Detection of waste dumping locations in landfill using multi-temporal Landsat thermal images

Jasravia Gill, Kamil Faisal, Ahmed Shaker, Wai Yeung Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The disposal of solid waste in a conventional landfill is inevitably associated with potential adverse environmental impacts, resulting in the migration of landfill gas and offensive odors on the surrounding areas. In addition to the obnoxious fumes and hazardous leachate, heat generation is continuously observed within the landfill during the aerobic and anaerobic phases. Despite the negative impacts, such “heat generation” phenomenon can turn into valuable information to aid in detecting unauthorized landfill activities and tracing unrecorded dumping regions. The spatial distribution of waste buried under the ground can be approximated and revealed through measuring the ground surface heat flux. In this study, we demonstrate how to utilize thermal remote sensing techniques to measure the land surface temperature (LST), which can aid in outlining the waste dumping regions within a landfill. The Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh landfill, located in Kuwait, was used to demonstrate the proposed method, where the record of the exact dumping location was missing during the Gulf war. Ten-year Landsat Thematic Mapper(TM)/Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) images (1985–1994) were acquired and processed in order to compute the LST within the landfill. Through combining the multi-temporal LST contours and overlay analysis, the most probable dumping regions within the landfill were outlined. A probability map was created to indicate the possible location of waste dumping within the studied landfill. With reference to the 50 boreholes drilled by the Environmental Protection Authority of Kuwait, our results derived during the summer and winter seasons both yielded an overall accuracy of 72%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-393
Number of pages8
JournalWaste Management and Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • GIS
  • land surface temperature
  • landfill
  • Landsat
  • overlay analysis
  • remote sensing
  • temporal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution

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