We carried the news when the crackdown on the Coptic Christian pig farming cum recycling programs started. It was initially advertised as a reaction to swine flu, but when it continued after the medical community said that was a silly reaction, it began to resemble a collusion between large international waste management companies (which moved in to take over the business) and anti-Christian Egyptians gleeful slaughter of the zabaleen means to a living.
Foreign Policy magazine published a good slide show online in October 2008, and described the social stigmas attached to the life of these essential recyclers. The community was set up, like a bowling pin, for the term "swine flu" later that year. The result, six months later, is covered in today's New York Times. What a waste of waste management.
Does anyone see a pattern here? Hard-working recyclers, like those described in the Economist article from Columbia, become caught in a mis-applied, oversimplified, war-on-reality approach. Companies with big shredders jump in to take over the market of the do-it-yourselfers, self-educated, brilliant repair and refurbishing community.
Coffee boycotts to improve the lives of poor coffee farmers. Bans on export of computers to help the lives of poor computer refurbishers. Bans on pigs who eat garbage. The good news is that for a younger generation of environmentalists, there is plenty of work still to do and plenty of good term papers to write. Assignment: connect the dots between NYTimes, Foreign Policy, and this Washington Post article on CRT television supply and demand. Hint: Mexico.