Newsletter and Technical Publications
<Integrated Waste Management Practices To Protect Freshwater Resources:
Case Studies From West Asia,
The Mediterranean, And The Arab Region>
Technical Orientations on the Sites of Final
Urban Solid Wastes In Morocco
Mr. Abdelali fares, Division de l'Observation, des Etudes et de la Coordination
- Ministere de l'Amenagement du Territoire, de l' Urbanism,de l'Environnement et
de l'Habitat, Morocco
The growth of urban population in Morocco during recent decades
has been accompanied by a disturbing production of solid wastes both in quantity
and quality. From one region to the other, the quantity of municipal wastes
generated per inhabitant per day ranges between 0.4 and 0.9 Kg/inhabitant/day.
The rate of waste collection is relatively satisfactory, and could range between
70 to 90%.
Collected wastes are disposed of in open dumps or through burial. However,
waste disposal is generally not satisfactory in terms of hygiene and
The current conditions of waste dumpsites have been dealt with and evaluated
in a national study on solid waste management (SWM). This study, which focuses
on all aspects of SWM in Morocco, was undertaken in 1997 by the State
Secretariat for the Environment in collaboration with the Japanese Agency for
International Cooperation. Two cities situated on the Atlantic coast, namely
Safi and Al Jadida were selected in order to put the plan of action and
guidelines for municipalities into concrete form, and adjust them according to
results obtained. Being a pilot project, the waste management plan for the city
of Al Jadida could serve as a prototype for other Moroccan cities.
However, while awaiting the promulgation of the law on solid wastes, drafting
technical guidelines for managing the sites of final disposal and their usage by
local authorities would greatly improve conditions of final disposal in terms of
hygiene, public health and environmental protection against all harmful effects.
Each commune would ensure the service of waste management within its
perimeters. For large agglomerations, urban community would take care of the
final disposal of these wastes. Most of the existing public dump systems are in
the form of unhealthy open dumps. The unauthorized waste discharge has become a
current problem at the national and local level due to the following negative
- Dispersion of wastes, particularly plastic waste.
- Problems of public health, with the appearance of harmful insects and
animals that are harmful to the health (mosquitoes, flies, rats, etc.).
- Stinking odors.
- Emission of fumes provoked by natural combustion.
- Pollution through contamination of water streams and underground water.
In order to resolve these problems, it is necessary to improve the final
disposal sites and introduce controlled sanitary landfill sites. It is important
that installation of final dumpsites be well planned starting from the selection
of the sites until the ultimate utilization of territory after the closure of
- Elaboration on the Plan for the Installation of a Final Disposal Site
Plans for the development and conversion of final disposal sites consist of the
process of selection of territory adopted for the disposal of wastes produced by
local collectivity zones. The impact of disposal sites on the environment, the
fundamental orientations and executive planning concerning installations and
necessary equipment must be well studied.
2.1 Selection of Final Disposal Sites
For the selection of final disposal sites, analysis should systematically
examine the perimeters of evaluation explained in Table (1) below:
Perimeters of Evaluation
Details of Perimeters
Possibility of Acquisition
- Type of owner
- Restrictive utilization of territory
- Inside or outside urban zones
- Available Capacity for dumpin
Consideration of Inhabitants
- Relationship between space and inhabitants of surroundings
- Consent of inhabitants
- Relationship between premises and public planning.
Impact on the Environment of the Surroundings
- Relationship between premises and water resources
- Soil infiltration coefficient
- Level of the ground water layer
- Impact of smoke/noise/smell
- Impact on the flora and fauna
- Influence of wind direction.
- Risks on monuments/cultural heritage
- Risks of accident
- Land price
- Indemnities for inhabitant transfer
- Distance from the zone of waste collection
- Topographic situation from access route
- Existence of public infrastructure (electricity, potable water etc...)
- Place of borrowed land for covering
Table 1: Evaluation parameters for final disposal sites
Some principles could serve as guidelines in the establishment of disposal
- Wastes should not provoke pernicious effects on residents of surroundings
and on the environment in general;
- The risk of water resources contamination should be minimal;
- There should be no constraints on the utilization of the territory.
Evaluation of the Impact of the Installation of Final Disposal Sites on the
While laying down plans for the development of final disposal sites, it is
indispensable to consider its impact on the surrounding environment. Moreover,
within the framework of the assessment of the impact of final disposal sites on
the environment, factors estimated to have an impact on the environment are
extracted according to points of investigation before and during the
construction as well as the stage of site exploitation. Finally, changes
befalling the environment as a result of these factors should be estimated and
evaluated, and measures should be established.
