By Huo Tao (霍桃), China Environmental News (中国环境报), May 8, 2013
Describes effective Weibo (microblogging) campaigns in which the rural dwellers were encouraged to post photos of the pollution and litter they encountered in their villages. Building on the success of “Internet Users Fight Trafficking” and “Free Lunch for Impoverished Children from Mountain Regions” campaigns, journalist and social media star Deng Fei began two new campaigns prior to the Chinese New Year holiday, encouraging those returning to their villages to participate in the “Everyone Photograph Pollution in their Hometown” and “Independent Investigation of China’s Water Crisis” campaigns. Now that the holiday is over and the campaigns have slowed, we can consider their impact and effectiveness. The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, for instance, was able to create a pollution map with the help of internet users and partners. “Take a Picture” campaigns have also become a popular tool for a number of campaigns, effectively mobilizing public participation. Unfortunately, some have pointed out, these campaigns are often short-lived and specific, failing to lead to direct and widespread action. At the same time, Deng Fei emphasizes the importance, at a time when China has begun to “declare war” on pollution in urban regions, to be aware as well of the polluted conditions in rural areas, and to include these areas in environmental protection efforts.