Eliminate Toxic Chemicals Public Engagement

Standard Page - 2011-06-29
Though many Chinese people suffer from the effects of polluted water, the overall awareness of hazardous chemicals is low. Many villagers who fall ill do not even know why they are sick. Greenpeace is striving to record the story of water pollution in China, to bear witness to the devastating health and environmental impacts, and to share these stories with the world.

Though many Chinese people suffer from the effects of polluted water, the overall awareness of hazardous chemicals is low. Many villagers who fall ill do not even know why they are sick.

Greenpeace is striving to record the story of water pollution in China, to bear witness to the devastating health and environmental impacts, and to share these stories with the world.

Greenpeace is working to raise the overall public awareness of hazardous chemicals and industrial pollution in China, so the public can understand both the threats they face as well as their right to clean air and water. Greenpeace is working for greater public involvement in formulating government policy as well as demanding greater transparency and information disclosure from corporations.

Below are some of our projects geared to informing the public about water pollution in China.

A child playing with duckies made of PVC plastic.

Exposing Toxic Toys

In May 2011, Greenpeace conducted testing of children’s toys and products for the presence of phthalates and bisphenol-A, toxic chemicals that have been banned or restricted in Europe and North America. China lacked similar regulations, however, despite producing phthalate-free toys and products for export.

To our shock, we found exceedingly high levels of phthalates in children’s toys and products – including one toy that was 43% of phthalate by weight. This led to increased public debate and greater awareness of hazardous chemicals in our life. On June 1, 2011, the Chinese government announced that it was banning bisphenol-A from children’s products.

Hope & Pain: A Greenpeace Exhibit

In 2010, Greenpeace hosted "Hope & Pain", a photography exhibit, in Hong Kong and Beijing. Through the works of two extraordinary photographers, Eugene Smith and Lu Guang, “Hope & Pain” focused on the ordinary people whose lives were devastated by industrial pollution beyond their control.

Visitors attend the gallery opening of the "Hope & Pain" exhibit in Beijing.

Eugene Smith’s black and white photographs of mercury-poisoning victims in Japan and Lu Guang’s photos of Chinese fishing villagers are different faces of same problem: industrial pollution out of control.

Our photo exhibits attracted large groups of journalists, photographers and ordinary visitors in Hong Kong and Beijing.

Photographer Lu Guang is interviewed by journalists

Hidden Consequences: The Yangtze River

Perhaps no other river receives more hazardous chemicals than the Yangtze. As part of Hidden Consequences, a report on water pollution around the world, Greenpeace East Asia presented the story of the Yangtze and the people that rely upon it for survival.

Guiyu: E-Waste Central

In 2005, Greenpeace brought the world’s attention to the heartbreaking story of Guiyu, a town in Guangdong home to one of the world’s largest electronic waste scrapping sites. We interviewed local residents and migrant workers, we documented environmental devastation, and most importantly, we worked with university hospitals to conduct one of the first studies of the health impacts of e-waste. The results were shocking: over 82% of the children in Guiyu had elevated levels of lead in their blood. Through this report, many people – as well as governments – became aware of the consequences of simply tossing an old mobile phone or television into the trash.

For a look at our most recent toxics work, check out the news section.

 

Categories