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There’s an App For That: The Role of Data Transparency in the War on Pollution
Over the past two decades, rapid economic growth powered by cheap, conventional energy had fueled an incredible increase in Chinese living standards lifting millions out of poverty. Yet today, China is grappling with a new challenge: the environmental costs of that growth, most commonly experienced through dangerously high levels of air pollution that are shortening lives throughout the country.
Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun is helping to change that. After convincing the Chinese government to encourage the release of real-time pollution data from industrial facilities, Jun and his nonprofit Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs created a smart phone app that allows the public to see, and report, where the worst polluters are located. This approach to pollution abatement, built on transparency, focuses on putting information out in the open in an organized and easily-accessible way, allowing citizens to call for change. Many in China credit the effort for helping to usher in recent signs of progress, and other countries are looking to the work as a model.
Join EPIC as we host Ma Jun for a talk on the role of transparency, citizen engagement, and the future of environmental regulation.
Saieh Hall Room 146
1160 E 58th St
Chicago, IL 60637
As founding director of Beijing-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), Ma has led the development and launch of China’s first environmental public database, the China Pollution Map, as well as the Blue Map (“Weilan Ditu”), a mobile app that helps the public use “micro-reports” against environmental violations and polluted rivers. His Green Choice supply chain program has motivated more than 3,000 suppliers of major global and local brands to openly address their violation problems.