Chinese Anti-Pollution Laws Still Being Ignored, Report Finds

Chinese Anti-Pollution Laws Still Being Ignored, Report Finds

One year after the Chinese government enacted the new "Measures on Environmental Information Disclosure" laws, an investigation by Greenpeace China has found that 18 Chinese and multinational firms are failing to comply with the regulations.

The law, which went into effect in May 2008, requires companies to publish their pollution information within 30 days of being reported as breaking pollution standards by local environmental bureaus. One year later, many top corporations had violated the terms of the law.

The multinational firms on the list are: Shell, Samsung Electronics, Nestle, LG, Kraft, Motorola, Denso and Bridgestone. Another 10 Chinese firms were found to be evading the regulation's requirements.

Greenpeace undertook the investigation to compare the regulations required in China -- and companies' failure to abide by them -- with the regulations those same companies adhere to in other countries.

China's "Measures on Environmental Information Disclosure" law is seen as a step toward developing regulations similar to the Toxics Release Inventory in the United States, which has been credited as one of the most effective and low-cost tools for reducing industrial pollution in the U.S.

"Evidence shows that a strong information disclosure system helped reduce pollution in the United States by 61 percent in 20 years," said Tianjie Ma, Senior Campaigner for Greenpeace China. "The public has a right to know about what these corporations are discharging in the rivers and lakes around their communities and what risks they face."

This investigation shows how, just as China has become central to many firms' supply chains, it is also quickly becoming ground zero for environmental issues. With the country recently overtaking the United States as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, the need for swift progress on environmental issues of all types has moved to center stage.

The full report, "Silent Giants," is available for download from Greenpeace China's website.