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Chinese NGO tracks polluters using Google Maps

Beijing, China: Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), a Beijing-based NGO, turned to Google Maps to track the location of some of China’s most heavily polluting companies. The IPE aims to put pressure on multinationals like Walmart to clean up their Chinese supply chain.
According to the NGO, China’s transformation into a manufacturing superpower has left the country with a dire legacy of air and water pollution. But light punishments for polluters mean that Chinese factories often have little incentive to improve their behaviour.
The NGO collects reports on hundreds of pollution incidents from across China each week. It combines that data with Google’s map service to generate a map showing the location of China’s most polluting firms. A crowd of blue markers covering the map show the location of each firm, some of which can be clicked on to access pollution reports. The map is partly about “naming in shaming” polluters, who can have their names removed from the database if they pass an independent environmental audit.
The pollution map isn’t totally comprehensive. Most of the data is gathered from government documents, which are “far from complete,” according to a recent IPE report. The NGO’s work has mostly focused on electronics multinationals with suppliers in China, but pollution from Chinese manufacturers who supply Western clothing brands are next on the NGO’s target list, IPE employee Matthew Collins said. 
Source: www.smartplanet.com