If you look out over Cairo, you’ll see a skyline crammed with buildings. The intricate spires of mosques mingle with square-shaped apartments and modern skyscrapers. What you won’t see in this arid, ancient landscape, are trees.
Cairo has been suffering from a pollution plague for years. It’s known as the black cloud, hazy, dense smoke that first began hovering over this major metropolis in 1997. Now, it’s responsible for 42% of the country’s air pollution.
Haze hangs around the magnificent Pyramids. Soot clings to the sides of buildings. Many people suffer from asthma, and the rates of respiratory problems have skyrocketed.
One of the people who’s fallen victim to Cairo’s abysmal air quality is Mohamed Abdel Samad, who’s had allergies all his life, and recently, recovered from an inflammation in his lung.
“Everyone smokes inside buildings, and it’s a horrible thing. When you go outside you smell burning diesel and fumes. Cairo is really polluted and I wanted to do something about it,” he said. “So, I decided to plant trees.”
"Most landscape designers in Egypt use non-native, invasive species.
My aim is to plant indigenous trees around schools and on school playgrounds, with gardens on the rooftops. Native species are best. You water them for a couple of months and then they take care of themselves.”
[Photo by David Evers | Flickr]