Disposal System within Final Disposal Sites
Measures and Disposal Levels
For the system of final disposal of urban wastes, a method of sanitary
dumping would be adopted. Four levels of installation are planned, taking into
account the effects on water resources, public health and the environment. Each
level encompasses a series of measures in favor of the environment, as indicated
in Table (2):
Factors Influencing the Environment
Disposal Level(Level of
Development of Installation)
||Installations for the protection against dispersion (enclosure)
|Nauseous smells, appearance of harmful animals and insects to
the health, fumes resulting from natural combustion, dispersion
||Cover (blanket) territory
||Structure of storage (dikes)
|Contamination of underground water, and water streams
||Water drainage, collection , circulation and disposal of
|Fires, dried trees in the surrounding
||Installations for treatment of gases emitted
|Development of minimal installations required
Development of installations required.
Development of sufficient installations
Table 2: Environmental measures & disposal levels
b) Definition of objectives of disposal levels and recommendations
In order to reduce all negative impacts resulting from public discharges on
the environment, preventive measures should define the objectives of disposal
levels. Level 1 or Level 2 is recommended in the plan of improvement of the
existing disposal sites and at least Level 3 for plans of construction of new
Burial Method and Disposal Management
As a burial method, it is
possible to adjust a layer of uniform waste and opt for the method of locking
waste through traction in order to facilitate a uniform compacting. To insure
the exploitation management of the disposal site, the following technical
aspects are to be respected:
- The waste layer should be compacted using the method of traction of wastes
in such a way as to obtain a uniform thickness and the inclination of the slope
upon the traction of wastes should be 4 to 1 (nearly 15? ).
- Thickness of layer spread out obtained after having machine compacted wastes
should reach 40 to 50 cm in average.
- While taking account during dumping, that the thickness of one layer (height
of the rack) is less than 3m, including soil cover.
- When the exploitation of a waste discharge site is achieved, the last layer
of wastes should be covered with a one-meter thick layer of soil.
- The establishment of a tip-over bridge would allow the calculation and
registration of their volume and capacity, and to register them. This
installation would be applicable starting from Level 2.
Ultimate Utilization of Land After the Closure of Disposal Site
the development of plans for the transformation of final disposal sites, the
utilization of sites after closure should be anticipated. Also, on-site
activities should be carefully considered. In order to shut down the disposal
site, rainwater treatment facilities should be installed, the disposal of
leachates and fanning out gases according to needs should be considered. A
long-term supervision plan should anticipate the following potential risks:
- Collapse of the cleared land (five years after closure)
- Gas emissions (15 years after closure)
- Production of leachates.
Consideration of Intermediary Handling Methods
focus on the possibility and necessity of introducing methods of incineration
and recycling as intermediary methods for dealing with solid wastes in Moroccan
municipalities. Concerning treatment through incineration, given the actual
state of affairs, it is not the appropriate method from the technical and
financial point of view because of the following:
- It is possible to find plots of land suitable for disposal sites quite
- Wastes in Morocco have considerable water content. In this sense, their
caloric value is weak, and burning could not be applicable.
- The cost of treatment through incineration surpasses 900 Dh/ton, i.e., ten
times that of disposal in sanitary dumping (Level 3) which costs between 60-100
As for recycling, it is a satisfactory solution from the point of view of the
minimization of the solid waste size. Basically, it is technically possible and
the quality of wastes is prone to such treatment. However, it is not a long term
or durable solution from the economic point of view, bearing in mind its
practical introduction in some Moroccan cities, which has not produced the
anticipated objectives. Furthermore, its management has not been actually easy.
It should be noted that some communes do consider the use of bio-methane
resulting from wastes for purposes of generating electricity. However, this
treatment is still under study.
Promotion of Private Sector Consideration
The privatization of public
services of solid waste management by local authorities is the actual case in
Morocco. Several urban communes have taken the initiative of welcoming private
sector participation in the collection of household wastes, road sweeping and
The final waste disposal, which necessitates considerable initial
investments, is not a typical example of privatization at present. In order to
promote privatization of the service of final waste disposal, it is necessary
that the local authorities become conscious of the volume of wastes collected
and the cost of solid waste management.
This information could serve as a frame of reference to compare offers put
forth by private enterprises. Moreover, in order to guarantee this
sub-contracting, some pre-conditions should be set, including contracts which
respond to conditions of local communities and environmental requirements, as
well as the establishment of follow up and supervision mechanisms of these
Conditions for the Application of Technical Guidelines for the Final
Disposal of Urban Wastes
In order to put into effect technical
orientations at the national level, the State Secretariat for the Environment
has organized 5 workshops on solid waste management in 1998 in different regions
of the Kingdom as well as a national workshop in Rabat. On the other hand,
survey studies on dangerous wastes at the national level are currently being
undertaken within the department of environment.
At the local level, a practical manual project for the improvement of solid
waste management within municipalities is also being realized. This manual would
serve as a technical guide to municipal engineers and would allow a
popularization of concepts and technical guidelines, hence making them more easy
to use by local decision-makers.