Look back on the Changzhou environmental pubic interest litigation case

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In Changzhou Foreign Languages School, 493 middle school pupils were found to have health problems in March, 2016, and experts said that it might have much to do with pollution from chemical plants. China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, a national NGO, filed a public interest lawsuit against three enterprises that were suspected of being the source of the pollution. However, it lost the case, and was ordered to pay 1.89 million yuan ($275,350) in legal costs.

 

The NGOs submitted the indictment to the court on April 29, 2016, alleging that the factories moved out of the area after seriously polluting land, where the plants were located, adding that the polluted areas have not been restored.

 

CBCGDF alleged that the three chemical factories polluted the environment. They have asked the court to order the factories to remove pollutants and to pay environmental restoration fees, according to the indictment. The suit has been brought by the groups Friends of Nature, China Biodiversity Conservation and the Green Development Foundation.

 

CBCGDF said it will appeal to a higher court. However, the court expenses of 1.89 million yuan that it has to pay are a heavy burden. If other courts follow this example and charge prohibitively expensive legal costs, other social organizations might not be able to afford such public interest litigation, and their legal right to bring such public interest cases to court might become illusive. Media reports say its soliciting donations in order to pay the costs.

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