Communities Field Note: Managing Waste

Hi kids. I’m very excited. My big sisters, the seniors at my college, just graduated two days ago. I hope one day you will decide to attend college and graduate, too!


In the meantime, however, this week we will be looking at solid waste management in the community. This is a very important process. I’ve learned that handling and responsible disposal of garbage was a major challenge here in Morocco. However, the government is now taking steps to improve solid waste management practices so that Morocco’s environment can stay pretty, welcoming and healthy.


What community need did I learn about?

Before starting college, I was only knew a little bit about waste management. At my college in the U.S. we have an excellent sustainability program. In fact, it is ranked number one in the state of Georgia! We have bins for compost, recycling and upcycling through terracycle. Do you know what those terms mean?


When I first got here, I noticed the waste on campus. It was surprising to me. I was especially surprised by how much plastic people use. There are no drinking fountains on campus or in Ifrane, so people often use plastic cups for drinking tap water. Bottled water is often used, especially by visitors. Plastic bags are also free and used quite often. I’ve only seen a brown paper bag once!


My roommate here is a member of its Environment Club. When I spoke to her about the waste management problem, she said that it’s not something many people really think much about. However, she says the club will work on this issue soon.


Since the town here is a tourist spot, it is kept very clean. There are bins all around Ifrane for recycling and trash. There are two types of bins all around campus. There are big bins for biodegradable waste. Do you know what that means? There are also smaller green bins for recyclable materials. Do you see bins for recycling in your community? A few times a week, some men collect all the garbage and take it away.


Why does the community have this need?

Moroccans produce a lot of refuse per year, just like many other cultures in the world do. Garbage was being thrown away in all the wrong places. This resulted in many landfill sites. Do you know what a landfill is? These landfills had garbage open to the environment. This was not pretty for the surroundings. It also was a health threat. Many people were not happy about it and wanted something to be done to fix the problem.


Another problem is that many people were throwing their garbage on the streets. This is very bad. It makes the environment dirty. It also blocks the drains to the sewers. When the rainy season comes, the blocked drains overflow and the city floods.


Is this need being met? How?

The good news is that the government is addressing the issue of waste management in Morocco. They have set up programs to make sure that the garbage is collected and thrown away at landfill areas that are not bad for people’s health. The plan is to have a landfill near all urban areas very soon. These will be official garbage areas. The garbage will be taken and separated into compostable and recyclable sections. Compost will be reused. Recyclable materials will be reused. This is exciting news!


Where do you throw your wrappers and other garbage? Make sure you throw it where it should go. There are often bins on the streets. If you don’t see any, keep your garbage with you until you get home. If your parents have a car, then a very good idea is to have a plastic bag in the vehicle at all times. That’s what my mom does. We put our garbage in it. Then, when we get home, we throw away the garbage in the big bin at home. Maybe you could do this, too. You would be playing a huge role in protecting your environment!

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