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China pollution: Beijing restaurant starts capitalising on pollution by charging customers for clean air

Customers were charged one yuan per person to for the privilege of breathing filtered air

Kate Ng
Monday 14 December 2015 16:27 GMT
Air pollution levels in some parts of China are dangerously high
Air pollution levels in some parts of China are dangerously high (Getty Images)

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.

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.

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