Recently a friend sent me some photographs that she took herself, showing heavy littering at the Saqqara and Abu Sir archaeological sites, one of which is attached in this post. She lives and works in the area at the moment and finds this unacceptable - in her own words "it is terribly frustrating to be told that they are building a wall to keep 'people like me' out of the desert that I love and actively try to care for". She goes on:
A couple of weeks previously a group of us were out in the desert when a tractor pulling a trailer pulled away from one of the Czech sites. As soon as it was out of the line of sight of the diggings, the Egyptian workers began tossing trash from it into the desert. We shouted at them to stop and pick it up and they did so. The big question around here is that if the wall is protecting the antiquities from the local robbers, who is going to protect the desert from the SCA?
It is always so frustrating and sad to see how the Egyptian desert is so often neglected and even abused by both tourists and local inhabitants. It is even worse when the damage is caused by those working in an official capacity and whose role is supposed to be the protection of heritage!
A long time ago I wrote a heartfelt piece on the subject which I never got around to publishing, but which I will certainly update and publish soon in the light of an ever growing body of evidence that shows how much the desert suffers at people's hands.