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Apr 6, 2017

State of Solid Waste Management in Morocco


By Youssef Tazi, Head of Business Development at Zero Waste MENA

Morocco has been focusing much on its eco friendly policies. From the plastic ban that the country has adopted in 2016, to the renewable energy development efforts praised during the COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco is trying to pose as a major key player in improving the environmental policies nationwide and worldwide.

The country has been facing though major challenges in regards to health & environment safety mostly due to inefficient solid waste management. 

Due to the economic growth and improved living conditions, Morocco has witnessed an increase in solid waste generation which at the moment is about 208 kg per capita per year.This is regarded as one of the highest rates of solid waste generation in the African Continent. This waste is either domestic or industrial. The highly humid organic material accounts for 70% of domestic solid waste, whereas hazardous waste account of 16% of industrial solid waste. Those can be environmental and health damaging if not disposed of correctly. 

In Morocco, open dumping has been heavily relied on for waste disposal where the 300 accounted dumps are managed and regulated by local authorities and municipalities.Moreover, with an historical lack of infrastructure and policies, open burning of waste is common and releases toxic gases such as dioxins, PM 2.5 & PM10, Mercury, Arsenic and others which creates severe health issues and increases the effects of climate change and global warming. 

In addition, before the creation of the Oum Azza waste management site in the capital’s region, toxic pollutants used to flow into the Bouregreg river causing foams, and strong smells in the river, affecting the residents nearby. The new site allowed treating 850 000 tons / year of waste, where  12% are composted, and other are turned into biogas. The site has also a positive social impact through creating 150 new jobs.

Picture of scavengers operating in the Oum Azza recycling facility. Credit: Flore de Préneuf / World Bank

With increasing awareness about the waste management issue, Morocco has developed a national program in 2008 with an allocated budget of 5 billion dollars which is supported partially by World Bank. This programs aims to establish an effective and integrated solid waste management system as well as mitigating environmental and public health impacts by 2021.

After 9 years of launching the program, the results have been positively overwhelming. The waste collection rate  increased from 40% in 2008  to 82% by the end of 2016, one of the highest in the African continent. Additionally, the Kingdom’s aim is to reach a 90%waste  coverage by the end of 2021. The recycling rate has also seen a major boom reaching actually a 10% by the end of 2016, and is expected to reach 20% by 2021, a rate that is reached in some developed countries like France or Spain. Overall, the aim of the program is to close and rehabilitate the 300 open dumps and inturn implement sanitary landfills across the country. Several awareness campaigns have been launched to help the program reach its aim , most notably the "Bou’ndifs" campaign. The Bou’ndifs campaign promoted the 3Rs concept : Reuse, Reduce , and Recycle, across major coastal cities.

Picture of The Bou’ndifs family collecting waste left on the beaches

This program has shown a major positive shift and change in environmental policies and governance specifically in solid waste management. Moreover, the socio-economic benefits that have been created throughout this program. With the support of the government and the public, the program will indeed reach and hopefully exceed the intended goals.

Sources :

  • World Bank reports 

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