In celebration of Earth Day, we’re hosting an exclusive live online screening of the highly acclaimed documentary, Garbage Dreams by Mai Iskander on Thursday, April 21, 9PM EDT 6PM PDT on our Facebook page and the Independent Lens Livestream channel.
Filmed over four years, the documentary goes inside the world of Egypt’s Zaballeen (Arabic for “garbage people”) to reveal the lives of two teenage boys born into the trash trade. For generations, the residents of Cairo have depended on the Zaballeen to collect their trash, paying them only a minimal amount for their garbage collection services.
These entrepreneurial garbage workers survive by recycling 80 percent of all the garbage they collect, creating what is arguably the world’s most efficient waste disposal system. Recycling to lift themselves out of poverty, the Zaballeen have, through necessity, devised ingenious solutions to one of the world’s most pressing problems.
Thursday’s live screening is free and will feature a Q & A with filmmaker Mai Iskander who will also provide an update about life in Egypt for the Zaballeen, after this winter’s historic revolution.
The Garbage Dreams film is also accompanied by the Garbage Dreams game, in which players assume the role of the Zaballeen. The game demonstrates that recycling is not just good for the environment; it’s also sound economic practice. Garbage Dreams will be rebroadcast on Independent Lens on PBS on May 31st (check local listings).