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Ma Jun, director of the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), has been awarded the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for setting up an online database of polluters and urging enterprises to clean up their practices.
Six people shared the global award, which honors grassroots environmentalists.
In May 2006, Ma and his colleagues in IPE began to gather information on pollution -- much of which had been published but went largely unnoticed by the public -- and created the first-ever air and water pollution maps in China.
The database now includes more than 90,000 threads of information, detailing breaches of environmental regulations committed by both local factories and multinational companies. With the maps, members of the public can easily learn about pollution sources in their neighborhoods.
In the 1990s, Ma Jun became known as an investigative journalist, focusing on environmental issues in China. In 1999, he published "China's Water Crisis", a detailed account of China’s environmental woes.
In May 2006, Ma Jun was named one of the 100 most influential persons in the world by Time magazine. He now serves as director of the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs.
Each year, the Goldman Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives an award of $150,000, the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists.