Wang Enlin a farmer living in the Yushutun village, China has spent over 16 years studying law to sue the chemical company that allegedly polluted his land.
According to reports from Chinese news site The People, a 2001 government document claimed the contaminated farmland ‘can not be used for a long time’ due to the companies error.
The company in question- Qihua Group have assets of over 2 billion Yen (Around $200 million) and are thought to have dumped hazardous waste into the village from 2001 – 2016, making it impossible for the community to farm their land.
They are also reported to have created 71-acres of wasteland contaminated with calcium carbide and a 478-acre pond full of liquid waste.
Mr Wang decided to pursue the legal knowledge required to take Qihua on after writing a letter in 2001, to the Land Resources Bureau of Qiqihar complaining about the pollution of his village.
He said that he was asked to produce evidence of the contamination when dealing with local officials:
Mr Wang said: ‘I knew I was in the right, but I did not know what law the other party had broken or whether or not there was evidence.’ This was when he started his 16 year study.
Mr Wang also decided to use what he had learned to school the locals and help them gather evidence as their farms had also been affected by Qihua Group.
In 2007, a law firm which specialised in similar cases started to offer Mr Wang and his community free legal advice, and said they would help the villagers file a petition to the court. However due to legal complications, the proceedings only started in 2015.
Due to the case Wang and his community had built they won the first instance. The Court ruled that the Qihua Group pay the families involved a combined amount of 820,000 yuan (Close to $75,000). The case is currently being appealed by Qihua Group.
Mr Wang told the reporter: ‘We will certainly win. Even if we lose, we will continue to battle.’