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CAMP "Sfax" (Tunisia)

The project area


Sfax is the major industrial and commercial city in the southern part of Tunisia, situated at the north shore of the Bay of Gabes, with islands Kerkenna in the east. Marine area between the coast and the islands Kerkenna constitute a platform slightly inclined, which is at the most 5 metres deep at north and 2 metres at south. The current of the tide return the thrown pollutants back at the coast, and that is why this area is extremely vulnerable to pollution. The city of Sfax is spread on 55 km2, while the Big-Sfax covers 140 km2. The population of this area is in constant growth with the rate of 2.1% a year. In 1994, the city of Sfax had 230.000 and the Big-Sfax 400.000 inhabitants.

Major problems

Strong and fast industrial and urban development was not accompanied with appropriate measures regarding development of urban infrastructure and reduction of pollution. Consequently, the state of the environment of the sea is characerized by strong pollution which is at the origin of the eutrophication phenomena and the "red" tide.

    • Major industrial activities are: the production of chemical fertilizers and chemical industry, textile industry, tanneries, stocks of oil, salt-mines, production of olive oil and food industry, production of construction materials, ceramic and glass industry, soap industry, smelting works, etc. SIAPE is the biggest industry of phosphate; and the second large industry NPK was closed in 1987 because of high pollution. The residues of the production of chemical fertilizers are being thrown into two enormous warehouses of phosphogypsum, the first one is 12 metres high and covers an area of 40 ha, and the other one, 30 metres high, covers an area of 60 ha. These two warehouses are situated at the coastal strip of the urban area and unload in the sea the solid particles carried by the wind, as well as acids and washed particles.

    • About 80% of solid waste are thrown in public dump of Thyna and the remaining 20% are thrown in other sites of illegal dumps. Network for collecting used urban water receives about 40% of the generated amount. Big part of used water, which was not collected, is evacuated into the septic tanks, which are not planned or appropriately managed, and from which the waste is discharged straight to the sea. Industrial pollution is very strong; almost all of the waste and industrial waste are discharged without any treatment into the sea. Atmospheric pollution is caused by phosphate factories and chemical products. Liquid waste from numerous small and medium-size factories is discharged directly into the sea.

    • Port of Sfax receives 4.1 million of tons of merchandise every year, of which 1.6 million of tons of phosphates.


  • Area is characterized by a well-developed agriculture (35% of national production of almonds). The residues from the production of olive oil are thrown back in the dunghills near to the city.

Project activities

A set of individual activities was implemented within the framework of the project and integrated into the plan for water resource management and solid and liquid waste management, and into the plan for integrated management of the whole area of Sfax and a special plan for the south of the area. These activities were made up of: preparation for a inventory of pollutants, study on impacts of climate changes, elaboration of an emergency plan to set up of installations for capacity of the port, preparation of a programme for specially protected areas, elaboration of a study for protection and management of Medina de Sfax, elaboration of prospective studies with environment-development scenarios, creation of a GIS data base, preparation of a plan for integrated management of water resources and solid and liquid waste, and preparation of a plan for integrated management of Big-Sfax and of a detailed plan for Sfax-South. PAP/RAC was entrusted with carrying out of three last activities, while the others were implemented by other MAP centres.

Major projects results


  • Political intentions for a radical change of existing concept of development of the area, based on an industrial development and uncontrolled urban expansion and based on absence of urban infrastructure and of appropriate instruments of control.


  • New concept of development, elaborated in detail for two integrated management plans and prospective studies, insisted on controlled development and on policies of sustainable development and integrated management.


  • A set of measures concerning: implantation of local industries at north and at south of the area, establishment obligatory of pollution control instruments, development of urban and general infrastructures.


  • A plan for protection of underground waters.


  • Integral proposals concerning management of water resources, and liquid and solid waste man.


  • An integrated plan for urban sustainable development of the area and management plan for Sfax-South.


  • A set of priority actions which have to be examined, adopted and implemented progressively.

Proposed solutions envisage, among others, dislocation of SIAPE and rehabilitation of areas at present covered with warehouses of phosphogypsum, construction of a new station for treatment of waste water in the northern part of Big-Sfax and progressive extension of cleaning network, elimination of illegal dumps and dislocation of public dump of Thyna.


Based on the activities realized and the results obtained, 12 files have been prepared in respect to 12 activities that have been prioritised. For 6 of them feasibility studies and studies of impacts and financial and institutional requirements have been prepared.


MAP Technical Reports 135: Programme d'Aménagement Côtier (PAC) de la "Zone côtière de Sfax": Synthèse des études du projet, rapport de la réunion de clôture et autres documents choisis

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