Citizens in smog-filled China are scrambling to get their hands on bottles of air sold by a Canadian company.
Vitality Air bottles their product in the Rocky Mountain town of Banff. The company tells CNN that its first 500 canisters of fresh air went on sale in China last month before selling out in two weeks. It’s currently taking pre-orders for its next shipment.
“We’re getting close to the 1,000 mark,” said Harrison Wang, director of China operations.
Although the $14-to-$20 bottles of fresh air mostly serve a novelty purpose in Canada, Chinese customers in some of the country’s most polluted areas are seeing practical uses for it.
Last week, the Chinese government sounded its first ever red-alert warning after air quality got so severe that schools were closed and traffic was restricted. The Northern regions of China often are filled with smog, especially during the winter when homes and power plants burn more coal than usual to keep residents warm.
“In North America, we take our fresh air for granted but in China the situation is very different,” said Vitality Air co-founder Moses Lam in an interview with CNN.
Nonetheless, a professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University tells CNN that air bottles would not serve as a reasonable solution to China’s air pollution.
“We need to filter out the particles, the invisible killers, from the air,” said Wallace Leung. “One bottle of air wouldn’t help. I would be very cautious.”
Still, Lam stands by his work.
The co-founder said he travels to Banff once every few weeks where he spends about ten hours bottling the air. He says he drew the idea for air bottles after listing on eBay a bag of Zip locked air which sold for 99 cents.
“We wanted to do something fun and disruptive, so we decided to see if we could sell air, Lam told CNN.”