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A documentary about Egypt’s ‘garbage people’; a lesson in recycling

March 8th, 2010

From Green Right Now Reports

Garbage Dreams is the paradoxical title of an upcoming PBS documentary on Egypt’s Zaballeen, or in English, ‘garbage people’. The Zaballeen collect the trash in Cairo. They are born into the job and live on the city’s outskirts, within the large garbage village composed of Cairo’s waste.


Egypt's Zaballeen are born into the garbage business

But this is not a tale of squalor and desperation. Long ago, the Zaballeen learned to support themselves by recycling 80 percent of the trash they collect.

“They have created the world’s most effective resource recovery system, using trash to lift themselves out of poverty and a solution to one of the world’s most pressing crises,” according to promotional material for the film.

The film follows three young teen-aged men, Zaballeen friends, who face the upheaval of their world when a corporate takeover of the trash business is considered. Garbage Dreams is part of the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Independent Lens” series. It is set to air on April 27. Check local listings for times.

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