This unbelievable city piled high with trash is a real place called Garbage City, outside of Cairo in Egypt. It’s populated by a community of workers called Zabbaleen, who personally collect, sort, reuse, resell or otherwise repurpose Cairo’s waste. Recently several photographers have trained their cameras upon the city, and now we see what it would really be like to live in the aftermath of our own consumption.
So here we are, on our green design blog, talking about confonting the waste produced by modern consumptive habits, reduce, reuse, get a pop-top purse, etcetera, and suddenly this photo shows up. This oddly fascinating metropolis is actually a very efficient waste management system: food scraps are fed to livestock, what can be repaired is, and everything else is recycled, sold for scrap, or burned for fuel. The Zabbaleen live at poverty levels but live a long-held tradition of scavenging as skill. Not surprisignly, many photographers have become facinated with the community.
Bas Princen recently displayed a photo at the Netherlands Architecture Institute. Klavs Bo Christensen has a stunning collection of black and white images on Lightstalkers. Alexander Heilner documents a drearier day-to-day on Marketplace. At every angle, Garbage City feels like what the world would look like if someone grabbed it by the corner and shook it.
Cairo has attempted to replace this mass of independent workers with multinational waste management corporations, putting an already impoverished community at risk. To make matters worse, the government ordered a widespread slaughter of pigs earlier this year in an attempt to curtail the potential spread of swine flu. These are the same pigs to whom the Zabbaleen fed compotable waste. The result has reportedly been a trash-strewn Cairo. Which meant, at least in September, that many Egyptians might have felt a little like Zabbaleen.
178 Comments >
19-Year-Old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From the World's Oceans
- 106 Comments >
- 38 Comments >
- 20 Comments >
- 2002 Comments >
411 Comments >
BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win a HP Pavilion dv6 Laptop and Green Prize Package (Worth $1155!)
- 391 Comments >
- 366 Comments >
- 350 Comments >
284 Comments >
LAST CHANCE: Enter to Win a Voltaic Laptop-Charging Solar Backpack Filled With Green School Supplies (Worth $500)!
281 Comments >
GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win a Sloan AQUS Grey Water Toilet System That Recycles Your Sink Water (Worth $189)!
- 247 Comments >
240 Comments >
LAST CHANCE: Enter Inhabitat's Back To School Contest to Win $250+ of Green Goodies Including a Voltaic Solar Backpack (Worth $129)
- 228 Comments >
- 221 Comments >
- 187 Comments >
Did you know that there are wolves living near you in almost every state in the country? Sadly most of these wolves are not living in the wild, but in wolf sanctuaries, which are conservation organizations set up to protect them and help grow their populationREAD MORE >
Namba Parks was conceived when Osaka Stadium closed down, presenting a great redevelopment opportunity for a new commercial district right next to the Namba Train Station, which is just one stop away from Kansai Airport. Since it's one of the first placesREAD MORE >
Top image: A child is put to work at a militia-run mine in Watsa. © Marcus Bleasdale/National Geographic Captured during a 2004 visit to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, Bleasdale's images "tell the story of the country's mineral resourceREAD MORE >
You've all heard the tired mantras about changing your lightbulbs and recycling at home in order to save the planet - are you yawning yet? Many consumers think that going green is a gesture of self-sacrifice that often comes at great expense and inconvenienceREAD MORE >
BANANAS You might have heard that bananas are favored by athletes because they contain potassium and it's that same reason that makes them great hangover cures. When you're hungover, your body has lost a lot of potassium that needs to be replenished, so eatingREAD MORE >
Images © Graham King “The shopping cart tree symbolizes both generosity and abundance, as well as acknowledging those less fortunate where their whole world may be housed in a cart. We see shopping carts every day and take them for granted. IndividuallyREAD MORE >
TIP 1: Wrap Your Home in Insulation - "The More, The Better!" Proper insulation is probably the most important factor you can control in creating an energy-efficient home. I always say insulation is like chocolate, the more you have, the better! On average,READ MORE >
While conjuring up comfort in the home seems like a basic principle, it’s a far more complex process for architect & remodeling guru Sarah Susanka, who believes that comfort can significantly influence the sustainability of your personal abode. WithREAD MORE >
Two architects, Jos Burger and Wouter Keijzer of BK. Architecten, in charge of the renovation of the old church decided to preserve the atmosphere of the existing place with a spatial intervention that preserves its historical value. The three new floors wereREAD MORE >
For centuries, the Dutch have manipulated the landscape to move water away from their dwellings. Instead of battling the elements, Netherlands-based firm Waterstudio just announced plans to construct the world's first floating apartment complex in 2014! TheREAD MORE >
The Biomimicry Manual: What can We Learn About Resilience, Weight Loss, and Kidney Disease from the Grizzly Bear?I'm off to the wilds of Montana this week, doing some in-person, up-close biomimicry research, and I've got my fingers crossed I'll see a grizzly bear. But you know, over there, not over here. With five inch long claws, massive muscular shoulders and forearms,READ MORE >
INHABITAT: How does the term Colorfast describe your latest show? R Nelson Parrish: The term Colorfast originally is a textile industry term derived at the beginning of the last century. It defines how a color cannot fade, wash out, or be diluted over time,READ MORE >