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Video of the Day: Cairo's Garbage People

A new documentary follows a family of Coptic Christians, one of thousands who tend to the city's trash

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Reuters

Cairo has one of the most effective recycling programs in the Middle East. But it's borne on the backs of the city's "garbage people," Coptic Christians who harvest and sort 15,000 tons of waste every day.

Their lives are documented in a new film Zabaleen, which follows Mourad Waleed, his wife Um, and their 11 children. The city of Cairo is nominally responsible for tending to waste. But corruption has resulted in an erosion of municipal services, and the Zabaleen take up the slack. According to Green Prophet, nearly 80 percent of all waste is recycled.

In one clip, the family explains their day.

Here's another that explains a bit more about the project:

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.