Egypt: Garbage City of Cairo

Garbage City—So you have 18-22 million people in Cairo (many undocumented to avoid taxes) and no real services, so where does the garbage go?  To Mokattam mountain.  It is a Coptic Christian community.  (Muslims won’t handle garbage due to religious beliefs.)  The Zabbaleen (literally means garbage collector in Arabic) contract with neighborhoods to pick up all their garbage, usually in little pickup trucks piled two or three times their height.  They take it home and dump it in their homes and sort it, selling what they can.   They recycle a great deal.  Up until Swine Flu, they raised pigs that ate the food waste.  Moses, our guide, said after they slaughtered all the pigs they imported a worm from Australia to eat all the food waste.  (After that, you couldn’t get pork in Cairo.) Smell, flies, garbage everywhere, it isn’t a place I can imagine living.  Yet these people do.   This site– is an organization that helps them recycle scraps and rags from materials factories to make purses, rugs, recycled paper, etc.  and provides hepatitis support for sorting the medical waste from the hospitals and the toilet paper…oh.  I haven’t told you about the toilet paper yet.  Ummmm….in Egypt, everywhere, there are signs in the restrooms.  Signs that say “Please don’t throw the toilet paper in the toilet.”  They want you to throw it in the trash cans.  They said something about the sewer system not being able to handle the paper.  Unfortunately, that means the Zabaleen is exposed to that. 

This is some of the paper they make and sell.



~ by collidescopes on January 5, 2012.

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