Reuters

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

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

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    If You Drive Less Than 10,000 Miles a Year, You Probably Shouldn't Own a Car

    Up to one-quarter of all U.S. drivers might be better off using ride-sharing services instead.

  2. Transportation

    How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

    Three experts in three very different positions weigh in on their city’s ridership success.

  3. Maggie Gyllenhaal walks the mean streets of 1971 New York City in HBO's "The Deuce," created by David Simon.
    Life

    David Simon Does Not Miss the Sleaziness

    The creator of HBO’s “The Deuce” talks about the rebirth of Times Square, other cities he loves, and why bureaucrats can be TV heroes, too.

  4. Transportation

    In Copenhagen, Bike Commuting Gets a Little Less Popular

    Denmark’s capital may be a cyclists’ paradise, but recent trends show what’s really necessary to sustain a bike boom.

  5. Equity

    Confronting the Myths of Segregation

    MacArthur grant recipient Nikole Hannah-Jones talks about the institutional and individual choices that continue to keep America separate and unequal.