Migrant Workers Children Spend Childhood Scavenging Landfill

A little Chinese child scavenging for salvage and recyclables in a Guiyang landfill.

A little Chinese girl helping her parents scavenge a Guiyang garbage dump for salvage and recyclables.

From NetEase:

Guiyang migrant worker children spend their days scavenging garbage dumps

Guiyang Gaoyan Garbage Landfill, is Guizhou province’s first and largest municipal landfill. Around it live over a hundred migrant worker households who scavenge the garbage for a living. It is on these garbage heaps that the children of these migrant workers spend their childhood.

A three-member family that lives here, who spend 8 hours every day scavenging from the garbage, their income only 700-800 yuan every month, only enough to maintain the lowest standard of living. So the children here, as small as six to seven years old, all spend their time outside of school following the adults in scavenging on the garbage piles for “treasures” that can be recycled or sold, to reduce the financial burden in their households.

A little Chinese child scavenging for salvage and recyclables in a Guiyang landfill.

During the school year, they will work at the garbage dump from when school is out until eight or nine at night before going home. During the summer break, the older children will enter the garbage dump at dusk and work until the next morning before leaving. Photo is of a child scavenging in the garbage dump.

Migrant worker children living around a garbage dump in Guiyang, China.

In order to save on rent, the families here often live four to five people in a 10-something square meter house, with the empty space being piled full of garbage. Without any disinfectant measures and long-term exposure to garbage has greatly increased the chances of the children suffering infectious diseases. Photo is of several children sitting on a salvaged sofa.

A small Chinese girl doing her homework beside a pile of garbage bags in Guiyang.

These children live on the city’s fringes, in bad living conditions, with extremely poor family situations, usually entering school very late, some only entering school at 11-12 years of age, while others don’t even have the opportunity to go to school at all. Due to the lack of education and life skills, of these children who spend their childhood years growing up in the garbage dump, some have already dropped out of school while others have already “taken the occupation of their fathers”. Photo is of a small girl doing her homework beside a pile of garbage bags near the entrance to her home.

A baby on the back of her mother, a Chinese migrant worker who scavenges for recyclables and anything that can be sold from a landfill in Guiyang.

A child sleeping on her mother’s back. Due to not having anyone to take care of them, some children spend their days on their mothers’ backs in the garbage dump from the moment they are born.

A mother and three children on their way to scavenge for recyclables and anything that can be sold for money from Guiyang's largest garbage dump.

Photo is of a mother taking three children to go scavenge garbage.

Guiyang migrant worker children playing outside their home next to a garbage landfill.

Photo is of several children playing in front of her home.

Comments from NetEase:

圣o仙芙 [网易云南省昆明市网友]:

Seeing these children’s disappointing lives, I don’t believe in anything anymore, I just want to swear/curse! I just want to swear/curse!!!

你那里还疼吗 [网易江西省南昌市网友]:

Their homes are really dirty, their clothes are really dirty, their entire bodies are dirty, but their hearts are very pure. May you grow up happily.

巾国屁民 [网易广东省网友]:

On this magical land, the lives of the rabble are so harsh!

yueraa [网易辽宁省沈阳市网友]:

These children may spend their entire lives without being able to ride the high-speed trains, drink Maotai, nor will they be able to take out money to donate to the Red Cross Society. Their hearts are indeed pure, not feeling that what happens to them is unfair, quietly accepting their reality, while us bystanders can only express indignation towards the unfairness in this society. This kind of news should be reported more, so that everyone will pay more attention to these children.
Those in support please ding this more.


Even though it is a little extreme, to have such harsh lives and wanting this many children only to have them suffer after being born is also a kind of irresponsibility [by the parents]!


If the child doing her homework can be found, I’m willing to financially aid her education and living expenses…

wangyinqing [网易陕西省咸阳市网友]:

If these photos weren’t in color, people would think they were pre-Liberation scenes!


Take a portion of the money invested in the Universiade to go help them. It will improve things a lot, at least stop them from dropping out of school… Children are hope…

真成功 [网易广东省河源市网友]:

The Shenzhen Universiade cost 200 billion yuan.

royxiaowei [网易山东省临沂市网友]:

When I was small, my older sister, younger brother, and I also scavenged garbage for money during winter and summer breaks… That was 20 years ago… To see that children are still spending their childhood in such a manner is truly heartbreaking…

网易上海市网友 [向小孩学习]:

When it comes to the people’s lives, they [the government] says there is no money. When it comes to face, hundreds of billions can be spent. All without blinking.

ghjchengjian [网易陕西省汉中市汉台区网友]:

With this kind of news, the wumao will have selective blindness.

xxnjy88 [网易河南省网友]:

Just one Universiade lunchbox is enough for the poor little girl to live for a month!!!!!


Other than their skin [color] being different from children in Uganda, their experiences are the same. Stop using sympathetic words to go describe African refugees, take a look at our own children.

wlf1272146476 [网易安徽省合肥市网友]:

When I see how we still have so many children who can’t afford to go to school or enough to eat and yet we’re giving Africa several billion or several hundred billion to hold the Universiade, I can’t help but say that I am indeed an American running dog.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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