Public Lab Research note

The open burning of textile waste

by shanlter | January 31, 2016 13:05 31 Jan 13:05 | #12638 | #12638

I put this here as a problem, which is relatively common in rural China, I haven't think of any appropriate technology that the local community could take action towards this problem...

This landfill is in Weifang, Shandong, China. The textile factory dump their waste to rural area nearby. Burn it without any pretreatment or protection. The film was taken yesterday.


The mayor of the village sell the public land use right to the factory privately, the villagers complain for it all the time, but no result. Also in this area, the factory discharge their sewage into underground secretly (told by some villagers), thus they could avoid paying for the sewage treatment fee. Not only environment problem, the mayor benefits a lot from land selling, and has a very good relationship with upper government. The inequality happened for years, the residents feel they can do nothing on it.


Thanks for sharing the video. That's certainly a lot of pollution. One simple thing the local community could do is document how much material is dumped and then burned. See

With that type of information you might be able to crudely estimate the air pollution using emissions factors. For example, the US EPA emission factors for open burning (although they don't have a category for this type of waste openly burned):

Also when confronted, the responsible parties may deny the activity occurs or try to marginalize the event, e.g. "we did it once" or "it was just a small amount". So any evidence of this burning will surely be helpful if you can find a regulatory group to address this issue.

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Thanks @DavidMack, the calculation method as well as the EPA's guide are very helpful!

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Hi @shanlter !! We're hosting an OpenHour about classifying waste this coming Monday. Think it's something you could join? It will be at 1am GMT

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