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Artificial intelligence on the trail of asbestos

24 of August '22

In Warsaw, almost 5 hectares of roofs are still covered with asbestos-containing materials . Advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence helped collect the data. The registry is expected to help get rid of this harmful material from buildings more effectively.

By the end of 2023, property owners and managers are required to remove roofing made of cement and asbestos materials. Until today, the data available to the authorities was only an estimate. Thanks to algorithms and an artificial neural network, it was possible to see more precisely how the process of replacing roofs in the capital is going. A detailed list of asbestos-roofed buildings was compiled and the area of these roofs was estimated. The data obtained will be entered into a database managed by the Ministry of Development and Technology.


photo: wikimedia commons

Such an action required teaching artificial intelligence to recognize cement-asbestos materials on an aerial photoplane. Within the city limits, the algorithms identified a total of 4020 buildings whose roofs contain asbestos. Their total area is 490,000 square meters. As much as a third of this area is residential roofs.

Panorama Warszawy

photo: wikimedia commons

The largest number of asbestos-cement surfaces is in Ursynów (16.5 percent), Wawer (16 percent) and Białołęka (13.2 percent). In contrast, the highest number of buildings with asbestos roofs is in Wawer (21.5 percent), followed by Białołęka (15.3 percent) and Wilanów (10.4 percent). The less single-family housing, the smaller the asbestos problem. The problem is almost nonexistent in Downtown, Ochota, Zoliborz and Praga-North (share of less than 1 percent in the number and area of detected roofs).

Popular for its availability and insulating properties, the material has been found to have strong carcinogenic properties. Therefore, the use of products containing it has been banned in Poland since 1997 , and those installed earlier must be removed by the end of 2032. Due to the harmfulness of these products, owners cannot do this on their own, but only with the help of relevant companies. Warsaw residents can be reimbursed for the cost of dismantling, packing, transporting and disposing of asbestos-cement products. Detailed information can be obtained from the City Hall website and the Environmental Protection Bureau.

An inventory of asbestos-containing roofing carried out in Warsaw is one of the project's activities. In addition to the building inventory, a report has been produced that summarizes the situation related to asbestos use in Armenia and Albania. The document is intended to help conduct a similar inventory in Yerevan and Tirana.

Kacper Kępiński

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