China's top environmentalists

Competition in an online poll to elect China's top 5 environmentalists is heating up, according to China Daily.

Voters are currently faced with a shortlist of 20 nominees, but by the end of the month five will have been selected as China's Green Figures of 2005. The list of 20 candidates came out last week, based on 35,823 Internet votes, letters and phone calls to the organizing committee. The five winners will be announced at the opening ceremony of China's Environmental Cultural Festival at the end of this month.

Tian Guirong, a farmer-turned battery seller, is one of the nominees.

"When I read a 1998 report about pollution caused by the improper disposal of waste batteries, I was shocked," she told People's Daily.

"I asked myself how much land and water would be polluted by the 3 million batteries I sold every year?"

Tian, in her 50s, lives in Xinxiang, Central China's Henan Province. Since 1998, she has voluntarily collected waste batteries. At a personal cost of around 200,000 yuan (US$24,700), she has collected 65 tons of waste batteries, which have been transferred to the environmental protection bureau of Henan Province for proper storage and disposal.

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