Mohamed Mehdy | Moon Dust

Country of origin: Egypt
Project location: Egypt
Program: Arab Documentary Photography Program
Year: 2017

Wadi El Qamar, also known as Moon Valley, is a residential area located in the west of Alexandria, Egypt next to the Portland Cement factory. Just ten meters away from the residential area, the factory processes coal and garbage. It layers the homes of more than 30,000 people with toxic dust, causing tremendous health problems to those that live there.

The Moon Valley is home to 60,000 people, and historical documents show that the residential area was founded more than 70 years ago under King Farouk, predating the cement factory. Residents face enormous incidents of asthma, lung cancer, eye, ear, and throat infections, and chest sensitivities. The health problems caused by the factory dust affects working-age men who cannot support their families due to their deteriorating health conditions. Children are debilitated by these diseases, and the elderly are also particularly at risk.

People there are not living as humanity should. Children are born with asthma. Cement, coal, and car exhaust fills their homes. Every five minutes a new layer of dust appears. This projects documents the impacts of this dust on the residents of Moon Valley, and how people are trying to survive.