Some 1,000 residents were hired by Shenzhen's environment protection bureau yesterday to report excessive pollution caused by city businesses.
The informants, mostly volunteers, are expected to inspect factories in local communities and report practices which break environmental protection rules to the watchdog.
Vice Mayor Lu Ruifeng said the action is part of the municipal government's iron-fisted policy to reduce industrial pollution further by imposing severe punishment on offenders.
"Last year the municipal government received 639 reports from local residents on excessive discharges and 513 cases were dealt with," he said.
Lu said valuable information provided by enthusiastic Shenzheners can help the city become greener.
The environment protection bureau announced in January it will name polluters every quarter.
"Anyone reporting illegal discharges will be given a 500 to 5,000 yuan (US$65 to 650) reward once the offense is confirmed," said a spokeswoman from the bureau surnamed Shen.
Local environment authorities punished 1,934 polluters last year, of whom more than a quarter were reported by residents.
"Nearly 40 million yuan in penalties were imposed on the polluters, and more than 40 were fined more than 100,000 yuan each," said Shen.
Another 35 polluters were arrested by police and 15 manufacturers had their sewage discharge licenses suspended.
The city launched tough measures against the dumping of waste last September. A total of 64 violators were ordered to publish letters of remorse and apologize to the public in newspapers for polluting the environment last year.
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