Sep 26, 2010

On Garbage and Inspiration

Last night I watched Garbage Dreams (trailer below) after many recommendations. It was interesting to watch this documentary as it gave me fresh perspectives about a country I call home. The film trails a few members of the garbage collector community in Egypt for two years and documents how they are coping with foreign competition and massive neglect from the Cairo government and the extended community. I personally found the story to be very inspirational and eye opening, so many times growing up I took the zabbal and their role for granted. Knowing what I know today my perceptions completely shifted.

For one I find it mind blowing that this community was able to recycle around 80% of the waste collected, the general industry stand just below 30%. Another fascinating aspect was how in the face of crisis and competition they were entrepreneurial, opening community driven schools to improve both their skills and methodologies. I find it extremely unfortunate that the Cairo and Egyptian government have failed in incorporating the zabaleen community in their "modernization programs", whats even worse how the international waste management companies that caused a lot of damage to this community, has failed in both learning and incorporating their skills.

I would definitely recommend this documentary to all of you! Here is more reading material.