22 May 2012 08:00
Manshiyat Naser, also known as Garbage City, is a shanty town in Cairo inhabited by mostly Coptic Christians. The over-populated area is known for its lack of a proper sewage system, electricity, and its polluted water system. Municipal water is scarcely distributed in the city but is often diverted to more prestigious locations. The Zabaleen, or garbage collectors, earn their livelihood by sorting and recycling the city’s waste. Some of the first Coptic farmers who arrived to Cairo in the 1940’s were in charge of the same task. Now, Manshiyat Naser consists of different families and areas that are in charge of various recycling projects. The government, however, rarely tends to the slum settlement and relies on the Zabaleen to do the necessary but dirty work.