Welcome to the land of “Plastic China.” As the world’s biggest plastic waste importer, China receives ten million tons per year from most of the developed countries around the world. With high external costs impacting the local environment and health, these imports are reborn here in these plastic workshops into “recycled” raw materials for the appetite of China – the world factory. This waste is then exported back to where they came from with a new face such as manufactured clothing or toys.
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Following these families’ daily lives, PLASTIC CHINA explores how this work of recycling plastic waste with their bare hands takes a toll not only on their health, but also their own dilemma of poverty, disease, pollution and death. All of this to eek out a daily living.
PLASTIC CHINA also unveils the true face of China. The current world image of the growing China prosperity is similar to that of plastic surgery – fake and fragile with uncertain consequences. People lose their mind over this unreal beauty and their own fates are formed into whatever shape reality requires – just like those plastic products coming out of the mold machine.
Tracing further to the plastic waste imported from around the world, this signals and symbolizes the lives of those on the other side of the world – far away from China’s plastic recycling workshops. When these symbolic wastes immersed deeply in this impoverished world of these Chinese workers, we are confronted with the truth that the world is flat and issues don’t go away by changing time and location. At the end of the day, as a global nation, we are all in this together, and we all play a part in this ever changing world.
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