For almost 35 years, the Sahrawi people, secluded in the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria have been patiently waiting for a settlement to the conflict that would enable it to return to its homeland,occupied by neighboring Morroco.
Totally dependent on humanitarian aid for its survival, the Sahrawi people have grown used to consuming all sorts of goods from developed countries, usually packed in cans or plastics. With time, this accumulation of wastes, both inside and outside the camps, has turned these camps into real garbage dumps.
Although, in spite of living in unhealthy conditions surrounded by garbage, there is no danger of epidemics breaking out due to its extreme climate, all the families that live in these camps are indirectly affected by the total lack of removal, treatment and storage of wastes. A study carried out on goats, a staple of the Sahrawi people, with no apparent disease as a cause of death, reached an alarming conclusion: three out of five goats died because they continuously fed on plastics.
The NGO Movement for Peace, known as MPDL, Spanish acronym, has been carrying out, for a few years, a waste management program, that includes awareness-raising amongst the population of this problem, financing and development of different local removal options, maintenance of the transport vehicles needed and storage in garbage dumps located outside the living areas.