Manshiyat Naser (Egyptian Arabic: منشية ناصر manšeyyet Nāṣer pronounced [mænˈʃejjet ˈnɑːsˤeɾ], "the Christian suburb", Coptic: ⲙⲁⲛϫⲓⲛⲑⲱⲟⲩϯ ⲛ̀ⲛⲓⲭⲣⲓⲥⲧⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ manjintōudi enikristianos) is a ward (kism) of Cairo, Egypt. It covers 5.54 square kilometers, home to 262,050 people in the 2006 census, up from 168,425 in 1996 census. and borders Nasr City to the east, central Cairo districts to the west, and Khalifa ward to the south.
It is famous for the Garbage City quarter which is a slum settlement at the far southern end of Manshiyat Naser, at the base of Mokattam hills on the outskirts of Cairo. Being Cairo's largest concentration of Zabbaleen garbage collectors, its economy revolves around the collection and recycling of the city's garbage.
Although Manshiyat Naser has streets, shops, and apartments as other areas of the city, it lacks infrastructure and often has no running water, sewers, or electricity.
Coptic Christians were originally the predominant inhabitants of Manshiyat Naser, though in recent decades the area's Muslim population has grown. The Christians are well known for herding swine within the city, which are fed edible pieces of garbage and marketed across Cairo to Coptic Christian establishments. However, in the spring of 2009, the Egyptian government, in response to the worldwide threat of swine flu, embarked on a massive program to cull the herds of pigs in Manshiyat Naser. The Cave Cathedral or St Sama'ans Church, used by the Coptic Christians in Garbage City, is the largest church in the Middle East, with seating for 15,000 people.
Garbage and recycling
The city's garbage is brought to the Garbage City in Manshiyat Naser by the Zabbaleen (garbage collectors), who then sort through the garbage to attempt to retrieve any potentially useful or recyclable items. As a passerby walks or drives down the road he will see large rooms stacked with garbage with men, women or children crouching and sorting the garbage into unsellable or sellable. Families typically specialize in a particular type of garbage they sort and sell — one room of children sorting out plastic bottles, while the next of women separating cans from the rest. Anything that can be reused or recycled is saved by one of the numerous families in Manshiyat Naser. Various recycled paper and glass products are made and sold from the city, while metal is sold by the kilo to be melted down and reused. Carts pulled by horse or donkey are often stacked 2.5 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft) high with the recyclable goods.
The economic system in the Garbage City is classified as the informal sector. Most families typically have worked in the same area and type of specialization in the garbage piles and continue to make enough money to support themselves.
Garbage Dreams is a 2009 documentary directed by Mai Iskander about boys born and raised in the Garbage City and how they must look for new ways to support themselves and their families as trash collection in Cairo changes.
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- Timm, Stefan (1988). Das christlich-koptische Agypten in arabischer Zeit (Teil 4 M-P). p. 1569.
- Christian Fraser, Egypt slaughters pigs to stop flu, BBC News, 29 April 2009.
- Glenn Smith, Transforming Lives in Cairo’s Garbage Villages, Lausanne World Pulse, February 2008.