A Canadian Company Is Selling Bottled Air As China’s Smog Crisis Deepens

Abhishek Mazumdar

December 18th, 2015

Image Source: alux

Recently, China has been covered with thick smog and the air quality has registered far into the unhealthy zone. But as it is rightly said that your loss is someone else’s gain, a Canadian company selling fresh air in bottles has hit the Chinese-urban market. Vitality Air, the Edmonton-based startup is in the limelight for selling canisters filled with fresh air from Banff National Park on Chinese e-commerce website Taobao.

Vitality Air’s Moses Lam  in an interview to usuncut says he sold his first bag of air as a joke with co-founder Troy Paquette on Ebay. Air pollution in China has gotten so bad, especially for those living in its cities across the northeast and in the south, that Xinhua, a state-run news agency, tweeted an image, Tuesday, of the city center nearly invisible beneath a quilt of heavy smog. Its caption clearly underlines local frustrations: “Heavy smog hit China, again!”

“Our first shipment of 500 bottles of fresh air were sold in four days,” Lam told the Telegraph in a phone interview. Currently, a crate is carting an additional 4,000 bottles to China, but a majority of those bottles have already been sold.

Vitality Air nabs 100 yuan (£10), or just over $15 for a 7.7 liter can of Banff National Park Rocky Mountain air. That’s 50 times higher than the cost of mineral water in China.

What is smog?
Smog is basically derived by merging two words; smoke and fog. It is a type of fog that has soot in it and occurs mainly because of air pollution mixed with various gases. It is a thick blanket of haze that makes breathing difficult.

How is smog formed?
It is most commonly caused by pollutants coming from sources such as heavy vehicle traffic, power plants, residue released by factories and chemical solvents. Smog can occur more quickly on a hot, sunny day. When days are warm with calm winds, smog may not disappear for days and it becomes even worse with pollutants from heavy traffic added to the air.

What are the effects of smog?
Smog is harmful to all living beings. It can be responsible for minor irritation in eyes to deadly diseases, such as lung cancer. It causes breathing problem, hence becomes even worse for people with cardiac and respiratory complications, such as asthma.

How to protect yourself?
It is impossible to avoid smog completely, but you can definitely reduce its effects by following these tips:
• Avoid congested areas: Try to avoid rush hour and routes with major streams of traffic.
• Stay indoors: Though it is next to impossible to stay indoors, but keep a track of smog reports of your city and go out only when smog levels are low. It is a strict no for kids, old age people and heart and lung patients to go out when the city is blanketed with smog.
• Use facemask: To keep your lungs healthy it is important to use a mask with pollutant filter. It is requested not to use surgical-type masks as they are not designed to block tiny air pollutants. It is recommended to use masks that protect you against at least 95 percent of small particles.
• If you use air-conditioner, it is advisable to keep the unit as clean as possible.

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