National Geographic : 1983 Apr
OMMODITY MARKET, zabbaline style, returns Cairo junk to the consumer in a highly efficient system that costs the city nearly nothing. Flattened and baled, cans (left) are sold to craftsmen for recycling into gleaming new wares (below). The zabbaline actually pay garbage brokers for exclusive rights to certain collection routes, high-income neighborhoods being the most desirable. Men and .' children collect, while women stay home sifting and sorting the booty into great piles of paper, glass, textiles, bones, and metals. Food waste is reserved for- feeding to the broods of pigs that Coptic families 44 raise for their main cash crop. 3 K l j Y _ ,, II t. f eU" s" j" THE HUMAN COST for Cairo's low-priced waste disposal is higg h. Since inflow exceeds outflow, the live-in zabbaline dump yards consume ever more land, forcing the .. '.. squatters periodically to overstep their borders to erect new homes. When that happens, government bulldozers may leave angry crowds (left) and grieving families (right). Objects of scum by most Cairenes. the zabbaline suffer: :, not only exposure to disease but also a lack of schools, health care, and other municipal services. A World Bank study has encouraged civic action to provide such basics as water lines and a composting' plant to relieve waste buildup.