4,000 Bottles of Fresh Air Shipped to China, Company Struggling to Keep Up With Demand
Reminiscent of a scene out of Space Balls (Perri-Air anyone?), a Canadian startup, Vitality Air, is selling bottled air from the Rocky Mountains. It may have started out as a joke, but citizens of smog-choked cities in eastern China are buying it up.
@vitalityair sells fresh Banff air to smog sufferers. No, this isn't Spaceballs. https://t.co/SF9PMki1sw https://t.co/HeIVYqkLeB— CBC-The Current (@CBC-The Current)1449794102.0
"A gag gift, that's how it started off, but you know what? There's actually a lot of demand for this in … highly polluted countries," co-founder Moses Lam told the Canadian National Post. The company was founded by Lam and Troy Paquette more than a year ago, but only began selling in China less than two months ago.
The idea came when Lam sold a bag of fresh Canadian air on eBay for 99 cents. That's steep enough for something that most people have always considered free. But when a second bag bidded up to $168 “we thought ‘hey, we might have a market for this,'” Lam said.
And people can't get enough of it. “Our first shipment of 500 bottles of fresh air were sold in four days,” Lam told The Telegraph. Flash forward to earlier this week: the company shipped 4,000 more bottles to China, most of which has been bought.
The company claims that its products can help with "hangovers, alertness and working out" while also being "your solution to pollution." The startup is struggling to keep up with demand. Each bottle is filled by hand in the Rockies. They "fill massive cans through clean compression," the company explains on its website, then they bottle it individually at their facility in Edmonton. And they even perform a "comprehensive check" after each can is filled for safety before shipping it out.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Just how much does a bottle of Rocky Mountain air cost you? A 7.7 liter bottle of Lake Louise or Banff air will run you about $32 Canadian dollars ($23 U.S. dollars). The bottle contains "fresh clean air," which contains 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and a small amount of other gases. If you're in search of "pure premium oxygen," Vitality Air has you covered, as well. Their "pure oxygen" bottle contains 97 percent oxygen and a small amount of other gases. The startup claims it "provides upwards of 200 inhalations" for $28.99 Canadian dollars ($21 U.S. dollars).
For China’s “upper middle class who crave a better quality of life,” Vitality Air gives them the opportunity to “inject a bit of fresh air into their lives,” Harrison Wang with TAK International, Vitality’s Edmonton-based Chinese distributor, told the National Post.
This is not the first time a company has tried selling bottled air, believe it or not, nor is it the first time that Chinese citizens were eager to buy bottled air. In 2013, one Chinese businessman, Chen Guangbiao, sold cans of air reportedly taken from less industrialized regions of China for five yuan ($0.77 U.S. dollars).
4,000 People a day are dying from Smog in China https://t.co/NluZpMJUAj.. https://t.co/7hkGcSRyOl|nN— Naomi Nichols (@Naomi Nichols)1449678324.0
China's air pollution problem is nothing new. The country has been grappling with how to clean up its air for years. A documentary highlighting China's deadly air pollution went viral earlier this year with more than 200 million views in the first five days. And a study published in August found that the air in Beijing is so polluted that breathing it does as much damage to the lungs as smoking 40 cigarettes a day, and 4,000 people are dying every day from smog in China citing coal-burning as the likely principal cause.
China declared red alert for #smog. Need a breath of fresh air? Check out our products! #ChinaSmog https://t.co/9wPWH090Ol— Vitality Air (@Vitality Air)1449552006.0
The issue has received widespread attention again as Beijing issued its first "red alert" for smog last week amid criticism that the government is not doing enough to address the problem. Pollution levels topped off at 634 micrograms per cubic meter in some areas. That's more than 25 times the level recommended by the World Health Organization, which is 25 micrograms per cubic meter. Beijing just issued its second warning Friday as the pollution index is forecasted to exceed 500 micrograms in Beijing and parts of Hebei province over the weekend.
Anyone need a last minute Christmas gift?
Looking for that unique #stockingstuffer ? We have what you need! https://t.co/LINQ26kle2— Vitality Air (@Vitality Air)1449849651.0
To see the devastating effect pollution has on our bodies, check out this startling video from DNews:
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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