ALGERIA

Algerian activists fight to clean ‘rubbish bin’ beaches

These striking photos were taken recently in Bejaïa, a bay located on the Algerian coast. Our Observer says that the sea washes up tonnes of rubbish onto the beaches of this little bay in the Melbou locality every winter. Local authorities' diastrous waste management is responsible for the pollution.

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Picture recently took by Rani Barka on the beach of Melbou, in the area of Bejaïa. Posted on Twitter.

These striking photos were taken recently in Bejaïa, a bay located on the Algerian coast. Our Observer says that the sea washes up tonnes of rubbish onto the beaches of this little bay in the Melbou locality every winter. Local authorities' disastrous waste management is responsible for the pollution.

Picture took by Rani Barka and posted on Twitter.

Nabil Boubkeur is an activist in the Association for the promotion of tourism and the environment (Apte).

Because there is no waste treatment plant in the wilaya of Bejaïa, the local authorities throw the rubbish into a landfill next to small streams that feed into the ocean.

When the water rises, the rubbish is picked up and swept away to the ocean. Then, the currents push the rubbish back up onto the beaches. These “wild” landfills occur all over the region.

For example, the villages of Melbou and Souk El Ténine share a landfill site, which is located alongside the banks of the Agourine stream, only 500 metres from the beach.

Picture took by Rani Barka and posted on Twitter.

Worse, in the village of Aokas, the rubbish is actually just dumped on the beach!

For the past 15 years, I have been participating in campaigns to collect rubbish around Melbou. Each spring, we bring volunteers together to clean up the beaches. The municipality provides us with trucks. However, the rubbish we collect is thrown away into one of the landfills that spills into the ocean each year. It is a grotesque situation.

As long as the authorities haven’t solved the problem of waste management and set up proper waste treatment plants, cleaning up the beaches doesn’t really do much good.

These volunteer-led clean-up campaigns suit the authorities and allows them to show off their clean beaches during the summer season. In order to force the authorities to accept their responsibilities, this year, I have told my fellow volunteers to stop participating in the rubbish collecting campaign.

FRANCE 24 has made several attempts to contact the authorities in Melbou village. We will publish their response as soon as they reply.

At the end of December 2013, we shared a video showing municipal workers emptying their dumpsters into the Kherrata gorges, located upstream of Bejaïa bay-- one of the most beautiful natural sites in northern Algeria.