Casablanca | Dead and unburied

Casablanca’s beaches are strewn with rubbish. “Look out for all the litter,” cautions a review on TripAdvisor, an online travel guide. Like the rest of urban Morocco, the city has a reputation for ineffective waste management. Now the government is embarking on a national recycling drive, aiming to divert 20% of solid waste from landfill by 2015 through a series of public-private partnerships. One firm, Groupe Pizzorno from France, already employs 3000 people at a landfill site in Rabat, the capital. Another French company, Elec- Recyclage, opened an industrial waste processing plant in Tangier last year. Recognising the value of recycling, the World Bank granted Morocco a $130 million loan in February, aimed at creating some 70,000 new jobs in the sector. But Casablanca’s shantytowns— which are among the largest in North Africa—remain choked with garbage. “They set it alight,” a former resident told the BBC in 2009. “There’s rubbish all over the place.” Meanwhile, town planners continue to pursue an ambitious Cities Without Slums programme, with the goal of eradicating informal settlements entirely by 2020. Subsidised low-cost housing has proliferated. But mortgage payments remain beyond the reach of many of the city’s poor.

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