Morocco pledges billions to tackle climate change
A raft of sustainability initiatives have been announced by Morocco in a move that could cement the country's reputation as the environmental pioneer of the Arab world.
The package of green measures will include funding for eco schools, plans to phase out plastic bags and a project to harness energy from methane gas emitted by the vast El Oulja landfill site, minimising pollution in the Bouregreg valley and allow the development of bio-gas technology to treat solid waste and wastewater.
The Moroccan capital, Rabat, was just one of five international cities chosen by the Earth Day network to officially host the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
Morocco Earth Day commissioner, Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun said: "I think it bears testament to the significant progress we have already made in tackling climate change.
"It has also enabled us to demonstrate our long-term commitment to the environmental cause and our desire - indeed the desire of all Moroccans - to build a sustainable future for our people. We hope that other countries will be inspired to follow our example."
Several national programmes and initiatives have already been implemented in the country, in key sectors such as water, agriculture, industry, construction and energy.
These include the national Energy Strategy launched in March 2009, as well as a $9-billion investment in solar energy to reduce the country's carbon emissions by 3.7 million tonnes per year.
By 2020, Morocco expects renewable energy sources to account for 42% of its total installed power.
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