I Object! Suing over Air Quality

Here’s one for the books. Law books, that is.

Environmentalists in the Netherlands have taken an extreme step to call attention to ongoing pollution concerns: They are suing the government.

According to their lawsuit, air pollution levels in the Netherlands exceed normal standards and thus harm people. They claim this, in turn, infringes on basic human rights. By filing the lawsuit, the environmentalists hope to shine a light on dangerous levels on nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere and force the government into meaningful reforms. The lawsuit was quoted as saying “the state has a duty to protect citizens from unhealthy air.”

To fund their lawsuit, the plaintiffs used a crowd-sourcing website to raise attorney fees and hope to take their lawsuit to trial.

The group was perhaps emboldened by an earlier case brought before the courts in which 900 Dutch citizens sued to force a reduction in greenhouse gases. In June of 2015, the courts ruled in favor of the citizens, ordering the government to cut greenhouse gases by 2020. The government is currently appealing the decision.