Real-time pollution information disclosure vital

By Gong Yingchun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 26, 2013
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The real-time information disclosure of pollution sources is of the greatest importance to China's environmental pollution management, said environmentalist Ma Jun in an exclusive interview with

The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a circular on pollution information disclosure in mid-July, urging environmental bureaus at all levels to strengthen supervision over pollution sources and put sewage-discharging enterprises under public supervision.

The circular also stressed automatic monitoring data on pollution sources should be disclosed within one working day. Ma Jun, director with the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), commented that the new briefing has made great progress by highlighting real-time information disclosure, a crucial element in preventing environmental pollution.

Nevertheless, Ma did express his concerns about the implementation of this real-time information disclosure."The amount of emissions can change in a matter of minutes," said Ma. "The issue of excess emissions could possibly be covered up, should a corporation merely release its average amount of emissions per day," he added.

Moreover, Ma said, a lot of so called "real-time emission data" that the public used to obtain, have been already tampered with. These were simply unable to represent the real quantity of the emissions. "What we expect is that the real emission data could be sent directly to the environment departments and the public. The whole process should be automatic and without any human intervention," explained Ma.

Six corporations in Beijing, including coal-fired power plants and petrochemical enterprises, have already published the pollution supervision information on their own websites, but Ma believed that it was still difficult for the public to receive these data. Consequently, those enterprises cannot be subject to any real supervision programs. He suggested environment authorities establish an official platform to ensure the public access to companies' environmental information.

Ma pointed out that the real-time information disclosure is of great significance to China's environmental pollution management. Real-time emission data could be collected as evidence for environmental litigation. Moreover, the public can get involved in environmental monitoring and management with real-time data in a bid to exert pressure on local governments and corporations, urging them to give up regional protection and cut down on emissions.

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