chapter  3
21 Pages

Cairo’s Zabaleen Garbage Collectors

Sustainable Practices and the Right to Waste Resources
WithWael Fahmi

This Chapter examines the adverse effects of official state policies to privatize solid waste services through contracting technology-intensive multinational corporations on Cairo’s local garbage collectors’ (Zabaleen) activities and recycling economy. Such a privatization policy jeopardizes the sustainability of the Zabaleen community with their technologically appropriate indigenous patterns of living. In addition, the authorities claim that moving the Zabaleen activities further out of the city will create cleaner living environments within their settlements. Such resettlement plans will increase the Zabaleen’s traveling distances and cost of services delivered to residential and commercial places, thus creating new risks for the sustainability of the Zabaleen foothold on trade and livelihood.