Marrakech inconsistent in green efforts

The city of Marrakech has taken a number of steps to show off its green side to delegates attending the COP22 climate talks. But do these represent a long-term shift toward sustainability?

Known as the Ochre City, Marrakech has taken steps to go green for the COP22 climate change summit, which opened on Monday and will run until 18 November. Like other hosts of previous climate change summits, the city launched a number of green initiatives, showcasing its commitment sustainability.

For instance, police force stop signs are illuminated by solar panels, energy-saving LED bulbs have been installed throughout the city, and 30 red electric buses connect the city’s main hubs, with a total of 120 electric buses planned by 2019.

More than 300 rental bicycles are also available at ten stations around the city for locals and visitors as part of the Medina Bike project, which will run for at least five years.

But as ANSAmed reported, not all of these initiatives are as green as they appear. For instance, the Medina Bike project requires credit cards for data tracking, which many locals do not have. And those beige taxis driving around town sporting the COP22 logo… those aren’t ecological, either.

And while the 32-kilometre-long Avenue Mohammed V is now lined with flowers and fountains, the city’s 11 golf courses consume mass amounts of water, often leaving the city centre dry.

The article also criticises the city’s waste management efforts. While plastic bags were banned nation-wide earlier this year, Marrakech doesn’t recycle and disposal takes place at large landfills and incinerators on the outskirts of the city.

As Al Jazeera reported when the plastic ban came into effect, a 2013 study released by the German Society for International Cooperation revealed that Moroccan cities only collect 70 per cent of solid waste. The World Bank found that less than 10 per cent of this waste is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.


Image credit: COP22

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