It Has Come to This: Canadian Bottled Mountain Air Is All the Rage in China

Vitality Air products 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
China’s air quality is heading into only one direction, and that’s rock bottom. Last week, Beijing was put on hold for several days after the first ever red-alert dictated by the high levels of pollution, but the authorities seem overwhelmed.
The simple fact is that China’s problems can’t be curbed from anywhere else but the top, yet the massive change that’s needed would take time and money, both in great quantities. And while the finances might not be a problem, China is slowly running out of time.

The scenario where somebody is buying canned air just so they can enjoy a few fresh, pollution-free breaths is one of the most dystopian things imaginable. It’s sad enough we have to pay for bottled water, but we always thought that at least air would always remain free.

And don’t imagine for a second that it comes cheap. Depending on the size of the canister, those looking for a change of air have to dig deep into their pockets for anything between $14 and around $40. In other words, it’s only the rich who’ll afford it. You shouldn’t be surprised if people started carrying these flasks around them through the city as if they were Starbucks coffee cups, sipping now and then to the envy of those having to deal with the local air.

As for the Canadian manufacturer, his business is booming. According to CNN, Vitality Air has had no trouble selling its first shipment of 500 bottles to China. They’re actually taking preorders now, so the next batch will basically be accounted for the moment it leaves the Rocky Mountains town of Banff, where the bottling takes place.

The whole thing started as a joke with one of Vitality Air’s co-founders, Moses Lam, listing an air-filled ziplock bag on eBay for 99 cents. What started as a joke has turned into a grim business, but the Canadian doesn’t seem to mind the money.

He spends 10 hours every week bottling the air, and since we know the price of one canister and the size of his next shipment, we can do the math ourselves. I don’t know how Mr. Lam sees it, but we feel it’s somewhat similar to homeopathy: making money out of selling something that won’t make things better to people who are in real pain.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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