It has been shown that public participation can limit powerful interest groups, while competing interests can help find a reasonable balance between development and environmental protection.
Globalisation has powered economic growth in developing countries such as China. Global logistics, low domestic production costs, and strong consumer demand have let the country develop strong export-based manufacturing, making the country the workshop of the world.
We copied laws and regulations from western countries, but enforcement remains weak, and environmental litigation is still quite near impossible.
Regulatory failings mean that the cost of breaking the law is far below that of obeying it - businesses are happier to pay fines than to control pollution.
If major companies sourcing in developing countries care only about price and quality, local suppliers will be lured to cut corners on environmental standards to win contracts.
When I look at China's environmental problems, the real barrier is not lack of technology or money. It's lack of motivation.
China should cut heavy industries' share in gross domestic output by 9 percentage points between 2013 and 2030 to meet its pollution cuts target.
We haven't seen the turning point yet, but we're sticking to our bottom line, for the environment and the health of the country.
In the future, officials will feel more pressure to protect the environment. But how to assess the officials' efforts to protect the environment is still a pivotal issue.
What we aim to do, through public pressure, is help the environment protection bureau to enforce the law.
iPhone4 is sold in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, but it was assembled in China. As the world's center for the processing of IT products, China's environment is paying the price.
I think there are a few brands like Nike and Patagonia which are quite progressively minded.
I think its time to change and balance the environment and growth. If we don't do that, we're going to suffer a hard landing one day very soon.
Environmental agencies in China are hamstrung by local officials who put economic growth ahead of environmental protection; even the courts are beholden to local officials, and they are not open to environmental litigation.
People realised this is real pollution; it is not fog. Now everyone has to face the data and come out of their comfort zone.
Pollution is a serious one. Water pollution, air pollution, and then solid hazardous waste pollution. And then beyond that, we also have the resources issue. Not just water resources but other natural resources, the mining resources being consumed, and the destruction of our ecosystem.
At the end of the day, the government, local government all bow to public pressure.
Urban residents, most of them middle class, have a much better sense of their environmental rights, and they're willing to take to the streets.
I hope to see an integrated solution created to deal with both the local pollution problem and the global climate change problem.
Beijing was such a different city. There were so few cars, I could walk in the middle of the road. In the summer, the streetlamps attracted swirling bugs. I loved those bugs: crickets, praying mantis, all kinds of beetles. I also have a vivid memory of dazzling sunlight coming out of the sky.
Greening the globalised manufacturing and sourcing will be the single biggest help multinationals could make to the tough pollution control in China and other developing countries.
The motivation should come from regulatory enforcement, but enforcement is weak, and environmental litigation is near to impossible. So there's an urgent need for extensive public participation to generate another kind of motivation.