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Beijing’s Ring of Garbage: Wang Jiuliang Profiled in Global Times

Wang Jiuliang focuses his camera in a Beijing landfill

A recent article in the Global Times addresses the sprawling landfills surrounding Beijing that inspired Wang Jiuliang‘s documentary Beijing Besieged By Waste.

Feng Shu reports:

Wang spent months tracking garbage trucks to hundreds of the city’s legal landfill sites, illegal garbage dumps and recycling centers. He took more than 10,000 photographs and shot more than 60 hours of video. Wang’s original idea was to discuss the environmental hazard of over-consumption. He focused on garbage as the “evidence” and decided it was time to ring the alarm. “Few people know just how much garbage there is in this city, all of these photos and videos I shot show just how urgent this matter is,” said Wang…

Wang’s film, steeped in the hopeless expanse of Beijing’s waste situation, minces no meaning in showing the truth behind Beijing’s least sustainable landscapes.

Wang’s video essay of Beijing’s garbage dumps suggests there are more than 1,000 illegal landfills, where an army of garbage pickers scour the waste for anything that can be recycled for cash. The unlicensed illegal sites take no precautions to protect the environment before going into business or during their operation, said Wang. Wang used satellite images from Google Earth to look for telltale signs of landfill sites. He also used less high tech sleuthing methods; he simply followed garbage trucks to the final destinations. “If the trucks led to a place where I could see lots of black smoke and many crows, then I was sure there must be a landfill,” said Wang.

Wang’s activism and Beijing Besieged were also the topic of a recent Beijing Today article by He Jianwei, which describes the landfills surrounding Beijing—a city categorized by geographic division into concentric “ring roads”—as the city’s “Seventh Ring.”

The "Seventh Ring": Wang's Google Map findings

With air quality in Beijing at an all-time low, concerns being raised over the breakneck pace of auto sales in China, and a garbage problem that is raging out of control, Wang’s message is resonating loud and clear.

Again, the Global Times reports:

“I never knew there are so much garbage to take care of and how close it is to us. Nothing is more important than raising people’s awareness and to help push the government to make changes,” said Wang.


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