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Environmental NGOs' Influence Increases as Total Doubles in 3 Years

China's grassroot non-governmental organizations (NGO) dedicated to environment protection have more influence now with the doubling of their number in the past three years, according to a report.

China has 508 grassroot-level environment NGOs as of October this year, increasing by nearly 300 from 2005, the All-China Environment Federation said in an environment report, which it took eight months to finish beginning January this year.

And they are having an effect on the everyday lives of Chinese people.

Yi Yimin, a press officer with the Beijing-based Friends of Nature, an environment NGO, told Xinhua her organization has successfully influenced the public and the government policy by advocating environment-friendly practice in the past few years.

"For example, we together with other groups advocated the '26-degree air conditioning office' among the public, which later became a government regulation that air-conditioned public rooms should be kept at no lower than 26 degrees Celsius in summer," she said.

In total, there are 3,539 environment NGOs in the country, including government-sponsored ones, grassroot ones, branches of international organizations as well as school environment societies. The figure jumped by 771 from three years ago, the federation said.

According to the report, 55.2 percent of the NGOs now have their own offices, up 15.2 percent from 2005; while 26 percent have fixed source of investment, up 2.1 percent.

However, most environment NGOs still face problems including difficulty in raising money, shortage in personnel and weak organization ability in their development process, the report said.

Meanwhile, along with their growth, the organizations have since 2005 played a more active role in influencing the government's policy making, supervising the government's task of environment responsibility and raising public awareness in environment protection, it said.

The survey found 58.6 percent of the organizations were involved in the energy saving and emission cutting work, and 11 percent participated in protecting people's rights concerning environment protection, according to the report.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2008)

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