Two Koreans are suing the Korean and Chinese governments for physical and mental damage they suffered due to increasing instances of toxic haze from China.

Environmentalist Choi Yu of the Korea Green Foundation, and attorney Ahn Kyung-jae filed the lawsuit at the Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday seeking W21 million in compensation (US$1=W1,126).

"As a member of the international community, China has the obligation to control pollutants at an acceptable level," the plaintiffs said.

They also accused the Korean government of failing to accurately assess the exact cause of fine dusts and claimed that the government has not lived up to its duty to protecting its citizens' health and safety.

"I suddenly began suffering from asthma-like symptoms after climbing a mountain on a day when the fine dust level was extremely high," Ahn said. He submitted medical records showing he had developed asthma due to "unknown causes."

The two men said the purpose of their lawsuit was to prod the two governments to reduce toxic haze and the financial compensation amount was merely "symbolic." They can bring the case against China in a Korean court because it is a civil action.
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