A company called Vitality Air had opened last year in Edmonton, Canada, which sells fresh air from the Rocky Mountains. As soon as China’s pollution levels rose and Beijing flagged red-alert because of smog, the sales of air bottles have skyrocketed.
“Our first shipment of 500 bottles of fresh air were sold in four days,” co-founder Moses Lam told The Telegraph. Reportedly, a crate of 4,000 bottles has been sent to China and most of it has already been sold out.
But these are air bottles are expensive. A 7.7-litre can of air taken from Banff National Park in Rocky Mountains range costs 100 yuan ($15.4), which is 50 times more expensive than a bottle of mineral water in China. These bottles are shipped to India and North America as well but China remains its biggest market. In India, it starts from around CA$40 (Rs 1900 approx).
Reportedly, the company had started out as a joke when Lam and co-founder Troy Paquette filled a plastic bag with air and sold it on Ebay for less than 50 pence but the second bag was sold for $160. “That’s when we realised there is a market for this,” Lam was quoted saying.
However, as pollution rises in these countries, the challenge for the company is to keep up with the demand because ‘it’s very labour sensitive’. “We may have bit off more than we can chew,” said Lam.