Pointing at the most polluting companies, the Chinese way

There is a word in Chinese, mianzi, which could be translated as "shame" or "fear of being ashamed" and which is considered an important concept in Chinese culture. Using mianzi as a weapon for environmental defense, a Chinese environmental organization called IPEA (Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs) has decided to publish a list of the most polluting industries in the country, pointing a finger so they get ashamed and change their practises.

"Access to information is a necessary condition to obtain the people's support," said IPEA's president Ma Jun. Therefore the list has been made available online for everybody. The source? The Chinese government's own official reports on pollution and fines, which are usually kept private.

Most of these industries are placed in the south of the country and near the Yangtze. They include Sinopec (an oil company), Sina-Mars/APP Group (paper), BP, Honda, Toyota, Ford and Michelin. While the list might not be accurate and probably does not include everything that really happens, it gives a good idea of the the situation. As Ma Jun said, "Once exposed, these companies are forced to give explanations about their activities".

Up to 9,400 companies have appeared in this black list, and they won't be removed until an external auditor certifies that the problem has been solved. The website also includes more information such as water pollution levels and air quality in 115 cities.

[Source ABC News, Ecoticias]

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