The Times reports that the government killed all the pigs in a misguided attempt to prevent swine flu. But the pigs were the key component in digesting (literally) the city's trash.
The government "failed to understand the ethos of the community. People do not take their garbage out. They are accustomed to seeing someone collecting it from the door. For more than half a century, those collectors were the zabaleen, a community of Egyptian Christians who live on the cliffs on the eastern edge of the city. They collected the trash, sold the recyclables and fed the organic waste to their pigs — which they then slaughtered and ate....The pigs used to eat tons of organic waste. Now the pigs are gone and the rotting food piles up on the streets"