Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Morocco: GTZ advisory services spur new waste legislation

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Eschborn, 21 March 2007. Morocco’s modern national waste control law, on the books since the beginning of this year, is a basis for regulated waste management. 'What we're doing now is breathing life into this law,' says Mohamed El-Khawad, head of the Moroccan-German environmental programme, a cooperative programme with the KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW development bank) financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 'Unauthorised waste dumps and smoking mountains of refuse will soon be a thing of the past,' says El Khawad with evident satisfaction.

Morocco will be investing some EUR 3.7 billion in modern waste management over the next 15 years. Illegal dumping is to disappear entirely within ten years, to be replaced with new waste disposal facilities that meet European environmental and safety standards. In two years at the latest, these will provide permanent disposal for some 40 percent of municipal waste. In the working group on waste disposal, engineers and waste site managers from pilot facilities pass on what they have learned to their colleagues from neighbouring municipalities. 'It’s something of a sensation in Morocco that half the population will no longer have to dump their rubbish straight into the natural environment,' says El-Khawad.

And that’s not all. On behalf of BMZ, GTZ is working more comprehensively and on a number of different levels, in addition to waste legislation and modern landfills. 'The most important thing is to avoid creating waste in the first place, and to sort out recyclable materials for reuse,” stresses El-Khawad. For example, the city of Larache is testing the sorting of organic household waste on a pilot basis and using it for compost. Selective separation of other recyclable materials in future is an important step along the road to cost-effective, material-specific recycling. And how does is this to come about? A local environmental association established just for this purpose is raising awareness about this issue among the general population. At first it needed GTZ assistance, but it is now managing just fine on its own: information campaigns in schools, municipalities and private households are all in a day's work for association members.

Another priority area for GTZ advisory services is the disposal of industrial and hazardous wastes. To handle the 120,000-odd tonnes of hazardous waste, a centre for the disposal of such special waste will be constructed, run by experts who have both theoretical and practical training. The KfW is currently reviewing the possibility of partial financing for this plant.

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