The Open Environmental Pollution & Toxicology Journal


ISSN: 1876-3979 ― Volume 4, 2013

The Moroccan Mediterranean Coastline: A Potential Threatened by the Urban Discharges

The Open Environmental Pollution & Toxicology Journal, 2012, 3: 23-36

H. Er-Raioui, S. Khannous, M. Ould Mohamed Cheihk, M. Mhamada, S. Bouzid

Equipe « Géosciences et Environnement » - Département des Sciences de la Terre - Faculté des Sciences et Techniques à Tanger - Ancienne route de l'aviation, BP. 416, Tanger, Maroc

Electronic publication date 10/2/2012
[DOI: 10.2174/1876397901203010023]


The Mediterranean coastline of Morocco is an exceptional and ecologically fragile marine area. It is characterized by a large diversity of living aquatic resources, and subjected to pollution, originated by industrial activities, domestic discharges, coastal touristic installations, etc., drown through drainage channels, emissaries, rivers, etc. The impact of this pollution on the hydraulic network and consequently on the coast, is harmful and may involve water quality degradation. The pollutant discharges to the Mediterranean coast is very high. The effluents generated by Tangier sea port and iseveral rivers such as Mghogha, Souani, Lihoud, F’nideq, and Martil can be considered as important pollution sources based on its anoxic and reductive potential, the low dissolved oxygen contents and high oxydable matter rates.

The performed study showed that Tangier and Tetouan marine areas are the two highest affected areas in the Mediterranean coastline of Morocco. More than 232 tons/day (t/d) of SS are discharged in their coast. The total oxydable matters drained to the sea exceed 100 t/d. The total hydrocarbons spilled in coast is estimated to be higher than 5.15 kg/d. Metal pollution is also important and caused by high load of, among others, lead, cadmium, chromium, and nickel, exceeding the standards in some locations. Daily drained quantities of these heavy metals to the coast are estimated to be 23.15 kg/d for Pb, 12.65 kg/d for Cd, 10.85 kg/d for Cr, 17.45 kg/d for Ni, 21.50 kg/d for Cu and 47.50 kg/d for Zn. This situation could be related to the importance of size of Tangier and Tetouan cities; which together represent about 75% of the total population of Moroccan Mediterranean coastline, and contain more than 75% of the industrial facilities. These two cities generate a total wastewater volume of 130,500 m3 /d, representing about 70% of the total wastewater volume produced by all the Moroccan Mediterranean cities.

The situation becomes more critical if we consider the important occurrence of commercial traffic. Impacts are potentially related with deterioration of coastal degradation, of the quality of its resources. In view to preserve the marine environment and to ensure the sustainability of its natural health, Morocco is trying hard to translate gradually its international commitments in national legislation level. This effort is further required that these engagements have involved in specific programs participation, particularly in the Mediterranean. These programs often result in the implementation of resolutions or recommendations targeted to complete a rigorous policy of sustainable development of marine coastal environment.

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