by Loubna Flah
by Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, Morocco, July 16, 2012
The North Observatory of Human Rights (NOHR) revealed in its report the illegal extraction of sand in the Martyl region in northern Morocco. The exploration of sand has reached 800 meter square per day which equals 5 Million MAD ($600,000) of revenues per month. The illegal extraction of sand is likely to erode beaches, which might threaten the eco-system.
According to the daily Al Massae, the report warned decision-makers against the repercussions of sand looting operations on the region’s ecosystems.
The observers testify that looting operations start usually at 5 in the morning with dozens of trucks carrying the looted sand cross a security barrier in Martyl without being inspected by police officer s.
The report considers these operations as covert forms of corruption that have strong ties with rentier economy lobbies. The Observers called the local authorities to put an end to the exhaustion of natural resources expressing their support to Martyl residents who have repeatedly protested against the pillage of sand in the region.
The government’s response was rather swift. Mr. Aziz Rebbah, minister of equipment and transport requested the NOHR to submit their report to the ministry for thorough examination. The ministry is likely to conduct an investigation to examine the accuracy of the looting allegations.
Mr. Rebbah was expected to face rentier economy in the transport and the building sectors with an iron fist. Yet, the reprisal against illegal exploitation of sand quarries was rather dawdling, casting doubt on the government’s ability to put an end to rentier economy cronies who have aggregated colossal revenues in total impunity.
It is worth recalling that the sand quarries exploitation is a highly lucrative business. With a low investment costs, this sector generates high revenues amounting to billions of dirhams. Nevertheless, the sand quarries business remains highly competitive, which often triggers antagonism among its major stakeholders.