Environmental Awareness Compaign in Béja – Tunisia

Basing itself on observations made in January 2016 in the area of Sidi Ismaïl, the team of Exploralis decided to launch a campaign to raise awareness on the harmful aspect of the rejection of the vegetable water (the so-called “margines”) in the Medjerda river

Exploralis is a non-governmental organization founded in Tunisia with an interest in environmental issues. It develops scientific research projects and works to integrate the information produced in a pedagogical approach of citizen sharing and accountability.

We have been working for three years on the Medjerda River, precisely on its ecological dynamics.

The Medjerda basin is the greatest water reserve of the country. Its water is used to irrigate more than 80 thousand hectares of farmlands and to supply with drinking water more than one third of the Tunisian population

 

Basing itself on observations made in January 2016 in the area of Sidi Ismaïl, the team of Exploralis decided to launch a campaign to raise awareness on the harmful aspect of the rejection of the vegetable water (the so-called “margines”) in the Medjerda river

The margines are viscous, acid effluents, rich in organic matters and polyphenols resulting from the extraction of the olive oil. They have harmful effects on the ground, the rivers, the public network and equipment of cleansing when they are rejected without treatment, without control and in excessive amounts.

When they are rejected in an anarchistic way in a river as it is the case of Medjerda or its affluents, the margines completely destroy the aquatic fauna and flora by absorption of the oxygen dissolved in the water. Indeed, the phenolic compounds oxidize easily by the oxygen of the environment, thus undergoing an ionization, which makes the environment completely unbreathable. The capacity of self-purification of the river is thus destroyed, and combined with the effects of the salinity of the margines, any aquatic life is completely inhibited there.

Sensitizing the local population to this problem is an important issue in order to preserve this crucial water reserve for the country. Exploralis decided to act through a campaign of public display in the region of Béja.

The campaign was launched on September 18th, 2017 in the downtown area of Béja, via five posters of 10 m ² and presents two variations.

The first poster represents a schoolboy who holds a water glass, that seems to be filled by a pigmented black liquid which points out to the margines, the child looks with at it with disgust. The glass is emphasized with a big clear plan, which puts it in first importance in the poster.

In great clear and central characters appears the principal message (ﺓﺮﻀﻣ ﻞﺑ ﺎﻨﻴﻠﻋ ﻊﺟﺮﻳ ﺓﺩﺮﺠﻣ ﻲﻓ ﺐﺼﺘﻳ ﻲﻟﺇ ﻦﻴﺟﺮﻤﻟﺍ ءﺎﻣ), which means, “the margines poured in Medjerda are harmful for our health”.

In an additional sentence written in green with smaller characters, are mentioned relevant statistical data (ﺔﺴﻧﺍﻮﺘﻠﻣ 30% ﻦﻣ ﺮﺜﻛﻻ ﺏﺮﺸﻠﻟ ﺢﻟﺎﺼﻟﺍ ءﺎﻤﻟﺍ ﺮﻓﻮﻳ ﺓﺩﺮﺠﻣ ﺽﻮﺣ) which means, : »The Medjerda basin supplies with drinking water more than one third of the Tunisian population ».

The second poster takes again the same concept as that of the schoolboy but utilized a farmer to denounce this practice. Nothing changes for the first message, however the additional text highlights the contribution of Medjerda for the agriculture. (ﻱﺮﻟﺍ ﻩﺎﻴﻤﺑ ﺔﻴﻋﺍﺭﺰﻟﺍ ﻲﺿﺍﺭﻷﺍ ﻦﻣ ﺭﺎﺘﻜﻫ ﻒﻟﺃ80 ﻦﻣ ﺮﺜﻛﺃ ﺩﻭﺰﻳ ﺓﺩﺮﺠﻣ ﺩﺍﻭ), Medjerda is used to irrigate more than 80 thousand hectares of farmlands.

 

It is clear that the first variation, that of the schoolboy, targets the classical citizen, who can undergo this pollution, while the second variation involves the farmer in the process as a possible cause of the problem but also as one of its victims since  the waters of the river irrigates thousands of hectares of farmlands.

Cette Compagne de sensibilisation a été lancée le 18 septembre 2017 dans le gouvernorat de Béja en affichage urbain et a été placée sur des panneaux de 10 m². Une deuxième étape de cette compagne va être lancée sur la toile et les réseaux sociaux.

This project was designed and implemented by Exploralis and jointly financed by the Regional Environmental center (REC) through its project WaterSum and  the Small Scale initiatives for Civil Society Organisations in North Africa