FIRST AIRED: January 25, 2018

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> This used to be a dumping ground for the world's trash. For the Chinese recycling town of Guiyu, it was big business to tear electronics apart by hand and melt down plastic with acid. Now, Guiyu is closed for foreign business after Beijing blocked several types of trash from abroad.
00:00:20
It's left countries like Britain and the US willing about where else to send mountains of waste while China focuses on its own chronic pollution problem. It's meant to be a crack down on backyard recycling operations along China's coast. Reuters' David Steinway is in Guiyu where the streets no longer reek of waste.
00:00:39
>> So, just ten years ago Guiyu was in a terrible state, environmentally speaking. Clouds of smoke everywhere. The rivers were full of garbage. There were sacks of rubbish on every street corner, every field. It's been a huge problem trying to clean this up.>> Over a thousand makeshift businesses have been consolidated into 29 larger firms, and moved to a new official recycling park, transforming towns like Guiyu for the sake of China's economic ambitions.
00:01:12
>> China doesn't want to be on the bottom end of a global waste industry, recycling the last bits of the industrial chain. So, what's happening in Guiyu is part of China's overall efforts to upgrade its economy and to move up the industrial chain. And so we can see that they want to be more high-tech.
00:01:34
They want to be involved in more profitable industries than just ripping apart broken old computers.>> But trash was also the lifeblood of Guiyu's economy. Those here who once made a living from selling and dismantling parts are struggling. It's given rise to a new problem for Beijing, smugglers bringing in foreign trash with gangs running wastes in from North Korea by boat.