Mitigating climate and health impact of small-scale kiln industry using multi-spectral classifier and deep learning (Papers Track) Spotlight

Usman Nazir (Lahore University of Management Sciences); Murtaza Taj (Lahore University of Management Sciences); Momin Uppal (Lahore University of Management Sciences); Sara khalid (University of Oxford)

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Earth Observation & Monitoring Health


Industrial air pollution has a direct health impact and is a major contributor to climate change. Small scale industries particularly bull-trench brick kilns are one of the major causes of air pollution in South Asia often creating hazardous levels of smog that is injurious to human health. To mitigate the climate and health impact of the kiln industry, fine-grained kiln localization at different geographic locations is needed. Kiln localization using multi-spectral remote sensing data such as vegetation index results in a noisy estimates whereas use of high-resolution imagery is infeasible due to cost and compute complexities. This paper proposes a fusion of spatio-temporal multi-spectral data with high-resolution imagery for detection of brick kilns within the "Brick-Kiln-Belt" of South Asia. We first perform classification using low-resolution spatio-temporal multi-spectral data from Sentinel-2 imagery by combining vegetation, burn, build up and moisture indices. Then orientation aware object detector: YOLOv3 (with theta value) is implemented for removal of false detections and fine-grained localization. Our proposed technique, when compared with other benchmarks, results in a 21 times improvement in speed with comparable or higher accuracy when tested over multiple countries.