A restaurant in eastern China has been caught charging customers an “air cleaning fee” on top of their food bills.
Diners at the eatery in Zhangjiagang city, Jiangsu Province, were charged one yuan ($0.15; 10p) each to cover the cost of purifying the air inside, the official Xinhua news agency reports. Cities in the region have been enveloped in thick smog in recent weeks, with visibility of less than 100m in the worst-hit areas.
The restaurant’s owners recently purchased an air filtration system to improve the dining experience, and covered the cost by passing it on to customers without prior warning, the report says. But after complaints from angry patrons, the local government intervened to stop the practice, telling the owners that it constituted an illegal charge. A city official tells Xinhua that it wasn’t the diners’ choice to breathe filtered air, so it could not be sold as a commodity.