China Underground > Magazine > China Magazine > Inside China E-Waste Hell

Inside China E-Waste Hell

China is the second-largest producer in the world of electronic waste, with more than one million tonnes per year.

It’s also the largest importer of electronic waste since every year 70% of e-waste from the rest of the world flows into its territory. But here, more than elsewhere, e-waste is also an important source of profit, as well as being a cause of pollution of rivers and land. According to some studies, a computer monitor contaminates 80 tons of water.

Related articles: The Evolution of China’s Environmental PolicyThe most polluted cities in China, Chinese pollution is so bad that is almost poetic

Guiyu (贵屿), in Guangdong Province, was widely perceived as the largest electronic waste (e-waste) site in the world.

UPDATE: According to the “Comprehensive Scheme of Resolving Electronic Waste Pollution of Guiyu region of Shantou City” (汕头市贵屿地区电子废物污染综合整治方案), approved by the Guandong government, workshops were relocated into an industrial ecology park where the wastes can be properly treated and recycled. In 2017, most workshops were merged into larger companies and moved to the National Circular Economy Pilot Industry Park. However, many areas are still contaminated by the remnants of E-waste processing and have not been cleaned up. [wikipedia]

China E-Waste images


Since 2003, China has scrapped at least 500 million television sets, 4 million refrigerators, 500 million washing machines, 500 million computers, and tens of millions of mobile phones, becoming the second-largest producer of e-waste, just behind the United States.
In the photo, the Xingtai farmer’s Jiu Jiadian courtyard is filled with old televisions.


China is also the largest importer of electronic waste in the world. Each year, China imports 70% of electronic waste in the world, between twenty and fifty million tons. In the photo, old mobile phones from Japan.


In the West, electronic waste disposing costs are much higher than in China, since there are strict laws that regulate the flow.
Thus, it is much easier to pack and ship our waste to China. In the photo, a landfill in an industrial park in Taizhou, Zhejiang.


Some dangerous and highly polluting elements recovered from electronic products can be returned to the market.
Although there are international conventions that prohibit the import-export of e-waste, the benefits derived from this business are worth the risks.


Boards are washed with sulfuric acid and then dismantled or melted manually


Thanks to e-waste, local people have been enhanced easily. Guiyu for example has 15,000 inhabitants.
12 000 are in the business of electronic waste, a business that produces up to 75 million dollars a year


But at what cost? The photograph, taken on December 5, 2003, shows the thick black smoke emanating from heavy metal e-waste incineration.


A woman sitting on a pile of electronic waste feeds her daughter



pictures of china’s pollution

Post Author


First flight of the world’s largest unmanned helicopter

Xiamen’s Historical and Artistic Treasures: A Visual Journey


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.