Bulldozers cleaning the Avenue du 2 mars in Casablanca.
When important Moroccans visit Casablanca – notably, Morocco’s king – bulldozers sweep all the trash from the sides of the roads and leave them spic and span. However, just a few metres away, hidden behind bushes, trash keeps piling up, out of sight of royal eyes.
Casablanca has one of the highest air pollution rates in the kingdom. In 2008, it was home to a full 20 percent of all Moroccans suffering from respiratory diseases. Pollution in the form of trash is also scattered over the city’s sidewalks and empty lots, which are often used as de facto dumps in the absence of adequate garbage collection services.
Bulldozers cleaning the side of the road in Casablanca. Filmed on May 16.

"The authorities have abandoned our neighbourhood"

Youessgera is a student. He lives in Zkawra, a residential neighbourhood of Casablanca.
I filmed these videos on May 16 in my neighbourhood, which is located along one of the city’s main thoroughfares. City officials usually decide to clean the streets when a famous person is visiting the city. The clean-up is very superficial. Recently they cleaned the road because King Mohammed VI was visiting. [Morocco’s king was in Casablanca on May 8 to launch “profound” reforms to the judicial system.] However, just a few metres away, still on the side of the road, there is a huge empty lot, located right next to a school, and over the past decade it has turned into a dump. No bulldozer has ever ventured that far.
Every night, people come here to throw their trash and the authorities have never cared. Sometimes, it smells just awful. It’s also infested with insects; no doubt the trash attracts them. Personally, I’m afraid this might be a breeding ground for diseases. No one dares ask the government to do anything about it, and we all know they wouldn’t do anything, anyway. Our neighbourhood has been abandoned.
Empty lot near the residential neighbourhood of Zkawra in Casablanca. Photos by our Observer, Younessgera.