Video Monitoring Systems to Prevent Fly-Tipping and Illegal Landfill Sites

„Our initiative has pursued the application of an inexpensive and easy-to-use monitoring system, conceived to reduce the amount of illegally abandoned waste in the municipal area. Besides the effect of maintaining cleanliness in the city and diminishing the cost of sanitation, the system also played a particularly important role in achieving strong synergies between the involved stakeholders.”                                                Patrizia Giancotti, Città metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Dip. to IV „Tutela e Valorizzazione Ambientale”

WHERE: Italy – Città Metropolitana di Roma
WHEN: Ongoing – Contributions for the implementation of the video-monitoring system were awarded between July and October 2017.
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Voluntary/promotional                                                  WASTE STREAMS: Municipal waste

About: In 2017 the Metropolitan City of Rome published a public notice to grant public contributions to municipalities of the metropolitan area undertaking monitoring activities to prevent fly-tipping and illegal landfill sites through the installation of camera traps.


  • Combating fly-tipping by discouraging illegal practices;
  • Protecting the environment;
  • Avoid increasing the waste service costs borne by virtuous citizens;
  • Creating synergies between several stakeholders: public authorities, citizens and monitoring bodies.

Photo Source: Quaderni


1. Knowhow: Identification and mapping of relevant illegal landfill sites within the munici-pal area.
2. Funding/budget: The overall funds involved in the implementation of this practice amounted to €200.000 and were awarded by the metropolitan and regional authorities.
3. Material resources:
– Video-monitoring devices;
– System for managing the video-monitoring equipment.
4. Human resources: public officials involved in the realization of the call for tenders ad-dressed to municipalities and in the evaluation of projects to be financed;
5. Period of implementation: the public notice was published at the beginning of 2016; the projects started at the end of 2017 and are expected to last a minimum of two years. 


Reduction of abandoned waste (ongoing).

An example of successful use of this video monitoring system is Clean Up Frascati Project and particularly Monistreet project – Initiatives for the monitoring of the territory, the urban decoration and the reduction of waste, financed by the Metropolitan City of Rome, for the purpose of combatting the mini illegal landfills (approved in February 2017).

This project not only provided some tools to reward the virtuous actions of the citizens of Frascati (a town in the Metropolitan City of Rome), but also provided the Municipal Administration with these innovative tools to combat the mini abusive landfills – camera traps – which can be positioned in different peripheral areas, will control on areas most exposed at risk.

These technologically advanced instruments are activated by motion sensors and in areas with GSM coverage they can alert the SMS staff when a shot is taken, when the battery is low, or the memory card is full. Different areas of the territory can be controlled at the same time. Also, the locations of monitoring can be changed, as the cameras are repositionable.

Photo made by video surveillance system

Photo Source: Scubla

Urban metabolism relevance

Apart from preventing fly-tipping, a video-monitoring system allows the municipality to impose fines to lawbreakers and therefore to obtain money which can be invested in further waste prevention and management activities, thus creating a virtuous cycle.

This type of technology (video surveillance) was originally created for the monitoring of fauna in order to avoid the poaching or to record the presence and passage of certain animals. In the last years, it has been used for the most varied security reasons, such as monitoring public buildings, abusive landfills, dams, but also to avoid the action of vandals in public gardens and now, for illegal waste practices.[1]



                                                                          The use of monitoring devices significantly reduces the amount of material and human resources necessary for the identification of lawbreakers and the imposition of fines, thus ensuring a more cost-effective system for preventing fly-tipping and illegal landfill sites.

One of the projects is running in Rocca Priora (a small town in the Metropolitan City of Rome). It is called „Monistreet” and uses security cameras for video surveillance and management software also accessible via mobile app. In this way, the Administration aims to effectively combat the emergence of small and large illegal landfills.[3]



Engaged participatory processes

According to the assessment criteria included in the call for tenders, up to 10 points out of 60 were awarded to projects involving more than two type of stakeholders (such as monitoring local bodies, citizens, voluntary associations, etc.).

Also, up to 10 points out of 60 were also awarded to those projects providing for an information campaign targeted at the general public and for a training programme targeted at the municipal employees.

Effective implementation of the projects also requires a broad partnership of social forces

and productive present in the implementation area. In case of Artena and Lariano (2 towns in the Metropolitan City of Rome), a protocol will be activated with:

– The current waste cycle managers in both municipalities

– Civil Protection groups

– Local Police of Artena and Lariano.[2]


[2] file=oggetto_provvedimenti/162371526542O__Oprogetto+fototrappolaggio.pdf

Photo Source: LArena

Sustainability and replicability

The durability of the equipment and the establishment of an effective management system makes this practice long-lasting far beyond the end of funding support. Besides, the money obtained through the imposition of fines can ensure the maintenance of the devices and the continuation of the practice.

The elements which make this practice easily replicable in other regions across Europe are the following:

  • Low implementation costs which make this practice replicable also by those local authorities with low budgets;
  • A type of monitoring system which can be easily adjusted to any kind of territory subject to the same kind of illegal practices.

The development of monitoring systems for detecting illegal waste dumping has been extended and applied by many municipalities, due to its efficiency. Moreover, some surveillance practices also use other modern technological devices, such as drones.[4]



Photo Suorce: Diario Romano

Success Factors

The key element that is essential for the positive outcomes of the practice is an extensive advertising about the installation and functioning of the video monitoring system. It is also important to have an efficient management system and to frequently vary the installation locations of the cameras.

The success of this system is based on the advantages of camera traps:

  • DIY installation, simple and fast
  • Powered by batteries, do not require electrical connection to the network
  • Waterproof and usable both indoors and outdoors
  • Compact and easy to camouflage, they can be fixed to light poles or tree trunks

Thanks to the new models with GPRS data transmission, the police forces can remotely control the incriminated areas at any time, optimizing the human resources used and the intervention times in case of need.

These special cameras allow in fact to identify the people and also the license plates of the transportation mean from which the bags and waste of any kind are abandoned.[5]



Waste, Resources, Innovation.

Key Challenges

1.From personal data protection point of view, the use of monitoring and video surveillance systems for the repression of the use of illegal landfills or for the control of waste collection methods by the Municipalities is legitimate only if it is not possible, or it proves to be ineffective, to resort to tools and alternative control systems.[6]

  1. There were 198 landfill sites under accusation throughout Italy, including 14 containing hazardous waste, distributed in 18 regions. On December 2, 2014, Italy was convicted for not having taken all the necessary measures to implement the sentence issued on April 26, 2007, with which they were indicated for the first time all the abusive sites to be cleared.[7]

In 2015 Italy paid 84 million euros in penalties, which fell to 60 million in 2016 due to the fact that the Ministry of the Environment has shown that it has remedied almost 100 irregular quarries filled with toxic materials. Lazio, and Rome in particular, are at the top of this tremendous ranking.[8]

The illegal landfills have to be listed and published on the Ministry of Environment’s website. In this way, citizens must know where the illegal landfills are located.[9]

  1. In Rome, the situation regarding the illegal landfills is no longer sustainable. Responsible for these illegal landfills are the micro companies that are making renovation works, often registered by foreign citizens. These companies are illegally depositing residual waste materials, paint residues, insulated materials etc., which are really dangerous for the health of citizens residing nearby.[10]                                                                                                                                              2. In many municipalities where door-to-door collection of waste is active, it is unfortunately frequent to see bags of waste, but also old appliances and debris thrown at the roadside, even asbestos. The abandonment of these materials (which can also be easily and freely transferred to the Municipal Collection Center) represents a danger to public health and the environment.[11]








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