Monday 31 March 2014

China's pollution

China's latest fad is breath of fresh air: Oxygen stations set up across the country so city dwellers can escape smog
  • Fresh air stations have been set up in some of China's most polluted cities
  • Visitors are given oxygen masks so they can breathe fresh country air
  • Air is sourced from the beautiful Laojun Mountains in Luanchuan county
  • Canned and bottled air has already proved to be a big success
  • Comes after just three of 74 Chinese cities met official air quality standards
  • Pollution levels in China have been described as an 'environmental crisis'

30 March, 2014

It is one of the most polluted countries on earth.

So it may come as little surprise that the latest fad in China is literally offering its city dwellers a breath of fresh air.

Numerous fresh air stations have been set up in some of China's most polluted cities.

The stations are stocked with individual air bags which provide users with pollution-free fresh air.

And they have proved to be a big hit with one air station in Zhengzhou city in central China's Henan province which was inundated with visitors.

Uniformed air hostesses hook up visitors to oxygen masks so they can breathe air sourced from the Laojun Mountain scenic spot in Luanchuan county, which is 80% green land, in Henan province.

There was no shortage of takers as locals flooded to enjoy the free fresh air.
User Feng Lin, 75, said: 'The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.'

It comes after just three of China's 74 cities met the official air quality standards, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection in China

Growing crisis: An 'air station hostess' holds up an oxygen bag for a little girl as the World Health Organisation described China's smog levels as an environmental crisis

The air bags are China's latest attempt to address its dangerous smog levels - described as an environmental crisis by the World Health Organisation - after canned and bottled air already hit the streets.

The air stations follow on from last week when costumed characters called Oxygen Babies were giving away air bottles filled with air collected at the Tianmu mountain scenic spot in the county of Linan in Zhejiang province.

The Oxygen babies have been touring the country, promoting the new products, which are currently free of charge, and were pictured in the city of Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province.

Product manager Long Peng said: 'The air in Tianmu mountain is so fresh that negative oxygen ion is 3,300 per cubic centimetre, much higher than the normal level. The problem is that there are not enough negative ions in daily life. All the modern things we have generate an over abundance of positive ions that make us feel tired, depressed and irritable.'

Bottled air is proving to be a big hit as new figures show that just three of the 74 cities in China meet official air quality standards

But in Laojun, where the air bags are being distributed, park managers say the average negative oxygen ion is 30,000 per cubic centimetre. In some places on Laojun Mountain, the average negative oxygen ion can be 50,000 per cubic centimeter.

The inspiration for the idea reportedly came from tourist shops near Mount Fuji in Japan, where cans of fresh air have been a huge success.

During a National Congress meeting, China's president, Xi Jinping, suggested Guizhou 'sell cans in the future', adding: 'Air quality is now a deciding factor in people's perception of happiness.'

However, it's not the first time bottle air has gone on sale in China.

Last year, Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, claimed to have sold 10 million cans in just 10 days, as pollution levels reached a record high.

The move comes after the country's biggest online travel agency and insurance firms joined forces to offer policies to tourists whose trips are blighted in being visually impaired by the pollution.

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