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Francesca Remorini



May 2014, Garbage city, Cairo

Manshiyat Nasser, or as it is more popularly known, Garbage City,“ is a slum settlement with a population of around 30,000 on the outskirts of the Moqattam Hills, within Cairo’s sprawling metropolitan area. The village is notable for having nearly every space of it covered in garbage, including the streets and rooftops of the settlement.

These informal garbage collectors, called the Zabbaleen or "Garbage people,“ collect the garbage of Cairo’s residents in a door-to-door service for a small fee and then transport it via donkey carts or pick-up trucks to their homes in Manshiyat Nasser. Once home, they sort the garbage for recyclable material. The collecting of the trash is traditionally the men’s work, while women and children sort the garbage. Far ahead of any modern ‘green’ initiatives, they recycle 80 percent of the garbage they collect, while most Western garbage collecting companies can only recycle about 20-25 percent of the waste. Egypt is a Muslim-majority country. However, over 90 percent of the Zabbaleen community in the Mokattam village are Coptic Christians.

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