garbage city photo

No, it is not just trash talk or slang for some city slum – this place really is known as Garbage City with good reason: its denizens live in a surreal urban landscape with waste stuffed in every spare corner, stacked on the sidewalks and surrounding every structure – captured above by photographer Bas Princen.

garbage city

More amazing than the trash-strewn architecture and garbage-stuffed city streets is the strange fact that this place is fully occupied and abuzz with activity. People live, work, eat and sleep within this object graveyard outside the city center of Cairo, Egypt. Spaces not occupied by people are given over to livestock (fed with trash scraps) and guerrilla urban gardens.

garbage city aerial

Officially known as Manshiyat Naser, this district has shops and apartments like any other, but its residents earn their keep by specializing in collecting, sorting and recycling specific types of trashed materials. A group of children can be found sifting for plastic bottles while an organized team of women scours the remnants for cans or glass. Other items are burned locally as fuel.

garbage city cairo close up

While it might not meet any health standards on Earth, the unique urban phenomena is arguably sustainable in a certain sense – even ‘green’ in a some ways. Working in the area does provide some basic necessities for its inhabitants, though water, sewage and (perhaps ironically) even official garbage collection services are not available to those living within its trash-cluttered walls.