Wang Jiuliang: Ghost Towns and Shattered Land

Photographer uncovers the monumental waste created by development and progress. In his 2010 documentary “Beijing Besieged by Waste,” Wang exposed illegal garbage dumps encircling the capital and the lives of those eking out their existence scavenging from the trash. His latest film, “Plastic China,” follows a young girl in Shandong whose family recycles plastic from around the world. “Plastic China” won the International Documentary Film Festival Special Jury Award in November, and is an official selection for the Sundance Film Festival.

Earlier this month, Wang talked about his latest project on the TED-esque platform Yixi. Wang’s ambitious investigation will track the source of the materials surrounding urban denizens: the stone extracted from leveled mountains for our bathroom sinks, the iron that poisons water and goes into steel frames, the coal-ravaged towns that power Beijing. Wang’s urgent message and shocking visual delivery echo Chai Jing’s viral film from 2015 on China’s choking , “Under the Dome.” For Wang, though, smog is just the beginning.

Wang’s talk seems to have been scrubbed from the Yixi website, but the transcript is still available from Yixi’s public WeChat account as of this posting. CDT has translated the the talk and subtitled the video on YouTube. If the subtitles don’t display, press the “CC” button on the bottom right of the embedded video:

Read more about the environment from CDT.