Water pollution and waste management are well and truly high on the list of Moroccans’ environmental concerns, while air pollution and climate change are not considered important.
A new survey by the Arab Barometer network has highlighted the growing ecological awareness of environmental issues in the North African region.
As for water resources, 58% of Moroccans are concerned about water pollution, 47% are also concerned about the problem related to waste management, while the national level of concern regarding air quality is 41% and 37% of the population believe that the risk of climate change is very high.
Throughout the region, including Morocco, environmental concerns (climate change, air quality, water pollution and waste management) are more important for people with a university education than for people with a secondary education. This percentage reaches 48% among young Moroccans holding higher university degrees.
Attitudes towards the environment vary across urban/rural areas in the MENA region. Climate change being considered more dangerous by citizens living in rural areas than by those living in urban areas, including Moroccan villagers (38% say climate change is very dangerous).
On the other hand, the problem of waste management is considered by urban citizens of Tunisia, Yemen and Morocco as a very serious challenge, while it is considered a more serious problem in rural areas of Sudan. Whereas, climate change is not a major environmental concern for young Arabs like their peers elsewhere in the world.
However, young Egyptians, Moroccans and Sudanese express more concern than their older counterparts about this. Data from the “Arab Barometer” also show a divergence in environmental opinions by gender. Indeed, 46% of young Moroccans aged 19 to 28 are extremely afraid of climate change.
Despite awareness of the dangers of certain climate issues in the Middle East and North Africa, environmental protection does not reflect the priorities emerging from citizens’ spending. In this regard, only 4% of Moroccans surveyed say that reducing environmental pollution should be a top priority in terms of public spending.