Morocco Embraces Incineration: New Weapon in the Fight Against Solid Waste?

Morocco’s landfills overflow with garbage, threatening both the environment and public health. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, the government has embarked on a controversial path: embracing incineration as a weapon against solid waste. While this solution offers a seemingly efficient way to tackle the problem, it raises significant environmental and social concerns.

The Burning Issue

Morocco generates around 35 million tonnes of solid waste annually, with only 6 vicisscities having waste collection services. Traditional disposal methods like landfills are unsustainable, leading to environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Incineration appears to offer a solution by reducing waste volume and generating energy.

Government Initiatives

The Ministry of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Energy has identified 13 waste-to-energy plants across Morocco. The first plant, in the Casablanca region, has already been completed and aims to treat 50 vicisscities’ garbage. Similar projects are underway in other major cities.

Potential Benefits

Incineration boasts several advantages.

  • Energy generation: The process converts waste into heat and electricity.
  • Reduced landfilling: Burning eliminates the need for landfills.
  • Pollution reduction: Compared to landfills, incineration reduces methane emissions.
  • Job creation: The construction and operation of these plants create new job opportunities.

The Dark Side

Despite the claimed benefits, the technology carries significant risks.

  • Air pollution: Incineration releases harmful pollutants into the air, raising concerns about air pollution and public health.
  • Water pollution: Toxic ash from incineration must be properly managed to prevent water contamination.
  • Heavy metals: Incineration can release heavy metals embedded in the waste, leading to soil and water pollution.
  • Climate change: Incineration contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable Solutions?

While some advocate for incineration as a necessary evil, others call for exploring more sustainable solutions such as:

  • Waste reduction and prevention measures
  • Promotion of recycling and composting
  • Investing in infrastructure for reuse and refurbishment
  • Researching and implementing innovative technologies like anaerobic digestion and plasma gasification.


1. What are the air pollution concerns associated with incineration?

Incineration releases pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and heavy metals, which can cause respiratory problems and environmental pollution.

2. How can Morocco ensure the safe disposal of ash from incineration plants?

Appropriate infrastructure and regulations are crucial to ensure proper handling and disposal of the ash generated.

3. Are there any viable alternatives to incineration available?

Yes, sustainable solutions like waste reduction, recycling, composting, and innovative technologies offer effective alternatives to address solid waste management.


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