Photographer Captures Beijing’s Ring of Waste

These yellow pins around Beijing mark the unusual canvases for artist Wang Jiuliang. Since 2008, Wang has been documenting trash sites and landfills around China’s capital. So far, he’s photographed more than four hundred of these. Wang says his work shows that Beijing is besieged by waste.

His work has been exhibited in the Mainland and abroad. Most recently he released a documentary film on the unsightly, often stomach-wrenching phenomenon.

Herds of sheep feeding from waste. Peasants living under the weight of trash. These are just some of the snapshots of Beijing’s surrounding landscape—captured through Wang’s camera lens.

Most of the trash dumps Wang has come across are illegal. Many of them are remains of mining activity. The empty land is leased, and turned into lucrative stations for collecting waste.

Alongside his photographs, Wang has also recorded his journey on tape. In April, he released his documentary “Beijing Besieged by Waste.”

His efforts to highlight the problem have caught the attention of Chinese netizens. This post on the popular Tianya forum has attracted more than 130-thousand views. Some have posted their own photos documenting the problem around the rest of the country.

Waste management in China has not developed alongside the push for economic success. Chinese media has reported that regulatory emphasis has been on waste incinerators and landfills, rather than on effective recycling practices.

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