging industrial effluents into water bodies, and illegal solid waste disposal by the local people. IoT and AI can also help improve the water quality by monitoring pollution levels in real-time to determine if any illegal activities are hampering the water quality
As a society, we continue to face enormous environmental challenges. The use of AI and IoT for environmental sustainability is proving to be one of the most useful tools in our fight for environmental balance. Business organizations can implement IoT and AI in their processes to act more responsibly towards the environment.