Estimating plastic waste generation using supervised time-series learning techniques in Johannesburg, South Africa

Olusola Olaitan Ayeleru, Lanre Ibrahim Fajimi, Matthew Adah Onu, Tarhemba Tobias Nyam, Sisanda Dlova, Victor Idankpo Ameh, Peter Apata Olubambi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent times, many investigators have delved into plastic waste (PW) research, both locally and internationally. Many of these studies have focused on problems related to land-based and marine-based PW management with its attendant impact on public health and the ecosystem. Hitherto, there have been little or no studies on forecasting PW quantities in developing countries (DCs). The key objective of this study is to provide a forecast on PW generation in the city of Johannesburg (CoJ), South Africa over the next three decades. The data used for the forecasting were historical data obtained from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). For effective prediction and comparison, three-time series models were employed in this study. They include exponential smoothing (ETS), Artificial Neural Network (ANN), and the Gaussian Process Regression (GPR). The exponential kernel GPR model performed best on the overall plastic prediction with a determination coefficient (R2) of 0.96, however, on individual PW estimation, ANN was better with an overall R2 of 0.93. From the result, it is predicted that between 2021 and 2050, the total PW generated in CoJ is forecasted to be around 6.7 megatonnes with an average of 0.22 megatonnes/year. In addition, the estimated plastic composition is 17,910 tonnes PS per year; 13,433 tonnes PP per year; 59,440 tonnes HDPE per year; 4478 tonnes PVC per year; 85,074 tonnes PET per year; 34,590 tonnes LDPE per year and 8955 tonnes other PWs per year.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28199
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2024


  • ANN
  • Exponential smoothing
  • Gaussian process regression
  • Plastic waste
  • Time series model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Multidisciplinary


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