A $130 million loan will support the reform of the solid waste sector so that Moroccans gain equal access to collection and disposal services in urban areas, while simultaneously creating up to 70 000 jobs in waste recycling activities, according to a recent statement issued by the World Bank. The loan is the Third Municipal Solid Waste Sector Development Policy Loan and was approved by the World Bank Board of Directors on 14 February 2013.

According to the statement, the loan is also set to improve accountability through regular monitoring thereby ensuring that waste management in the country can be considered environmentally safe.  This is further reinforced by, what the World Bank indicates is a first for  Morocco, citizen report cards being introduced, which allows people to provide direct feedback on the quality and coverage of solid waste services in their respective cities. In a show of reciprocity, the programme is also set to increase transparency by giving citizens access to policy information and allowing for the disclosure of contracts with private companies.

“Morocco is engaging in a promising and ambitious agenda to bring about practices aimed at preserving the environment and promoting sustainable development,” says Simon Gray, World Bank Director for the Maghreb Department. “The World Bank is mobilising its expertise and financial support to help Morocco manage this important municipal challenge and ensure that citizens can speak out and provide their feedback on policy and quality of services provided.”

The World Bank’s statement notes that the growing rate of waste generation in Morocco is putting significant pressure on environment and natural resources, and therefore underlines the need to develop disposal practices which are safe and inspected regularly, in line with international environmental norms and standards. According to the World Bank, the reform of the sector is key to helping Morocco achieve its objectives of having 20% of its waste recycled and ensure that all municipal solid waste is collected and disposed of in sanitary landfills by 2022.

“This programme is the third of its kind since 2009 and will contribute to the sustainable transformation of the solid waste sector by providing reliable services in a transparent way,” says Jaafar Sadok Friaa, World Bank Lead Urban Specialist and the project’s team leader. “This timely support will help create up to 70 000 jobs over the next decade, particularly through the development of waste recycling activities.”

The completion of the first phase of the National Plan was supported by the first two World Bank Development Policy Loans for the management of solid waste in 2009 and 2010. The two programmes helped put in place the basic legal framework governing the sector, supported public-private partnerships, and improved the effectiveness of the Environmental Impact Assessment system. They also contributed to an increased rate of professional solid waste collection, up from 44% in 2008 to 76% currently, and helped bring landfill control up to standard while rehabilitating open dumpsites.