Rabat – Morocco’s Secretary of State for Sustainable Development Nezha El Ouafi said that the economic cost of air pollution in Morocco is estimated at 1.62 percent of the country’s GDP.The statement came during a press briefing at the National Laboratory for Studies and Pollution Monitoring. El Ouafi added that the cost of air pollution in Morocco adds up to nearly $1.2 billion per year due to its effects on public health and the environment.The worrying number means Morocco attaches special importance to air pollution because of its direct impact on people and the environment, El Ouafi said. Vehicle emissions are the most important sources of air pollution in Moroccan urban centers, accounting for 50 to 60 percent of the pollution. Aside from causing economic problems, air pollution causes a great public health risk globally. According to a 2016 World Health Organization study, 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. The study also found that a shocking 92 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with unhealthy levels of pollution.Read also: Villagers in Morocco Demand Return of Their Land after Mining Pollution
A proposed deal to sell Stelco to Bedrock Industries is facing local opposition. The union representing Hamilton Steelworkers is saying the deal is too “lean”. The local 1005 says they’re not opposed to Bedrock buying Stelco, they just want more money going into the pension deficit than what’s being promised.Roughly 540 people currently work at Stelco which was once the largest steel maker in the country. Stelco, recently renamed by its current owner US Steel Canada, is looking to restructure after a deal with Bedrock Industries but the sale needs court approval.Experts say the proposed sale satisfies two major creditors: US Steel in the States, and the Provincial Government.While Bedrock has promised to keep retiree pensions and post retirement benefits, the president of the union representing steel workers doesn’t like the deal. There are currently 14,000 Stelco pensioners and 800 million is owed to the pension plan. Bedrock hasn’t agreed to cover that whole amount, or even pay it off over time.