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Five lawyers in China have filed three separate lawsuits against the governments of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province for allegedly failing to combat air pollution in the region, on Monday and Tuesday, as smog continues to threaten the country.
The lawyers, Cheng Hai, Xu Wensheng from Beijing, Lu Tingge and Li Weida from Hebei Province and Ma Wei from Tianjin claim the three governments have not performed their duties in combating air pollution, and demand State compensation and 9,999 yuan ($) for mental suffering as well as for air filter masks, according to a document released on Tuesday on the official Sina Weibo account of Li Zhongwei, a lawyer in Shandong Province.
They also demand that the three governments solve the air pollution within a time frame and apologize in the media for 7 days.
Beijing's air quality continues to worsen after the 2008 Olympics Games. Beijing experienced almost 180 days of smog in 2015, 124 days more than a decade ago, the document said.
It states that the continuous air pollution in China can be regarded as the fourth largest environmental crisis after the Great Smog of London in 1952, Industrial Pollution in Japan and Los Angeles Light Pollution.
According to China's Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law, regional governments shall be responsible for air quality. The pollutants should be controlled and reduced through their measurements, the document said.
Beijing is the only city listed in the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, adopted in 2013, and is required to reduce the level of fine particulate air pollution, known as PM2.5, by 25 percent in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The fine particulate matters in Beijing are supposed to be kept at less than 60 micrograms per cubic meter.
Heavy smog engulfed Beijing for a fourth straight day on Tuesday, with the current Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeding 350, and visibility in some areas of the city reduced to 50 meters. A total of 23 cities across China activated red alerts last week.(news from the Global times)