Morocco is committed to tackling Marine Litter.
The Forum on the prevention of Marine Litter organized by SwitchMed, took place on May 10th in Rabat, Morocco. Around 40 attendants including the State Secretary for Sustainable Development of Morocco, the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, the Norwegian Embassy, the SNRT national TV, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and diverse associations and entrepreneurs, discussed about alternatives to single-use plastic bags and innovative ways to improve collection and recycling of beverage packaging.
“Morocco is committed to tackling marine litter, mainly through the implementation of the regional action plan for marine litter management, adopted by the Barcelona Convention." Mr Mohammed El Bouch, Director of National Laboratory for Studies and Monitoring of Pollution (LNESP)
Mr Mohammed El Bouch (LNESP), opened the event, representing the State Secretary for Sustainable Development (Sécretariat d’État pour le Développement durable). He also said that Morocco has incorporated marine litter as one aspect being monitored through the coastal bathing waters monitoring system and also, that the country, in cooperation with UN Environment/MAP through the Marine Litter Med project, has just launched two types of projects: “Adopt a beach” and “Fishing for litter”. They address different aspects of marine litter such as awareness raising, prevention, removal, and knowledge about types, quantities and sources of the plastic waste.
During his intervention, Pedro Fernández, Project Manager of SwitchMed, remarked that the programe has already funded three pilot projects in Morocco dealing with marine litter, particularly single-use plastic bags and beverage containers. These projects complement the other's program work through, Marine Litter Med, which supports Mediterranean countries implementing the regional action plan on marine litter.
The interventions of the pilot projects beneficiaries namely SUNOV Engineering, Zero Zbel and Association of Dr Fatiha focused on achievements and next steps until projects completion (end June 2018). These presentations were visually complemented by three dedicated short videos, depicting the main on-hands actions. As for the promotion of reusable bags, participants agreed that there is still a way forward to eliminate plastics bags. Both, awareness and production initiatives, especially when women are involved, are very welcome and more efforts should be put in place to give them continuity. Regarding the reward system for the return of beverage containers, expectations are high and some recommendations were made, such as addressing commerces other than supermarkets, involving the municipality since they are legally responsible for the waste management and including informal collectors or their associations. “There is a need for continuous awareness campaigns. The government put forward non-woven bags as an alternative, and they are getting thinner and thinner, just as conventional plastic bags.” said Mamoun Ghallab of Zero Zbel.
The representative of the Ministry of Industry remarked that combating illegal production of plastic bags is very complex because it’s too easy to produce them, even in a domestic way. However, the Moroccan administration keeps on deploying important efforts in surveilling and punishing these law infractions as the main action to eradicate single-use plastic bags.
The Forum was closed by Pedro Fernández, who stated that the next steps are to accomplish the final activities of the pilot projects, especially the potential installation of reverse vending machines in supermarkets, and launch a feasibility study on implementing extended producers responsibility for beverage containers producers, in the second half of 2018, as a collaboration of SCP/RAC the State Secretary for Sustainable Development of Morocco within Marine Litter Med project.
Find more pictures of the Forum here.
You can download the forum's agenda here, and presentations showed during the Forum in the following links: