Garbage City

Welcome to one of the world’s most efficient recycling programs: Cairo


Bas Princen

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 In Cairo’s so-called “Garbage City,” residents known as Zabaleen collect and process huge quantities of the Egyptian capital’s refuse. Dwell’s Miyoko Ohtake calls this sprawling community project—most of the garbage is actually stashed and sorted in the homes of residents—“one of the most efficient recycling systems in practice.”

The Zabaleen, Ohtake reports in the February 2011 issue of the magazine, “reuse or resell more than 80 percent of the garbage they collect.” Dutch photographer Bas Princen’s staggering panorama of the settlement was included in the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and an exhibition at Storefront Art and Architecture in New York.

Click here to see a high-resolution version of Bas Princen’s panorama.

Cover-165-thumbnailThis article first appeared in the May-June 2011 issue of Utne Reader.