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Informal Egyptian recyclers fear sidelining

Egypt – Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has launched the ‘€˜Clean Homeland’€™ campaign – an initiative designed to clear piles of waste from the country’€™s urban landscape as well as to reduce corruption.

The campaign is backed and facilitated by large waste management contracting firms, but the President’€™s waste disposal plans are being questioned by industry experts and by Egypt’€™s informal collectors and recyclers – known as the ‘€˜Zabbaleen’€™ – who are afraid they will be sidelined.
‘€˜It’€™s a public relations campaign, not a practical and clear system with a clear solution,’€™ Ezzat Naem Gendy, Chairman of the Garbage Collector Syndicate, has told Egyptian newspaper The Daily News. The Zabbaleen collect door to door and separate out recyclable commodities for sale to stores, factories and exporters, achieving recycling rates as high as 85%. According to one expert quoted in the article, incorporating the Zabbaleen into the government’€™s waste management strategy would offer many advantages, including a more localised and attentive approach that could cover two-thirds of Cairo’€™s waste.
 

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