Sfax in Tunisia engages in fighting marine litter through the ENI CBC MED project ENSERES


"Bad smells, pollution, insects and health risks: the inhabitants of Sfax talk about a daily life that has become unbearable. The situation is so critical that the governor has asked for the direct intervention of the army to secure the waste collection circuits”. Thus, just a few days ago, the newspaper La Presse de Tunisie recounted the serious environmental crisis in the city of Sfax in Tunisia. An emergency, the one linked to pollution, which is only the latest manifestation of a structural problem.

For this reason, the Regional Ecological Observatory of the city of Sfax, ORES, has decided to use the funding provided by ENSERES to develop a project that intends to address the problem of waste in a systematic and integrated way, involving the community in a practice that in the long run period can become decisive.

“The region has seen the accumulation of quantities of waste over a long period of time, turning the city into an open-air landfill. This emergency has generated a general awareness, especially at the level of civil society actors. In this regard and following the alarming news of the city, we felt the urgency to act and propose initiatives aimed at finding immediate solutions, starting from the marine area”, says Amira Makni, president of ORES. The outcome of such an effort has been “Tackle Marine Pollution”. Thanks to the ENSERES subgrant, the Sfax port will see the birth of a co-management committee formed by the representatives of all the entities operating in the area, fishermen, institutions and environmental organizations. The committee will be the result of workshops and training sessions, necessary for the development of a shared strategy.

Subsequently, an environmental diagnostic will be carried out. The identification of polluters will be made in order to have a database and a rational picture of this dangerous situation.  The project will then pass to its operative phase, characterized by awareness-rising and clean-up activities. In the meantime, preventive measures to protect the port’s marine environment will be discussed and established.  “Tackle Marine Pollution” will also allow the collaboration between a start-up and the University of Sfax. Together they will work on the construction of a collection/depollution machine that will help the local authorities to preserve the port’s waters.

Thanks to the ENSERES project and ORES, all together we will be able to raise the level of awareness and involvement of the various actors and the community”, Wajdi Aydi, deputy mayor of the Municipality of Sfax. “This initiative - continues Aydi - introduces a new solution for the clean-up of the marine environment surrounding the port. It will help to face the emergency and at the same time serve as a model of collective effort for the solution of an old and threatening issue”.