Would you pay $100 for a whiff of Australian Blue Mountain air?
In some of the world’s most polluted cities, people apparently will: Sales of bottled air from fresh-smelling places are taking off.
The Australian company of Green and Clean is hawking six-packs of air bottled in places like Bondi Beach in Sydney or the eucalyptus-covered Blue Mountains. It plans to ship about 40,000 containers a month to China starting in December, and then expand to India, Malaysia, Chile and the Middle East.
A Canadian firm promises “a shot of nature” in its containers of Rocky Mountain breeze as an antidote to smoggy skies.
The British company of Aethaer sells glass pint-sized jars of Welsh air for $97 in China, to give you that “morning dew feel”. The company’s 28-year-old founder, Leo De Watts, says “Clean air is actually a very rare commodity.”
The market for all kinds of pollution-fighting tools is booming in many smog-choked cities in China, India and Southeast Asia. These include air purifiers attached to bicycles and outdoor towers that suck up smog.
Bottled air can hardly replace the local atmosphere since one person would require at least eight to 10 bottles a minute to breathe. But residents in smoggy places are snapping up the stuff anyway.
Some people buy bottled air to inhale themselves, and say it reinvigorates them on days when the air is really bad. Others purchase as a gag gift.
Pan Li, 37, who works at a technology startup in Beijing and buys about six bottles a month, says, “It might just be my imagination, but it makes my lungs feel clean. I’m willing to try anything.”