Egypt: Moqattam Zabaleen
24 images Created 6 Dec 2008
In the Moqattam area of greater Cairo live the Zabaleen, or garbage collectors. Mostly Coptic Christians from Upper Egypt, they came to Cairo in the 1950s in search of work. The Zabaleen are now responsible for collecting and recycling most of Cairo's waste. The waste is brought to Moqattam where it is sorted through and separated, most homes double as small factories where much of the family is involved in the process. They recycle plastic, glass, metal, paper, fabrics and just about everything else that Cairo's nearly 20 million people throw away each day. Discarded food is also separated and used as feed for animals, mostly pigs. The Egpytian government has threatened for decades to fully privatize the city's waste collection, which would threaten the livelihood of the tens of thousands of Moqattam Zabaleen.