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Borj jbal Chakir/Attar landfill . Greater Tunis (Tunis, Ariana, La Manouba, Ben Arous)

    This landfill was built in 1999 over an area of approximately 120 hectares. It is located in the middle of thousands of hectares of fertile agricultural areas. Since its construction, this landfill is the major source of nuisance for residents of the surrounding areas:

    • The bad odors from the landfill and the leachate ponds are felt within a radius of 5 km. These nuisances affect mostly residents of El Attar / Borj Chakir, Sidi HassineJayara, and Mornaguia, a population of more than 50,000 people.

  • There is poor management of leachate in the landfill. The treatment capacity is inadequate, and as a result, huge amounts have infiltrated the ground and contaminated the groundwater in the area within a radius of about 5 km of the landfill. As a result, several wells were contaminated. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health have commissioned them since nitrate concentrations (as well as other contaminants) exceeded all tolerable limits. As a result of water contamination, many families have no water to water their animals, or to irrigate their fields.
  • Skin diseases’ appeared in the children of the local population. At the moment, they mainly consist of scratching lesions. It is not yet clear whether these diseases can develop into more serious ones such as skin cancer. Respiratory diseases have emerged within the local population and they consist primarily of respiratory problems and asthma. These findings are consistent with results of very extensive scientific studies that have been conducted in the United States and Europe in the eighties and niveties on the health impacts of landfills on the inhabitants of neighboring areas.
  • Since the revolution of 17 December 14 January, residents of Borj Chakir / Attar have taken steps to force government officials to take steps to reduce pollution. They held discussions with municipal and local representatives. These efforts were poorly organized and remained without any tangible results since government officials have simply always found excuses to ask for more time to resolve the problems caused by the landfill. On the ground, nothing has been done and the claims of residents Borj Chakir / Attar never reached high government officials (Ministry of Environment and the First Ministry)

  • The problem with this landfill is much more complex than other ones:
  • This is by far the largest landfill in Tunisia with a capacity of over 3,000 tons /day. This number could reach 4000 tons/day during the cleanliness campaigns. Jbel Borj Chakir is the only landfill in the Greater Tunis (governorates of Tunis, Manouba, Ariana and Ben Arous), for a population of over 3,000,000 inhabitants.
  • The pollution generated by this landfill is far more important than other ones. At this site, there are more than 11 leachate ponds (total capacity of 400 000 m3) which are all in open air.
  • On a regular basis, the operator discharge significant quantities of leachate into the environment. As a result, the water table within 5 km radius has been contaminated. Several wells have been commissioned by the ministries of environment, agriculture and health
  • The surface of the open front of wastes, ie wastes that is not covered by fill is more than 20,000 m2.
  • The number of trucks crossing the community El Attat / Borj Chakir exceeds 200/day for an average trucks / 5 minutes. This traffic goes on for 24 hours/day, day and night without a distinction.
  • The biggest problem by far is the new landfill that ANGeD managed near the El Attar community. Since 2008, it was expected that the Jbel Borj Chakir landfill would shut down in the summer of 2013. The Ministry of Environment plans to build another landfill waste Kabouti near Mornag and substantial work was undertaken in 2010. After the fall of the Ben Ali regime on 14 January 2011, residents of Kabouti halted the construction and made it clear that they refuse to see a landfill built near their community. This area is agricultural, encompasses the most fertile land in Tunisia and is a few hundred meters from the largest dam in Mornag, the Oued Al Hma Dam. Despite all the negotiations, the Kbouti residents stood firm on their position.

  • Since the end of 2011, we attracted the attention of public opinion and the decision makers to this thorny issue. On many occasions we have called on the authorities to look for another site to build a new landfill for the Greater Tunis and to undertake a radical change of the waste management strategy in Tunisia as all communities are rejecting the construction of landfills near them. Unfortunately, nothing has been done and now we are facing a catastrophic situation

  • The Greater Tunis is now facing a serious waste crisis since there is no other landfill ready to receive more than 3,000 tons of waste / day. The only solution left for the authorities is to expand the Jbel Borj Chakir landfill, which has reached its full capacity. This expansion will take place in an area located less than 50 meters from the El Attar area. The local residents of this neighborhood oppose this project as it will make an already bad situation worse. They are supported by residents of nearby communities such as Sidi Hassine, Jayara, Bouregba and Mornaguia .

  • We worked with the residents of El Attat / Borj Chakir area and identified all the problems caused by the landfill activities. We contacted the local and federal authorities and exposed the media our findings. In a relatively short time we managed to bring this issue to the forefront of the public opinion discussions.

    Based our experience with the Enkhila landfill (governorate of Nabeul) and Oued Laya / Naggar (Governorate of Sousse) one, we directly addressed senior officials in the first ministry and representatives of National Constituent Assembly (ANC ). At the ANC, we have had constructive discussions with members of the "Environment and Energy" commission. Other meetings are scheduled with senior government officials and other high-level members of the ANC to establish a clear action plan for improvements to be made at the landfill:
  • The establishment of a clearly defined action plan to make the landfill conform to international standards
  • The establishment of a new waste management strategy that will minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills
  • The establishment of a timeline to get all the leachate on site treated and the ponds emptied in a short period of time.
  • Consider quick ways to find another site to build a new landfill.

  • The Greater Tunis area is facing a major waste crisis. Works at the Kabouti site have not been completed. Residents of areas surrounding the Jbel Borj Chakir landfill are strongly opposed to its expansion; The future looks very grim and this crisis will certainly become worse over time