The pollution in China is so bad, a restaurant started putting a surcharge on top of customers’ food bills as an “air cleaning fee”.
A restaurant in Zhangjiagang city, in the Jiangsu Province , recently purchased “air filtration machines” following reports of dangerously high pollution levels in the country.
Patrons who dined in the restaurant were unknowingly about to pay for the operational costs, and only found out when they were handed the bill at the end of their meals, according to the South China Morning Post.
A charge of one yuan per customer was added to the food bill, about 10p or $0.15. Customers complained to the local government, who ordered the restaurants owners to halt the illegal charge.
A city official told Xinhua news agency that it was not the diners’ choice to breathe filtered air and therefore it could not be sold as a commodity.
In pictures: Air pollution in China
In pictures: Air pollution in China
Skyline of Puxi, Huangpu River and the Lujiazui Financial District with the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, right third tallest, the Shanghai Tower, right tallest, the Shanghai World Financial Center, right second tallest, and other skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in Pudong at sunrise in heavy smog in Shanghai
A commuter walks in front of the China Central Television (CCTV) building on a smoggy day in Beijing
A magpie flies in heavy pollution in Beijing
A woman wearing a mask practices roller blading at Olympic Park during heavy smog in Beijing
Cyclists and vehicles travel on a road in heavy smog in Beijing
An electronic screen is seen through pollution in Beijing
Ground-staff (L) are seen under an Air China plane at the airport on a polluted day in Beijing
A man wearing a protective mask walks in Beijing
A subway passing bridge on a day of heavy pollution in Beijing
Visitors walk toward Linglong Tower during an extremely polluted day
Policemen wear protective masks at the Tiananmen Square on an extremely polluted day as hazardous, choking smog continues to blanket Beijing
Apartment rooms are lit up with lights during daytime on an extremely polluted day
A pedestrian walks on a bridge on an extremely polluted day as hazardous, choking smog continues to blanket Beijing
A man pulls his luggage past electronic screens showing the Olympic Green park under blue skies, near the National Stadium (R), or the Bird's Nest, amid heavy smog in Beijing
Chinese workers work on a unfinished building during a hazy day in Beijing
Heavy smog is seen in Beijing
Tiananmen Square is seen in heavy smog on a day of high pollution in Beijing
A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard on Tiananmen Square in heavy smog in Beijing
Tourists visit the Olympic Park during dheavy smog in Beijing
woman wears a face mask next to traffic shrouded in heavy smog in Beijing
Heavy smog has been lingering in northern and eastern parts of China, disturbing the traffic, worsening air pollution and forcing the closure of schools
Buildings are shrouded in smog in Changsha, Hunan Province
A ship sails up the Huangpu River as heavy smog engulfs the city in Shanghai
A man looks towards a bridge in heavy fog in Beijing
A man and his child wear masks as they visit The Bund in Shanghai. Heavy smog covered many parts of China worsening air pollution
Four workers walk through a panda sculpture during severe pollution in Beijing
A truck containing used plastic bottles travels along a highway covered in haze in Beijing
An attraction for visitors on Chaotianmen beach in Chongqing. The city of Chongqing is one of the fastest-growing urban centres on the planet but it is also suffering from very high pollution
Smoke rising from land as Chinese farmers clear their land for replanting on the outskirts of Tianjin. China's Environment Ministry said it will send inspection teams to provinces and cities most seriously affected by smog to ensure rules on fighting air pollution are being enforced
Steelworkers work at the Chongqing Iron and Steel Factory in Chongqing Municipality
However, the charge was supported on social media, where many said they would happily pay one yuan to be able to breathe easily.
On Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, one user said: “They could have added the extra one yuan to the price of the dishes but they didn’t… there is nothing wrong with charging this extra fee. The kind of dining environment decides the kind of pricing.”
Air pollution in China has reached an all-time high, with a red alert for poisonous smog issued in Beijing. Some of the worst-hit areas have visibility of less than 100m.