People are being encouraged to report sources of pollution and participate in environmental supervision in an orderly manner, authorities said in Beijing on May 20 at the launch of a public environmental protection activity for the upcoming World Environment Day on June 5.
The activity, organized by the China Forum of Environmental Journalists, is themed “Beautiful China: I’m a doer”, and aims to stimulate the public to play an active role in environmental protection through various means, including online reporting, said Bai Zhijun, deputy secretary-general of the forum.
People can upload descriptions of pollution sources and details of the time and location through the Ministry of Ecology and Environment’s WeChat accounts for reporting, such as “12369 Environmental Report” and “Public Participation in Urban Water Environment”, he said.
Li Xiaojing, an associate researcher at the ministry’s environmental emergency and accident investigation center, said that nationwide more than 618,000 tips related to pollution were received from the public last year, an increase of 135 percent over 2016. Tips received through WeChat made up 20 percent of the total.
“Reporting through WeChat is very simple and people are able to check the management status of the cases when they are uploaded,” Li said. “The followers on WeChat have reached over 500,000.”
Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, an NGO, said: “It allows the public to submit tips about pollution scenes they see 24 hours a day, regardless of the hotline staff’s working hours.
“Also, with the help of photos, videos and GPS, the tips received through WeChat will be much more reliable and easier to verify, compared with those received through a hotline or letters.”
Ma said the institute also has an app — Blue Map — which covers airborne pollution, water pollution and heavy-metal pollution discharges across the country. All the information on the map comes from the websites of environmental protection departments. It also allows members of the public to report pollution.
Bai said people can also join in the activity by sharing pictures of beautiful scenery, such as the sky, rivers and grasslands, via Sina Weibo and the Blue Map app.
He Jiazhen, deputy director of the ministry’s education and communication department, said: “This activity will help people take more effective action in environmental affairs and create a social atmosphere advocating eco-civilization.”