Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Egypt's Zaballeen: 'Garbage Dreams'

Garbage Dreams follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade in Mokattam, a suburb of Cairo that is home to an Egyptian Christian minority of 60 000. The zaballeen, or garbage collectors, here have traditionally been so and have served the city for the past 150 years. The documentary also offers an interesting look into how a community has supported itself by recycling, running one of the most efficient waste management systems in the world, achieving a recycle and reuse rate of between 80-90% of what they pick-up.

Yet for all their efficiency — they are paid but a nominal fee for their services — the livelihoods of the zaballeen are under threat as the Egyptian government seeks to outsource their waste management, replacing the home-grown zaballeen with European waste management companies.

The film recently premiered at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival and is the directorial debut of Egyptian-American documentary filmmaker Mai Iskander.

Garbage Dreams film trailer [1:13]

One comment on “Egypt's Zaballeen: 'Garbage Dreams'

  1. Duke
    25 March, 2009

    This film rocks!

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This entry was posted on 25 March, 2009 by in Documentary, Egypt, Video and tagged , , , .

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