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A Chinese man in a smoggy northern city in China has become the first person in the country to sue the government for failing to curb air pollution since almost a week for which he had to buy a treadmill to exercise indoors.

Li Guixin, a resident of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, is suing the government for failing to halt air pollution, after he had to buy the treadmill to be away from the pollution. The man reckons that the authorities have failed to control the increasing smog, which has forced him to spend money on face masks and an air purifier as well.

Beijing was under an “orange” smog alert since February 24 which marks the first time the second-highest warning level of a new system introduced last year has been raised.

Heavy smog routinely blankets the capital and completely blots out the sun which then forces residents inside. Even Australian Open champion Li Na revealed she’s had to train indoors in Beijing due to the high levels of air pollution.

Li has submitted his complaint to a district court, asking the Shijiazhuang Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to “perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law”, said a Chinese newspaper.

The bold Chinese man is also seeking compensation from the agency for residents for the choking pollution that has engulfed Shijiazhuang, and much of northern China, 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 was quoted as saying by the same Chinese newspaper.

It is unclear whether the court will accept Li’s lawsuit. His lawyer, Wu Yufen, declined to comment, telling Reuters “this information is quite sensitive”. The court and the Shijiazhuang environmental protection bureau could not be reached for comment.

“Besides the threat to our health, we’ve also suffered economic losses, and these losses should be borne by the government and the environmental departments because the government is the recipient of corporate taxes, it is a beneficiary,” he said.

Northern China has in recent days been suffering its worst air pollution crisis in months. China has also banned outdoor school sports as it’s been grappling with the choking smog for almost a week.