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The Green Life: Garbage: Egypt's Hot New Attraction?

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January 19, 2011

Garbage: Egypt's Hot New Attraction?

Garbage City These days, ancient cities, the Great Sphinx, and the pyramids of Giza aren't the only destinations in Egypt that are educating and inspiring visitors. Thanks to Backpacker Concierge, "Garbage City," an often overlooked area of Cairo called Menshiyet Nasr, is opening eyes to a more responsible way of living.

The specialized travel consultancy, committed to off-the-beaten-track destinations and eco-friendly adventures, has introduced guided day trips to a place where local residents collect, sort, reuse, and resell waste.  By sharing the initiatives of a community that uses simple, efficient, and creative ideas, Backpacker Concierge hopes to expose visitors to a world from which they can learn and benefit.

"The decision to raise awareness of the life in 'Garbage City' seemed like an obvious fit for us," said Eric Monkaba, owner of Backpacker Concierge. "We are a company that prides itself on being eco-friendly."

The tour begins with a local man who grew up in a family of garbage collectors, and learned the trade at a young age. From his roof, visitors can see the workings of an urban garbage community and learn about how waste is recycled to produce new products.

"Our trip to 'Garbage City' was a highlight because it enabled us to see what some amazing people are doing to help the poor and save the environment at the same time," wrote an American visitor on Backpacker Concierge's website. "It was very inspiring and motivating."

But the trips are not only beneficial to eco-tourists. For every 24 visitors the program receives, a bio-gas digester (used by families to recycle food scraps and earn "green" gas for cooking) is built and installed in the community.

--Molly Oleson

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