Millions in China Crack Down on Polluters, Using App And Govt Help

Millions in China Crack Down on Polluters, Using App And Govt Help

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Ma Jun App Video Capture 1

The Chinese government continues to officially clean up their act.

Thanks to a new mobile app–and government transparency– civilians now have the ability to view hourly updates of air and water pollution violations in their neighborhoods. That knowledge is being used to pressure polluting companies to make improvements.

The app maker, environmentalist Ma Jun, had urged Chinese officials to make their pollution measurements public, and in a surprise move, the usually secretive government did just that. Ma was granted permission to use information on factory emissions to create a database, which led to a mobile app.

Three million people have downloaded Ma’s “Blue Sky Map App,” which spurred local companies to watch their output and “emit” more responsibly.

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“I learned that with every 1,000 records put into our database, we could get one factory to respond, to change behavior,” Ma told the Skoll World Forum on Entrepreneurship where he won a $1.25 million prize for his innovation.

More than 15,000 factories are represented on the app, and 1,800 of those have already taken steps to decrease pollution.

In addition, 120 international companies credit the app and Ma’s organization, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, with helping them improve environmental quality along their supply chains.

Ma says he remembers “blue skies and dazzling sunlight” over Beijing when he was younger. He hopes the combination of technology, transparency and public involvement will bring back the blue skies of his childhood.

(WATCH the video below or READ more from Reuters)

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