Swine flu panic in Egypt caused the government to order the killing of all pigs, in the mistaken belief they could carry the virus. 300,000 were slaughtered.
Now trash is piling up everywhere because their countries freelance trash collectors, the zabaleen, used pigs to eat the garbage. Then they’d sort through what was left finding stuff to recycle and sell. Plus, they could sell the pigs to meat processors.
But once the pigs were killed, their business went away. Now there is no one picking up garbage in the cities of Egypt.
“You could always count on the zabaleen,” said Fayez Aissa, 51, who oversees an apartment block. “They came every day, took everything. Now rats and snakes are hiding in our garbage.”