THE AIR QUALITY IN BEIJING IS absolutely terrible. Like, unprecedented terrible. Last week, officials announced for the first time that the smog in China’s capital city had reached “Red Alert” levels, which was so serious that it meant calling for an immediate cessation of all construction work, the closing of all of the city’s schools, and serious limitations on vehicle usage.
So how have Beijing residents responded? By buying fresh air from Canada in canisters.
The canisters come from a business venture called Vitality Air, which was created by two Canadians in 2014 when they jokingly put a Ziploc bag full of fresh mountain air up on eBay. The second time they did it, the bag sold for $168 dollars, and as a result, the two decided to go into business.
— Vitality Air (@vitalityair) December 11, 2015
The company didn’t have much interest at first, but last week, during the smog alert, they sold out their first shipment of 500 canisters, each of which contains about 7.7 liters or 150 seconds when breathed in through a mask. 4,000 more canisters are en route to China as well.
The canisters, which contain fresh air from Banff National Park, cost anywhere from $16 to $46, depending on where you get them.