Just over a year since their first [zh] mashup was released, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), headed by journalist-environmentalist Ma Jun, has just released its Air Pollution Map [zh], complete with its own BBS and space for feedback forum.
Video uploaded to 56.com by user feihe in May this year and shot on the outskirts of Beijing.
A step toward making pollution economically unsustainable for offending corporations, or just another way to postpone fixing China's pervasive pollution problems? The environment has been a steady topic in prominent parts of the blogsphere this year and the air pollution map made no small splash on the internet over the weekend.
Judging from this Dec. 14 post, is it possible the indie blogger ‘Picturesque Darkness’ has only just heard of IPE's existence?
环境是人类赖以生存的根本，但一些企业、商家、甚至跨国企业为了效益，根本不管不顾。除了领导及相关责任人的玩忽职守之外 ，国家管理机构为什么没有治理， 我们的法律 法规还是跟不上发展的步伐。领导的意识要走在前面。
What's more, people need to be thinking rationally about this problem of their own vital interests and that of the next few generations. People need to start speaking up for themselves. Though there's not a lot we're able to do, the strength of the masses is undeniable. Support this NGO (IPE) by doing what you can, as a cause, or through donation. There are many ways, so do what's within your capability. As for those irresponsible corporations and companies, denounce and condemn them. They'll feel the pressure, and the government will too. Quantitative change will grow into qualitative change. Everybody, please work together. Again, thank you, IPE, for daring to speak the truth. For daring to face down all sorts of pressure. May the IPE grow in its authority, and in its deterrence.
Also an indie blogger, Xiao Kong merely adds a line to a reposted media report regarding the new Air Pollution Map in a Dec. 15 post titled ‘Let every corporation lose face’:
MSN Spaces blogger Ina Huang picks up on recent Western mainstream media coverage of health risks China poses in her Dec. 16 post, “First toys, now marine products“:
今天NEWSMAX头条和周六的NEW YORK TIMES都报道了CHINESE SEEFOOD的水质问题.标题为: Chinese Commercial Fish from Toxic Waters.一看到这个标题我就想,玩具刚平息一段时间, 水产也要完了.
目前还没有在国内媒体上看到这方面的报道,不知道会不会又引起像玩具那样的广泛关注与讨论.如果我们将玩具问题说成是美国的技术壁垒,那么水产真的是中国人的咎由自取. 当时出铅玩具问题的时候,吴仪说要严抓质量,尤其是食品质量,想不到才过几天,又被老美真真抓了把柄.食品安全早已是老生常谈了.从大米,到奶粉,到蔬菜水果,到多宝鱼,哪一样是真正可以让人安心的?鱼米之乡的我们都会吃得不安心. 据说有些菜农,去卖的菜和自家吃的菜是分开来种的.心寒啊.
国外说我们中国has notoriously lax environmental standards,也是有道理的.工业发展,却对环境不管不顾.但其实老外是没有资格来评论我们这一点的.外企工厂不是在中国的土地上肆虐吗? 马军的那张电子地图就说明了一切. 怕就怕: 老外保护自己国家的环境,把要破坏环境的工业迁移到中国,赚了钱,用了产品,完了还说中国环境差!
中国人只有以一颗诚信的心, 发展工业,保护环境,这才是生存之道.否则像玩具和水产, 一旦出了问题将会付出很大的代价来收复市场失地!
在这样的人文环境下,谈诚信又何其容易? 所以只有从自身做起了.很佩服马军, 希望大家都可以去关注他一下.一年之前看他的专访,有些鼓掌难鸣的无奈,现在他还是.毕竟,环保是全社会,全人类的事业.
So far I haven't seen any mainland media reports like this, so I don't know if this will bring the same kind of widespread concern and discussion that the toys did. If we said the toy problems go back to American barriers on sharing technology, the only blame for the marine products lies with us Chinese. Right when the lead paint toys problem arose, Wu Yi said there would be a serious crackdown on quality problems, especially with the quality of food products. Who knew that just a few days later, the Yankees really got us by the tail. Food safety is not a new problem here. From rice to milk powder, to fruit and vegetables, to turbot, can we truly feel safe about any of them? Even with as much fish and rice as there is in this land, even we don't feel assured about eating it. They say farmers even separate the kinds of produce they bring to market from what they eat in their own homes. It's depressing.
Overseas they say we in China have notoriously lax environmental standards, and there's some truth in that; industry, as it develops, cares nothing for the environment. But those foreigners have no capacity to criticize us on this one. Aren't foreign companies and factories here ripping through Chinese land? That mashup map of Ma Jun's says it all. So what if they're afraid? Those foreigners protect their own countries and environments, and move all their environment-destroying industry over to China, make their money, use their products, and then they still say China's environment is bad! The Chinese people must develop industry and protect the environment, all in good faith, this is the only way we will survive. Lest things go the way of the toys and marine products and something goes wrong and we have to pay a big price to recover markets and lost territory!
In this kind of environment, just how easy is it to speak of good faith? That's why this can only start with us. I really admire Ma Jun, and I hope everyone can pay him more attention. A year ago I saw a feature on him, and he spoke a bit of feeling helpless faced with lack of support, as he still is. But when it comes down to it, protecting the environment is a project for everyone, for all of humanity.
Ina's reader Jay left the following comment:
Anyway, the move from emphasis on profit to being particular about quality is one that every country and society on the road to development must make. America, in the early stages of its market economy development, was the same: poisoned milk poweder, rotten pork, and massive distrust in corporations. Every industry needs time to fully adapt to a system and standards, so give your own country's enterprises a little lenience and time to adjust. For America, to be talking like this, it's like a PhD student to be telling someone in elementary school that they don't know anything. Sure, objectively that true, but there's still room for discretion. :)
Back to air pollution, MSN Spaces blogger Chen Jiangang picks up on the International Olympic Committee executive games director Gilbert Felli's mention last week that Olympic events will be rescheduled if Beijing's air pollution poses a threat to athletes’ health by looking closely at what other steps the Beijing Olympic Committee is or has been prepared to take:
Beijing's Olympic Games organizers’ efforts to improve Beijing's air quality is being called “Plan Blue,” which aims to bring the thickness of Beijing's pollutants down to a manageable level within a certain time period.
Beijing has already invested roughly 120 billion RMB into the Olympic Games Environment Project, closing down polluting factories and prohibiting thousands of heavy-polluter taxis and buses from being on the streets.