Partly poor air quality, scarce water resources, pollution of the coasts and seas, inadequate waste management, nature conservation and increasing desertification are the biggest environmental problems in Algeria. A number of measures have been implemented (or at least addressed) in Algerian environmental policy, in particular with regard to desertification, waste management and the protection of coastal and marine regions, but there is a strong implementation deficit between plan and action. In many cases there is awareness-raising and gathering information in the foreground. The Algerian state endeavors to provide the environmental authorities with legal instruments for effective environmental management in the interests of preserving the national heritage (“patrimoine”). However, there is a lack of the necessary financial resources to effectively implement and enforce the applicable law and the applicable standards and limit values, e.g. first of all a comprehensive or at least large-scale monitoring of the environmental situation using qualified measuring instruments, in particular with regard to air pollution, Soil and water quality.
According to aristmarketing, Algeria is – in its southern part, the Sahara – one of the most arid areas on earth; however, the regional differences (especially in comparison to the relatively rainy northern Algeria) are very large. Four fifths of the national territory are arid and semi-arid areas, affected by soil degradation and erosion. Wastewater and waste from industrial companies and households are increasingly polluting the scarce ground and surface water. The coastal waters are suffering from the construction boom in the densely populated coastal regions and the increase in activity in the ten major Mediterranean ports of Algeria.
In general, an increase in desertification is observed in the Sahara regions, which is attributed to anthropogenic climate changes. In addition, it is assumed that as a result of the expropriation of the nomads and the seizure of the land for growing wheat during the French colonial period, the Algerian nomads were forced to switch to poorer soils and overexploit them, which encouraged desertification.
In the 1950’s, France undertook nuclear weapon tests in the desert. Numerous people suffer from long-term effects in different ways; the extent of long-term contamination of the affected areas is controversial. There is no precise documentation.
Radioactive residues, for which there is no evidence of disposal, also arise in the production of oil and natural gas. Another environmental problem arises from gas and oil extraction and the associated gas, which is largely flared. Flaring results in high local CO2 emissions.
Near Tamanrasset in the extreme south, the state oil and gas monopoly Sontatrach is testing gas extraction by fracking. Negative effects on the environment from this process are controversial, but there are now protests against it not only in western countries, but also on a massive scale in Algeria itself because of the feared water pollution. However, there is no particular time pressure; studies are currently underway that do not suggest effective use before 2020.
Environmental protection concerns are not considered to be a priority, and unfortunately, environmental pollution is often little noticed, especially in inner-city areas (wild rubbish dumps, bottles and beverage cans, all types of household waste).
The Algerian state has set priorities as part of its environmental action plan: the existing reservoirs are to be significantly expanded and the water shortage compensated for by seawater desalination.
In the city of Annaba near the Tunisian border, GIZ has carried out a groundbreaking project on ” integrated environmental management ” that integrates the most diverse aspects of waste management, from awareness and education to the setting up of rubbish bins and the collection and disposal of waste. The focus here was not primarily on the technical feasibility, but on the involvement of the population.
Flags and symbols
The national flag
The green color is the color of Islam, the crescent moon has also established itself as an Islamic symbol, but together with the star it is probably of pre-Islamic origin. White is the color of purity.
The flag is almost identical to the flag of the FLN during the War of Independence until 1962 and has been adopted as the national flag. There are different theories about its origin.
The state seal
The seal has existed since 1976.
In the middle is the hand of Fatima, surrounded by three ears of grain. Below that are the crescent moon and star as symbols of Islam. Behind the hand is the atlas, behind which the sun rises. To the right and left of the hand are a factory and plants. The seal is surrounded by the state name in Arabic.
The National anthem
The national anthem is a contemporary freedom and battle song written by a fighter in prison during the 1956 War of Independence:
We swear by the destructive thunderbolt,
By the rivers of pure blood that has been shed,
By the serene flags
That blow proudly on the high mountains, That we have risen, and whether we live or die,
That we have decided that May Algeria live.
You should testify to that!