A report has revealed that most big cities in China have failed to publish adequate pollution information in 2011.
The cities failed despite the establishment and consolidation of a nationwide environmental protection transparency mechanism.
Only 19 out of 113 cities got a passing score of 60 out of 100, based on the Pollution Information Transparency Index, jointly developed by the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) and US-based Natural Resources Defense Council.
According to The China Daily, some major polluting provinces, such as Shandong and Sichuan, and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, were criticized over their poor performance with regard to publishing pollution information.
"For instance, Shandong province, the country's biggest emitter of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide (two major air pollutants), even saw some of its cities regressing on information disclosure," said Ma Jun, director of IPE.
Cities in western China are generally lagging behind on publishing pollution information. This is seen as cause for concern because the development of the country's vast and ecologically fragile western region has already brought with it polluting industries.
According to the report, environmental experts found that the stubbornness of those local governments that withhold pollution information is the major obstacle.
"This is because some local officials are still obsessed with making decisions without listening to public opinion and some are simply afraid that publishing pollution information will reveal problems and cause themselves trouble," said Liu Shuai, from the environmental protection committee at Hunan provincial people's congress.