Letters: Global Warming, the Nile Delta and Umm Host Liane Hansen reads letters from listeners reacting to our Climate Connections series on Egypt. We'll hear comments about the impact of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile Delta, Proctor and Gamble's support for a recycling school in a Cairo slum and the legendary Egyptian singer, Umm Kulthoum.
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Letters: Global Warming, the Nile Delta and Umm

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Letters: Global Warming, the Nile Delta and Umm

Letters: Global Warming, the Nile Delta and Umm

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Now, your letters.

(Soundbite of water flowing)

HANSEN: I'll refrain from calling it a deluge but we did receive a lot of mail about our reports from Egypt over the past month. They were part of our Climate Connections series. Several of you wrote to say that long before global warming became a buzz word, the Nile Delta was degraded by the Aswan High Dam.

Professor SALAH SOLIMAN (Alexandria University): When we built the high dam, we stopped adding more soil or taking more soil or more areas from the Mediterranean. But now with the climate changed we are losing what we have gained during the last many thousand years.

HANSEN: That's Salah Soliman, an Alexandria University professor who talked to us for our story about the threat posed to Egypt by rising sea levels.

Listener Don Medwadeff(ph) of Danville, California said it's important not to oversimplify the problems of the Nile Delta.

Mr. DON MEDWADEFF (Caller): Even in its natural state most of the delta would be sinking. Human land use changes over the millennium and particularly the building of the High Aslan Dam have reduced or eliminated the annual flooding that would naturally rebuild the delta. Global warming-induced sea level rise would slightly exacerbate the sinking but it's not a primary cause.

HANSEN: Proctor and Gamble's efforts in Cairo inspired Andrea Golden to write in from Arlington, Massachusetts. The company funded a recycling program for poor kids after some residents began refilling shampoo bottles and reselling them as genuine.

I'm happy P and G is taking an interest in Cairo's slums, but maybe the counterfeiters have an idea worth emulating, Golden wrote. I'd like to point out that simply refilling bottles is the most efficient form of recycling. Reprocessing plastic or glass, while preferable to throwing it away, is far more energy intensive.

One correction: in our story about the construction of a new campus for the American University in Cairo, we mistakenly gave the name of the architect at Abdel Hamid. It is Abdel Halid.

Our story about the legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum brought a reminder from some listeners that the singer should always be referred to by her full name since hers is a compound Arabic name.

The piece, however, brought back memories for Stewart Clipper of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He said he knew the name of Umm Kulthum as a Jewish kid growing up in the Bronx in the 40s and 50s. How could that have been, he wrote. Beats me, but when I got to Cairo in the mid-80s I came home with a ton of her recordings.

If we have stirred up memories good or bad, let us know. Visit our Web page, NPR.org and click on the link that says Contact Us. And a reminder, check out what our bloggers are saying about the presidential campaign at our new Sunday Soapbox. You can find it at NPR.org/SundaySoapbox.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: This is NPR News.

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