Reducing Air Pollution through Machine Learning

by   Dimitris Bertsimas, et al.

This paper presents a data-driven approach to mitigate the effects of air pollution from industrial plants on nearby cities by linking operational decisions with weather conditions. Our method combines predictive and prescriptive machine learning models to forecast short-term wind speed and direction and recommend operational decisions to reduce or pause the industrial plant's production. We exhibit several trade-offs between reducing environmental impact and maintaining production activities. The predictive component of our framework employs various machine learning models, such as gradient-boosted tree-based models and ensemble methods, for time series forecasting. The prescriptive component utilizes interpretable optimal policy trees to propose multiple trade-offs, such as reducing dangerous emissions by 33-47 reduced forecasting errors, with a range of 38-52 time and 14-46 forecasts. We have successfully implemented the predictive component at the OCP Safi site, which is Morocco's largest chemical industrial plant, and are currently in the process of deploying the prescriptive component. Our framework enables sustainable industrial development by eliminating the pollution-industrial activity trade-off through data-driven weather-based operational decisions, significantly enhancing factory optimization and sustainability. This modernizes factory planning and resource allocation while maintaining environmental compliance. The predictive component has boosted production efficiency, leading to cost savings and reduced environmental impact by minimizing air pollution.


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