Regional Sustainability ›› 2022, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (1): 12-26.doi: 10.1016/j.regsus.2022.03.003

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Illustrating the multi-stakeholder perceptions of environmental pollution based on big data: Lessons from China

LIU Haimenga,b, LIU Huamingc, CHENG Yia,b,*()   

  1. aInstitute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China
    bCollege of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
    cDepartment of Business Administration, University of Granada, Granada, 18011, Spain
  • Received:2022-02-24 Revised:2022-03-20 Accepted:2022-03-25 Online:2022-03-30 Published:2022-05-13
  • Contact: CHENG Yi


The relationship between stakeholders and the environment influences sustainable development and human wellbeing. To illustrate the multi-stakeholder perceptions of environmental pollution in China, we interpreted a feedback loop in the perception-behavior-environment nexus from the perspective of the coupled human-environment system, measured the differences of environmental perceptions among five stakeholders (the public, government, media, companies, and scientists) and regions (including 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in China, with exceptions of Taiwan of China, Hong Kong of China, and Macao of China due to a lack of data) using big data, and made a comparison between the perceptions and the actual pollution situation. The results showed that the five stakeholders exhibited similar perceptions of environmental pollution at the national scale, with air pollution being of most concern, followed by water pollution and soil pollution. There were significant spatial differences in environmental perceptions. All stakeholders in the developed regions in eastern China paid relatively high attention to environmental issues, while those in the northwestern regions paid much less attention. There existed a mutual influence and interaction among the different stakeholders. More attention should be paid to air pollution in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, water pollution in Hainan Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Heilongjiang Province, and Jilin Province, and soil pollution in Hainan Province, Fujian Province, and Jilin Province. This paper provides a research paradigm on multi-stakeholder environmental perceptions based on big data, and the results provide a background reference for regional environmental governance.

Key words: Environmental quality, Environmental perception, Regional sustainable development, Inter-organizational coupling, Human-environment system, Air pollution, Water pollution, Soil pollution, Big data