"Tourist who swim in the sea near the wadi come out with irritated, red skin"
About five hundred people live in and around Mrigueb. Many of them make their living from tourism. I’m afraid that one day soon, the local tourism industry will collapse due to the wadi’s pollution, which gives off a horrible smell. When you get close to the wadi, it becomes really intolerable. And as the pollution is getting worse and worse, I’m worried that this smell will spread.However, the biggest problem is that the little rivers that run off the wadi go into the sea. These days, villagers no longer swim in the sea, because they’re afraid they’ll get sick. The only ones who do go for a swim are uninformed tourists, who come out with irritated, red skin. Whenever I see people swimming, I rush to tell them about the dangers they face.When the factories first set up shop here, they ran pipes under some raisin fields; their waste water ended up in a ditch belonging to the field owners. But as the water was contaminated the fields, the owners filled up the ditch. They then turned to the wadi.We’re not asking for the factories to be shut down; they’ve provided our community with about 40 jobs. We just want them to set up a water sanitation centre to treat their waste.I along with some other local residents made formal complaints about this at the local, state, and national level. Every time, we were promised things would change. But of course, nothing was done. So we then decide to fix the problem ourselves. We had an excavator come in and fill in the wadi with sand. But the polluted water kept coming back, so we gave up on this tactic.
"The anchovies’ blood is what gives Tafekhsit wadi its bright red colour"
The SOGECO factory, when it set up here in 1981, used pipes that the state had already built to dispose of this waste. But at the time, Tunisia wasn’t preoccupied with ecology. A few years later, SOGECO, which is a private company, decided to build a water sanitation centre. Once the water is purified, it goes to a local dump. Thanks to this, my company’s practices are perfectly compliant with today’s environmental laws.Those responsible for the wadi’s pollutions are the managers of the two Italian factories [MEDIMER and SDT]. They have no respect for the environment. They would rather make the wadi filthy than spend money on a sanitation centre. Their specialty is raw anchovies. The anchovies’ blood is what gives Tafekhsit wadi its bright red colour.