Shanghai man wins light pollution case
The city's first light pollution lawsuit ended on Monday with a partial victory for a sleep-deprived plaintiff.
The court ordered an automobile dealership, Yongdazhongbao Auto Sales and Service Co Ltd, to remove three lamps in front of one of its exhibition halls that have flooded with light the bedroom of a Shanghai man every night for the past two years.
However, the court did not award the compensation or order the public apology sought by Lu Yaodong.
"As a whole, I am happy with the result," said Lu, "I am the first person in this country to win a light pollution case.
"But I don't understand why I did not get the compensation or the apology.
"I am still talking with my lawyer about whether to appeal to a higher court."
Lu filed the lawsuit with the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court on September 1, the first day the city's standard against light pollution was officially implemented.
He said the glaring light, which shone straight into his bedroom between 7 pm and 5 am, made sleeping very difficult and affected his work.
He demanded the company remove the lamps, apologize and pay 1,000 yuan (US$120) in compensation. He later lowered the compensation demand to a nominal 1 yuan.
The auto company disagreed, saying the lamps are weak and do not cause any light pollution. Nevertheless, it shut them off two days after the lawsuit was filed.
One of the three lamps in question is only 20 metres from Lu's bedroom and they are all at about the same height as his balcony, glaring straight into his bedroom.
Judging by the definition given in the light pollution standard, the court decided in Lu's favour.
"However, since there is no evidence available showing the defendant's behaviour has caused the plaintiff any negative social influence, we rejected his request for a public apology," said judge Cao Kerui.
"And since Lu failed to prove the exact pecuniary losses the accused has brought to him, we cannot support his request for compensation either."
A department to measure light pollution was set up recently by the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.
"The authoritative report provided by this department will make it easier for us to make judgments in future," said Cao.