"Moqqatam is one of the most extraordinary and hellish suburbs on earth. It is home to a people known as the Zabaleen, said to be the world’s greatest waste recyclers. The Zabaleen, which means plainly enough, “the garbage collectors,” pick up around 4,000 tons of Cairo’s waste each day. American researchers have shown that the Zabaleen recycle 85% of this garbage into something useful: a higher rate than anywhere else on the planet. The men do two shifts leaving about 4 in morning and again around 9. The rubbish is taken back to Moqqatam for the women to sit in and sort through. The organic waste is fed to livestock, the rest sorted for recycling. The future of the Zabaleen is uncertain. If the Cairo authorities get their way, this community of 25,000 Coptic Christians living in a Muslim country will be gone, and with it their unique, astonishing lifestyle. "Here are a couple pics from our trip of "Garbage City"
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Adbusters recently created this brief slideshow about the Zabaleen people of the Moqqatam suberb in Cairo. It especially caught my eye because I had the opportunity to visit this place two summers ago and see what is known to many as "Garbage City." Here's the description from Adbusters: