“We already have an informal type of recycling in Tangier”

© N.Pansiot/Tara Expéditions

3 November 2014

“Soyez les bienvenus”. For two days, the Taranautes have been discovering what welcome means in Tangier. Yesterday, it was the crew members’ turn to receive local environmental associations. AMED, the Moroccan association for a sustainable development, is one of them, and our partner in this stopover. Amed’s President Lofti Chraibi presents their field of action.  

What are AMED’S objectives?

Our association aims to educate citizens, young and old, by involving them in practical workshops. We believe that people learn through practice, by getting involved.

Our goal is to show the components of sustainable development to the public. As part of an annual plan of action, we develop seminars and workshops to raise awareness about environmental issues, about the changes in behavior we must adopt. Here in Morocco, we are still in a phase where we need to educate and explain the need to change behavior. People are learning about recycling and waste management in order to reduce waste. We also introduce the use of renewable energy, opening up new horizons.

Every year, we organize the Sustainable Development Days. Next year, on the occasion of the 7th, we will work on the theme of water.

Tara Mediterranean is endeavoring to study plastic pollution and promotes public awareness of this issue. What is the situation here in Tangier?

Plastic is a problem. We try to instill awareness, to get citizens to ask questions. What is our mode of consumption? What becomes of this bottle after use? Like all modern societies in the 21st century, Moroccan society consumes a lot of plastic. Moroccans love to drink soda, and most are packaged in plastic. But when it comes to awareness, it’s not just to educate citizens. We must also educate politicians and policy makers to accelerate the establishment of an industrial  platform for sorting plastics. And in Tangier, we’re not there yet! We see that there’s a real desire to implement strategy, but on the ground, there’s no visible impact.

What is interesting in Tangier, and what we’re doing at AMED, is to think and encourage reflection on the form or the concept of recycling to be implemented. Why? Because we already have an informal type of recycling here: Certain people make a living by collecting plastic to re-sell. Plastic bottles for example, are re-used by dairy men for the transportation of milk. We need to imagine a platform or a recycling solution that will integrate all these people. But this must be done while following certain standards and better conditions of hygiene. We need to think about mechanisms to implement which will integrate these workers. For the moment, we are still in a phase of advocacy with townships and institutions.

 

You are partners with Tara Expeditions for this stopover. What is the schedule for the coming week?

We just organized a tour of the boat with members of environmental groups active in Tangier. Young members of AMED also came to do a reportage on the work done by the Tara team. Our association will participate in Tara workshops on Wednesday November 5th, and on this occasion we will present our educational activities.

Today, thanks to Tara, I discovered a new dimension of plastic. When we address the issue of plastic pollution, we imagine bottles or trash visible to the naked eye. On board I realized there are also tiny plastic particles. This theme could be part of our association’s outreach program in the future.

This afternoon, we have planned a tour of the medina and the kasbah with the crew. We want to show them the reality of our city and its human dimension. They will be able to observe the lifestyle of the people of Tangier. In the heart of the medina there are no big supermarkets, but there are grocery stores, and I think we’ll see a lot of plastic on this visit.

 

Interviewed by Noëlie Pansiot

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