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Chinese Man Sues Government Over Air Pollution

boy wearing a face mask in beijing against pollution
A boy wears a face mask in Beijing to protect himself from air pollution (Image credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-498262p1.html">Hung Chung Chih</a> | <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Shutterstock.com</a>)

In a first, a man in a smog-filled city in China is suing the government for failing to rein in air pollution. 

Li Guixin, a resident of the northern city of Shijiazhuang, submitted a formal complaint in the district court and is also seeking compensation for residents of the city, arguing that the municipal environmental protection bureau had a duty to control air pollution. Li bought air masks and a treadmill to cope with the choking miasma that beset his city this winter. "The reason that I'm proposing administrative compensation is to let every citizen see that amid this haze, we're the real victims," Li told the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily.

On paper, China has stiff penalties for environmental polluters, but local enforcement is often weak, because the government depends on tax revenue from polluters, Reuters reported.

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Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.