Morocco Ecological Problems

By | May 27, 2021

Berbers, Arabs, descendants of black slaves, Europeans: Morocco is a melting pot of civilizations. The rich, diverse human culture, landscapes and warm colors of Moroccan handicrafts fascinate millions of visitors year after year. Many international artists have been inspired by Morocco.

Some travelers write rich blogs that can be used as a supplement to travel books. The number of documentaries is considerable. Here are some tips:

  • the online magazine of the Moroccan tourist office in Germany
  • the food blog mymoroccanfood
  • the portal for sustainable travel fair on the way
  • the picture gallery of the monument protection NGO “Casamemoire”
  • the Facebook page of the Moroccan mountain sports initiative “MoroccanAdventurers”
  • a blog about Moroccan municipalities
  • the Facebook page “Les Couleurs du Grand Sud Marocain”
  • the menu item “Locations” on the website of the Rif-Film company of the Moroccan-German film producer Kamal Al Kacimi
  • An interview with the travel book author Hartmut Buchholz
  • A WDR documentary about German pensioners in Morocco provides a special insight into everyday Moroccan life.
  • The great documentary “Le Maroc vu du ciel” by France 2, in French, provides extraordinary moving images. The very dense spoken commentary can be a bit tiring. Tip: turn off the sound and let the pictures sink in!

The program Galileo takes viewers into everyday life in Morocco. This film directs our attention to the exotic, colorful aspects of Moroccan culture. In many places Morocco is also modern and western-oriented – especially in the metropolises Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier as well as in the tourist town of Agadir, which was completely rebuilt after an earthquake in the early 1960’s.

Ecological problems

The Paris Climate Conference (COP 21) and the COP 22 in Marrakech have intensified the public debate in Morocco on climate change, the threats to the environment that it poses and possible strategies for coping with it. In the spring of 2015, a total of 17 Moroccan NGOs wrote an open letter to the Moroccan government, demanding greater participation by civil society in the expansion of renewable energies (renouvelables)

In Morocco, environmental damage has so far played a subordinate role in public debates. This is particularly evident in the coastal town of Safi (250 km southwest of Casablanca). Toxic by-products from phosphate mining and the chemical industry are released en masse into the air and the sea. The result: There are hardly any fish left, the once flourishing canning industry has been ruined, and many people are sick. But changes are not in sight, nor in the following areas:

  • Consequences of climate change
  • Spread of the desert
  • Waste management
  • Soil erosion
  • Landscape destruction (damage from mining and industry)
  • Water pollution
  • Threat to biodiversity

Because of the building boom across the country, the need for sand has increased tremendously. Some beaches are already being illegally excavated.

Morocco Ecological Problems

As a result of the dwindling forest cover and global climate change, according to areacodesexplorer, Morocco is also increasingly suffering from extreme weather phenomena. In some regions there has been a threat of hunger in recent years, so that the state had to distribute food to the needy population. Recurring droughts caused many people to migrate from rural areas to cities. This increased the pressure on the already overcrowded informal settlements (bidonvilles) that exist in almost every major city in Morocco.

The scarcity of water is increasingly leading to economic and social problems. Among other things, Morocco is trying to get the problem under control through economical irrigation technologies. Experts consider the water scarcity to be at least partially homemade. In southern Morocco, for example, numerous reservoirs and irrigation systems were created in order to intensify the greenhouse agriculture (mostly owned by the royal family). As a result, Morocco became an important EU supplier for certain types of fruit and vegetables, but the massive increase in production is swallowing up water that is urgently needed elsewhere to prevent the desert from spreading(Desertification). Last but not least, the extensive argan forests, which held up erosion and thus the desert for thousands of years, are now threatened in their existence due to the lack of water. The argan trees grow almost exclusively in Morocco.

The environmental protection is taken into account as a cross-cutting issue in different departments and agencies: These include the Ministry of Energy and Mining; the High Commission for Water and Forests (afforestation, biosphere reserves, fight against desertification, nature conservation, Rabat zoo); as well as the authority for electricity (renewable energies).

Morocco has officially set itself the goal of generating around 50% of its energy consumption from renewable energies by 2030. With MASEN, Morocco has created an independent agency with a focus on solar energy to promote renewable energies. Plans to export electricity to Europe in the medium term as part of the DESERTEC initiative have now been shelved.

At the same time, however, Morocco has also begun to put out feelers for nuclear energy. To the northeast of Rabat, there is a nuclear research reactor on the site of the Maamora forest, which is sporadically reported and which is officially used for medical research.

GIZ in Morocco continuously implements projects and programs in the field of environmental protection, including in the areas of renewable energies (e.g. in Midelt and Tata), climate change, and water management.