In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Morocco announced the National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development, aimed at advising future policy in the country. This charter is the first of its kind in Africa and in the Arab World. Initiatives presented by cabinet ministers included the eradication of plastic bags, erection of artificial reefs to protect marine ecosystems, the use of methane gas from a landfill to generate clean energy and to repair the desertification in the south. King Mohammed VI, who is pioneering this campaign, also launched a plan which aims to plant one million palm trees by 2015.
This is a huge step forward for a country where one can see massive burning piles of trash along the roads and, while I was there, seemed to have a virtually nonexistent recycling program. But positive change is visible as well: some of the most beautiful sights as we were winding through the lush green mountains between Tangier and Tetouan were the wind farms, with installed production capacities between 32MW and 140MW. Along with other initiatives, such as solar energy projects in the Sahara, Morocco expects 42% of its energy to be supplied by renewable energy by 2020. The Argan forest in southern Morocco is the last barrier protecting Morocco from desert encroachment. Learn more about the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve by clicking here.