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You know that Dr. Seuss book The Lorax? It might be happening now.
In the book (later adapted into a movie), a forest creature named Lorax “speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” When a small company starts cutting down Truffula trees to make a Thneed (an invention that “everyone needs”), the company grows into a conglomerate, cutting down all the Truffulas. In the 2012 adaptation, the mayor of Thneedville sells bottles of oxygen because of the lack of trees.
It sounds funny if you think about it, but not so when you realize it’s happening now.
A Canadian start-up called Vitality Air is bottling fresh air from the Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains, but curiously, it started out as a joke. The joke is on them because apparently, it is in demand in China due to rising pollution levels.
According to Vitality Air co-founder Moses Lam in an interview with Telegraph, “Our first shipment of 500 bottles of fresh air were sold in four days.”
A second shipment of 4,000 bottles are already on its way, but most have already been sold.
Vitality Air is sold in 7.7 liter cans, which are being sold for 100 yuan (roughly P729.72), 50 times more expensive than mineral water in China.
The pollution in China is a result of rapid industrialization beginning in the 1970s. In Beijing alone, pollution levels are 20 times the limit recommended by the World Health Organization
The University of California at Berkeley reported that 1.6 million Chinese people die each year due to heart, lung, and stroke problems because of the polluted air.
Vitality Air started as a joke when Lam and co-founder Troy Paquette sold a plastic bag for 50 pence (roughly P35.71) on eBay.
According to Harrison Wang, the company’s representative from China, customers are usually rich Chinese women who buy for their families or give away as gifts. However, it is also becoming popular in senior homes and exclusive night clubs.
On Vitality Air’s sudden popularity, Lam says, “We may have bit off more than we can chew.”
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