A relentless campaign by Beijing to present a sanitized, modern city to millions of Olympic Games visitors has led to a government shutdown of scores of garbage recycling centers that provide these migrant workers with an income.
As the Olympic Games approach, the number of garbage pickers has visibly dropped across Beijing, including at Qianbajia, a recycling station where about 200 households live among towering piles of plastic, building materials and scrap metals.
....Most of the city's more than 170,000 recyclers will have left before the Aug. 8 opening ceremony - a necessary measure to guarantee the health and safety of Games visitors, according to Wang Weiping, a Beijing government adviser.
Wang, one of Beijing's foremost experts on the recycling industry, submitted a report recommending officials "convince" the collectors to return to their home provinces for the duration of the Olympics.
The workers process up to a third of Beijing's trash and have a "positive effect" on society, but most have criminal records, leave second-hand environmental pollution and pose a health threat, Wang said.
"According to our studies, more than 70 percent have contracted infectious diseases, such as dysentery, hepatitis and typhoid, and can easily infect others in the city," Wang said.
"I hope these people can temporarily sacrifice their interests and go home and then come back after the Olympics," he said, adding, "Their losses won't be that great."