Shenzhen will become China’s first city to legally empower non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to file lawsuits for environmental violations.
The high-tech manufacturing hub will enact an environmental regulation (link in Chinese) on Oct. 1, which will allow NGOs, public prosecutors and government departments to sue illegal polluters and force them to cease ongoing environmental destruction.
The Standing Committee of the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress, the city’s top decision-making body announced the news on Monday. The regulation will also lower the costs of lawsuits brought by NGOs and set up a public welfare fund to help cover these costs.
In doing so, Shenzhen will be at the forefront of China’s national legislation on such lawsuits, known as environmental public interest litigations (EPILs), according to the website of Shenzhen’s government (link in Chinese).
Previously, few NGOs in Shenzhen have filed environmental lawsuits, due to prohibitive costs, difficulties in collecting evidence and accusations of collusion between local government and companies.
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