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The rich, the poor and the trash

The rich, the poor and the trash

Trash is a symbol of our time. What we do with it says a lot about our way of consuming and our well-being - and about social inequalities, since the rich on this planet use many more goods than the poor and produce much more garbage.

But what some throw away ensures the survival of others. Documentary filmmakers Naomi Phillips and Thomas Hasel meet people who live with and from garbage. Godwin Ochieng, 28, lives in Dandora, a suburb of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, home to one of the largest landfills in Africa.

Every day he and many other people rummage through the stinking mountain of garbage that trucks bring in from wealthy neighborhoods. He looks for something profitable with which to ensure his livelihood and that of his small family. 12,000 kilometers away, in New York, one of the wealthiest and most expensive cities in the world, Pierre Simmons searches garbage cans for cans that he can sell to recycling companies. Both live in countries where the distance between rich and poor is abysmal. But also the social gap between the two countries, the United States and Kenya, is huge.

Economists Lucas Chancel and Kate Raworth warn of the consequences of a huge imbalance at both the national and international level. At stake is nothing less than our value system, our concept of democracy and, finally, our economy as well.

Video: Kenyas million dollar garbage business. DW Documentary (October 2020).