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article imageFresh Australian air on sale in pollution-stricken China

By Lucky Malicay     May 4, 2016 in Health
Two entrepreneurs in Australia have found a way to help those stricken by the severe air pollution sweeping across the developing countries in Asia, especially China, by selling fresh Australian air.
Theo Ruygrok and John Dickinson came up with the idea last year following the former’s visit to China where pollution in Beijing and other urban areas in the country has reached terrible levels.
Setting up the Green and Clean Air company, Ruygrok and Dickinson started collecting fresh air from different locations in Australia, including Gold Coast, Bondi Beach, Blue Mountains and Tasmania.
The company puts air in cans and exports it to China and other Asian countries at less than 20 Australian dollars each.
"We live here, and we love it. You don’t have to travel too far in the world to realize we live in paradise here," Dickinson told Mashable Australia.
Dickinson said he just wanted to share a piece of the Australian paradise with those not as lucky.
"What we are really trying to accomplish is: you know when you go to a pristine location early in the morning and you take that deep, first breath of air and you get that really alive and invigorating feeling? That is what we think we have captured and that is the excitement of it," he added.
Aside from Australia, Canada is also exporting its fresh air to China. A company based in Alberta has been selling bottled Canadian fresh mountain air in Beijing for over a year already.
In December, sales of Vitality Air to China hiked dramatically following the issuance by the Beijing government of a red alert amid the severe air pollution problem.
“Consumer spending power is like something we have never seen before and we are pleasantly surprised,” said Harrison Wang, Vitality Air's China representative, in an interview with MailOnline.
“We know the demand is big so we are being reactive instead of proactive, and doing our best to accommodate for the market needs and demands.”
As demand continues to increase, some Chinese entrepreneurs have also started to venture into this kind of business. In March, hundreds of cans of fresh air from the southern Hainan province were sold at the 2016 Hainan International Tourism Trade Expo.
The cans of fresh air, at $4.50 each, were a hit among visitors from China’s smoggy cities during the product’s introduction at the expo.
"The first batch of 300 cans were all sold out, and it will start selling to the public in two months," said Liu Jin, deputy chief of Hainan’s Changjiang county.
Air pollution kills at least 4,000 people a day in China’s urban areas. Citing coal-burning as the main cause, a Berkeley Earth study revealed that deaths from asthma, strokes, lung cancer and heart attacks reached 1.7 million a year, or 17 percent of the national mortality level.
As part of the air pollution control program, the World Bank approved in March a $500 million loan to China to support measures reducing carbon emissions and air pollutants through the use of clean energy.
“Energy efficiency and clean energy are ‘win-win’ options to mitigate both air pollution and climate change simultaneously,” said Wang Xiaodong, World Bank’s senior energy specialist.
“This program will contribute to achieving the results of the State Council’s Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, and help mainstream green financing in banks.”
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