The Blue Flag will be raised at 27 Moroccan beaches and three marinas in the summer of 2023. This exacting international beach quality label is awarded annually under the supervision of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, chaired by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa.
The Blue Flag is an international ecolabel awarded by the Federation for Environmental Education. With 30 beaches and marinas bearing the Blue Flag, Morocco, where the label was first introduced in 2002, ranks as the country with the most Blue Flags in the Arab world, and the second-most in Africa.
The Blue Flag is highly coveted by coastal communities in charge of beach management, because of the image it projects of the beach and its attractiveness to vacationers. A total of 47 beaches applied for the label in 2023. In December 2022, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, together with the Direction Générale des Collectivités Territoriales (General Directorate for Local Authorities), hosted a workshop to assist local authorities in organizing and putting together their applications. Beaches are required to comply with a variety of water quality criteria, not only the more familiar – but also many others. The label sets out requirements relating to cleanliness, hygiene, upkeep, equipment, and safety, as well as activities and environmental awareness. Unannounced checks are carried out throughout the season to ensure compliance with label criteria.
All 28 beaches awarded the label in 2022 successfully reclaimed their flags, with the exception of Dakhla’s Moussafir beach, which ultimately withdrew its application because of construction works scheduled on the beach this year, rendering it temporarily inaccessible.
As for marinas, following in the footsteps of Saïdia in 2018 and Est Marina Smir in 2022, Al Hoceima Marina was in turn awarded the Blue Flag in 2023. Criteria for awarding a Blue Flag to a marina are even more exacting, particularly in terms of waste management.
Ocean and beach pollution are now critical areas of concern for the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, which began rolling out its b7#bharblaplastic operation aimed at building widespread awareness of plastic pollution among summer holidaymakers, as well as beach waste collection and recycling, in 2019.
The operation, due to run for the fourth time in 2023, is already a benchmark. All Blue Flag beaches are involved, and #b7arblaplastic was designated as the best Blue Flag beach awareness-raising practice worldwide by the International Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 2020. In 2023, Moroccan-labeled beaches will join the operation in collecting, sorting, and recycling waste.
#b7arblaplastic is now a United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences 2021-2030 pilot action. Scientists today study the significant impact of such pollution on marine flora and fauna, and consequently on human beings.