Report Examines Access to Chinese Environmental Data

17 December 2010

China has improved access to some environmental information, but much data on pollution and on the activities is still hard to obtain, according to a new report.

ARTICLE 19 and the Centre for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV) at the China University of Political Science and Law launched a new report Dec. 16 entitled “Access to Environmental Information in China: Evaluation of Local Compliance.

After studying access to information in seven cities, the researchers  “found progress in access to government-held environmental information in China since the adoption of national RTI regulations in 2008.”

“A significant amount of environmental information has been disclosed by the environmental agencies both proactively and upon requests,” according to the report, noting the creation of some online mechanisms to help with dissemination. It continues:

However, there is still a wide gap between existing practices and the legal requirements under China’s Open Government Information Regulations and Measures on Open Environmental Information (for Trial Implementation). In particular, information relating to pollutant emissions, waste disposal and list of illegally polluting enterprises is the hardest to obtain. In addition, disclosure of environmental information by large enterprises is very limited, which is likely due to the lack of legal requirements on enterprises to publish information.

“Through participating in this survey, we see that there is much improvement in EPB’s work on environmental information disclosure. However, there is still room for improvement,” says Liu Hong Ming, a member of Friends of Nature Shanghai who participated in the survey, “As a civil society organisation, we need to step up our work on information disclosure, and build our own capacities and skills in making information request.”

The report makes a series of recommendations.

Report in English

Translation in Chinese

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