A paper released on Thursday concerning the development of environmental protection in 2011 said action taken by the Chinese public became a major force in the drive amid several environmental disasters, Xinhua reported.
Friends of Nature, a Beijing-based environmental protection organization, released the annual paper, its seventh so far.
The paper noted that public action helped to strengthen environmental protection. "After public pressure mounted, many cities started to issue monitoring reports using the PM2.5 standard themselves," said Yang Dongping, FON's director-general.
FON listed 10 major incidents in which the public played a key role in protecting the environment. The list included, aside from the public's awareness of PM2.5, a public demand for an apology from U.S. oil company ConocoPhillips after it failed to properly clean up severe oil leaks in Bohai Bay, and consumers asking Apple to address pollution issues concerning its Chinese suppliers.