Consumers have been urged to boycott products made by 20 companies in a ground-breaking attempt to exert pressure on the firms to reduce their discharges of water pollutants.
The companies, including some subsidiaries of multinationals producing food, cars and electronic goods, are on the 'Green Choice' campaign blacklist, which was hailed by a senior official with the State Environmental Protection Administration as 'a timely move'.
Ma Jun, a water expert with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said consumers should avoid products made by polluting manufacturers.
'We hope all consumers will take into consideration an enterprise's track record in environmental protection when making purchases,' he said on behalf of the 21 mainland green groups involved in the campaign. 'We want to see a positive interaction between consumers' choice and enterprises' social responsibility.'
The firms are among nearly 5,000 polluting companies listed by China Water Pollution Map, a website run by Mr Ma. It is based on information from environmental authorities and media reports over the past three years.
'We only chose some big, well-known enterprises which produce goods that we buy or use almost every day,' Mr Ma said. 'We believe the companies are capable of controlling pollution under pressure from the public. But our efforts should not be interpreted as being deliberately against those firms.'
Mu Guangfeng , who is in charge of Sepa's environmental assessments, said the campaign would complement the government's efforts by tracking down polluting firms and increasing awareness. 'The government has decided to enhance supervision of local authorities and enterprises during the 11th five-year plan and the campaign is a splendid move in this direction,' he said.
Mr Ma said environmental groups had tried to contact the listed firms and had received some positive responses. 'Some promised to take immediate action and urged us not to put them on the blacklist,' he said.