Plastics in the Gaza Strip are both a curse and a blessing
Gaza’s plastic collectors and recyclers create badly needed jobs and income—but at a high environmental cost.
The tiny coastal enclave of Gaza, roughly the size of Detroit, is one of the world’s most densely populated places. Ruled by the extremist group Hamas and besieged by an Israeli-led blockade, Gazans today are running on empty. Here, the focus is not on whether to ban plastic straws or not, but rather how to survive with them.
The United Nations predicts that Gaza will be “uninhabitable” by 2020 in part because 97 percent of the the main source of water isn’t safe to drink. Electricity shortages and damage from wars mean there’s no proper sewage management, so dirty water is pumped into the sea. Consequently, hazardous sewage is everywhere, from the landfills where plastics can live forever to the