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The Discarded

The Discarded

When the world landed in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics, they got more than they bargained for. Guanabara Bay, the iconic landscape around which Rio de Janeiro is built, has become a veritable cesspool choked with trash and raw sewage.

Once home to dolphins, whales, and every manner of tropical flora and fauna, today it is considered a dead zone and wildlife sightings are extremely rare. Rampant unplanned growth, in the form of favelas, put extra pressure on the Bay and its ecological resources. Because these communities were not technically within the city’s purview, they never received traditional municipal services such as trash and sewerage. Today these locals, also known as Cariocas, represent one quarter of Rio’s population, a vital part of the local economy, and yet have been cast aside. They, and the Bay they know and love, are the discarded.

This short documentary unfolds through the eyes of a handful of Cariocas who are fighting for a better, more dignified way of life — starting with cleaning up the trash. Through their eyes we come face to face with the reality of consumption, in Rio as much as in our own lives.

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