For people in China, where pollution is one of the worst in the world – one of life’s necessary components – oxygen – has become a luxury that has to be paid for.
As smog and pollution levels rise drastically, people are now actually being charged real money to breathe clean air. Not only are diners at an eatery being charged an “air-cleaning fee”, but capitalist hounds are also cashing in on the crisis by selling “bottled air”.
An official Xinhua news agency reports those eating in a restaurant in Zhangjiagang city, Jiangsu Province, were being charged one yuan (10p) each by staff to cover the cost of “purifying” the air they’d just breathed.
Though the charge is raising legal questions, customers have been pretty pissed off they’ve been charged for something they didn’t “opt in to”. However, some have argued they’d rather splurge a little and enjoy clean air while they eat.
Beijing was issued a red alert earlier this month for existing with hazardous pollution levels. The city is covered in thick smog, reducing visibility levels drastically all around.
Meanwhile a Canadian company have been making hard cash from people’s misfortunes by selling bottles of clean, fresh mountain air. Apparently people are buying it – for up to US$28 (£18.50).
Sales of the Vitality Air water are soaring, according to reports, as the company markets the air as “premium oxygen”. It’s understandable that citizens – especially those with children – would want to breathe fresh gasses.
It may be shocking to many that clean, breathable air is being treated as a luxury. But as the COP21 events in Paris continue, perhaps a proper solution is on its way and cleaner air into countries.