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Beijing Citizens Report Polluters and Gain Rewards
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With the Olympics on the horizon, Beijing citizens are busily reporting environmental offences and being rewarded for their efforts.


The city's environmental authorities received 2,302 reports in 2006 about bad polluters -- factories belching out smoke, vehicles spitting black fumes into the air and dusty construction sites, Thursday's Beijing Daily said.


"A total of 58,900 yuan (about US$7,551) was awarded to the informants," the Beijing municipal environmental protection bureau was quoted as saying.


Offenders responsible for 2,200 of the complaints have been punished and the other cases will be settled by the end of the month, according to the bureau.


Heavily polluted air is a big concern for Beijing's Olympic organizers. The newspaper said the municipal environmental authorities initiated the program in 2004 and the number of reports keeps rising.


Citizens are required to deliver photos or video footage as evidence along with their reports.


"I am very happy about the 100 yuan I won. This is recognition of my efforts," the newspaper quoted a retired woman called Xiao as saying.


Xiao said she learned to use a digital camera from her daughter and photographed a heavily-polluting truck at a building site near her home.


The Beijing environmental authorities said that those who reported environmental offences generally win 100 to 300 yuan if the information is confirmed.


The newspaper said a retired man called Yang was the top winner in 2006. He has received awards worth a total of 16,100 yuan from the Beijing environmental protection bureau.


The authorities said the program will continue in 2007 and they expect broader participation.


(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2007)

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