An environmental audit by Apple and a Chinese environmental group will determine whether iPods cause serious iPollution.

At the end of this month, the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and the computer giant Apple will work with an auditing firm to assess the environmental damage caused by a factory which produces printed circuit boards for Apple.

“We think this is a very positive step made by Apple,” Wang Jing Jing, vice director for the Chinese environmental group, said in MacWorld. “We hope this won’t simply be a pilot project, but that more open inspections will continue.”

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Allegations of environmental contamination and worker abuses have been a worm in Apple's reputation for months. In August of last year, a group of Chinese environmental organizations denounced Apple's sustainability and social justice record and called for the company to reveal the manufacturers involved in their supply chain. Apple acquiesced and released the names of its parts suppliers along with a sustainability report.

An investigation published in March by Fair Labor Association into Apple supplier Foxconn found, “excessive overtime and problems with overtime compensation; several health and safety risks; and crucial communication gaps that have led to a widespread sense of unsafe working conditions among workers.”

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Security guards from a neighboring department store line up in protest in front of the enclosure to the construction site of the world's largest Apple Store in Dalian city, northeast China's Liaoning province. The incident occurred at noon on March 28, 2012, after enclosure boards were erected around the site of the future store in the city's Parkland Mall area. The guards from a department store near the site pulled down the boards in forcible demolition, the Xinmin Evening News reported. Insiders said the building company expanded the border of its construction site by several meters and affected the business of the department store, the paper said. (Corbis)