The dreaded future is here. Yes, the scene that could easily fit in a sci-fi movie is becoming real. People from China are buying bottled pure air taken from the Rocky Mountains in Canada, for a price!
The Canadian company, Vitality air has sold their first batch of 500 canisters filled with fresh air within four days of posting their sale online in China. 4000 more bottles are being shipped to China at present, most of which they claim to have already been sold as well. The price is about 100 Yuan (15 USD), which is 50 times more expensive than a bottle of mineral water in China. It comes in sizes of 3 or 7.7 litres with prices between 14-24 USD.
It first started as a joke when the founders of the company, Moses Lam and Troy Paquette sold their first sealable food bag of air for 99 cents on eBay. But when their second bag sold for $168 Canadian Dollars (122 USD), they knew they have hit the jackpot and soon launched Vitality Air.
The website of Vitality Air says that they travel to remote locations in Rocky Mountains to find the ‘freshest’ air and compress them into massive cans. They later dispense into convenient delivery cans that are then shipped worldwide. “It’s time consuming because every one of these bottles is hand bottled. We’re dealing with fresh air, we want it to be fresh and we don’t want to run it through machines which are oiled and greased,” says Mr Lam.
Majority of their customers are from big cities in the north-eastern and southern parts of China, where air quality has deteriorated to extreme levels.
Not only Vitality Air is grabbing this business opportunity. A Chinese restaurant in Zhangjiagang city started charging its diners for fresh air or ‘air cleaning fee’ on top of their food bills for the operational costs of the air filtration machines that the restaurant bought for the establishment.
China has been battling heavy smog situation for the past few weeks; Beijing issued its first ever red alert on Dec 8th, 2015.
Recently, India’s capital, Delhi is also facing heavy smog situation where the air quality is so bad that its High court warned that ‘it seems like we are living in a gas chamber’.
Obtaining water/fruit/air that is fresh is now considered a luxury. The natural resources which we so far took for granted, is now becoming precious. Everyone talks about climatic change and world leaders are getting together to forge a plan to combat it. But, the reality is that the damage is already done.
What we can attempt to do now, is just try to minimise its impact through collective mutual efforts of both developed and developing nations by moving towards greener technologies. However the success relies heavily on how far we can compromise the so called ‘economic growth’ for it. We need to realise that nobody is winning this mad rat race, rather losing big time and giving up our right to live in this planet.
Our fore fathers would have laughed at the thought of bottled water, when fresh water was available everywhere. Now, buying water for drinking is a very common phenomenon. We were laughing at the concept of bottled pure air, while now it is becoming a reality in front of our eyes. We can only imagine what kind of environment we are leaving behind for the future generations to come-when fiction becomes reality!
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