Cheng Hai is the voice of much of the Chinese middle class, exhausted from dealing daily with the consequences of the increasing pollution that invades the skies of Beijing. Lawyer by profession, Cheng Hai is determined to fight with all weapons to fight the pollution that haunts much of the Chinese territory.
“There are those who think that with economic development, air pollution is inevitable, but this is a mistake,” Cheng said in statements to the Associated Press.
“We have laws that protect air quality and high levels of pollution can be avoided if these were properly applied,” added the lawyer who will advance with a request for financial compensation to the Beijing government, claiming “high emotional wear and Cheers”.
Even after three years ago Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang declared “pollution warfare”, air quality in the Chinese skies remains far from acceptable levels. Several measures have been implemented since then, such as the closure of some factories and the ban on traffic for more polluting cars, with data indicating that air quality has steadily improved since then. But for Cheng Hai, and the whole community he represents, these results are far from positive.
All too often we are confronted with news such as this that tells of the need for emergency measures to control pollution in Beijing. The average concentration of PM 2,5 particles, the finest and most likely to infiltrate the lungs, goes against all the recommendations of the World Health Organization, with values seven times above the maximum level recommended by this institution.
“We are the victims of pollution and we have the right to ask the government for an apology and a compensation,” said Yu Wensheng, a Beijing native who was in solidarity with Cheng Hai’s fight.
The opening of these proceedings and the application for compensation are, for the complainants, a call for attention to the serious situation that plagues the Chinese environment. It is also a worldwide warning for the inertia revealed by local authorities to deal with the environmental consequences of three decades of intense economic development.
Estimates indicate that in 2017 Beijing authorities will spend close to $ 2.5 billion to combat the effects of heavy pollution. To close / modernize the country’s factory fabric – currently very polluting – to invest in clean energy instead of coal, and ultimately to eliminate some 300,000 polluting cars are the future challenges for Beijing.