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Group Wants More Polluters in Court

Less than one percent of the more than 100,000 disputes over environmental violations reported last year reached the courts, figures from an environmental group showed yesterday.

The numbers show the mounting challenges faced by the masses in fighting pollution and other environmental violations, the All-China Environmental Federation (ACEF), the only nongovernmental organization active nationwide, said yesterday.

The group will boost efforts to help people defend their rights to clean air, water and land, it said.

"The overwhelming majority of cases were stopped at the doors to the courts due to difficulties in getting them accepted and obtaining sufficient evidence," Lu Keqin, special consultant to secretary-general of the ACEF, said yesterday.

The two-year-old group said it has been working to enhance people's awareness of green issues and stem pollution, through efforts such as its drive for a smoke-free Olympics, calling for taxes on car emissions, and leading a campaign against papermaker APP for its alleged destruction of forests.

Lu said the ACEF is planning to establish a nonprofit law firm this year to help bring polluters to court. It will work with the All-China Lawyers Association to get support from lawyers nationwide and provide legal services to victims of such violators, Lu said.

Since its establishment in 2005, the ACEF's legal service center has provided more than 11,000 consultations on environmental cases, received 636 environmental complaints, and dealt with 212 cases of public environmental violations, Lu said.

(China Daily January 16, 2008)

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