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While a 15-year-old boy is fighting cancer in a Kunming hospital in China's Yunnan Province, a coalition of lawyers and independent environmental groups are pursuing a lawsuit against the factory accused of illegal chromium dumping. One Greenpeace Senior Campaigner says the lawsuit will set a precedent for other similar cases.
A 15-year-old boy's life in a village in China's Yunnan Province took a dramatic turn for the worse last September. Wu Wenyong's face swelled up, with tumors growing on his neck.
Wu was diagnosed with two different types of cancer of the thymus gland—leukemia and thymoma.
Now in hospital tethered to three different tubes, Wu has lost all his hair after four chemotherapy treatments. His father could find no answers for the cause of his son's illness. But Wu Shuliang suspects chromium dumping from a nearby factory is the cause of his son's illness.
Villagers living in the industrial park outside Qujing City in Yunnan Province struggle to cope with chromium pollution of their land and water.
Local residents said drivers from Yunnan Luliang Peace Technology Company dumped a three-story high mound of chromium waste near their villages.
Environmental groups found chromium levels in the water to be about 200 times over the permitted level. Chromium 6—a known carcinogen—could cause leukemia, cancer of the breast, stomach and liver.
Last September, local authorities arrested five people for illegal dumping and requested the factory to stop chromium production.
Meanwhile, Wu's father struggles to pay for his son's medical treatment.
A group of lawyers and Chinese environmental groups have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the villagers like Wu.
The group requests the company to set up a $1.6-million compensation fund.