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You Know China’s Smog Issue Is Serious When People Line Up to Sample Free Bags of Fresh Air

It’s no secret that China is one of the most polluted countries in the world. But things have gotten so bad that a few cities actually have free ‘fresh air stations’, stocked with individual bags of fresh air that users can breathe out of. These stations have become so popular that they are crowded with visitors lining up for just a whiff of fresh, clean air.

One of the stations is located in Zhengzhou city in central China’s Henan province. According to sources, Zhengzhou is one of the most polluted cities in China, with an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 158. In comparison, Bakersfield (the most polluted city of America) has an AQI of just 45. The air at Zhengzhou’s station is sourced from Laojun Mountain, a scenic spot in Luanchuan County consisting of 80 percent green land. Photographs show large crowds of locals waiting patiently at the station. When it’s their turn, a uniformed air hostess hooks them up to oxygen masks.

Feng Lin, a 75-year-old user, 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.”

“I felt my baby move right when I breathed in,” said one pregnant woman. “I would love to walk in the mountain’s forests after my child is born.”

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The decision to set up the stations came after only three of China’s 74 cities managed to meet official air quality standards. The dangerously high smog levels in the country have been described as an environmental crisis by the World Health Organization. Since then, the Ministry of Environmental Protection in China is trying hard to address the issue. Before the free air stations were set up, costumed mascots called ‘Oxygen Babies’ gave away free bottles filled with air from the Tianmu Mountain in Zhejiang province. Oxygen Babies have been touring the country promoting the new products which are currently free of charge.

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According to product manager Long Peng, “The air in Tianmu Mountain is so fresh that negative oxygen ion is 3,300 per cubic centimeter, much higher than the normal level. The problem is that there are not enough negative ions in daily life. All the modern things have generated an overabundance of positive ions that makes us feel tired, depressed and irritable.” In Laojun, for instance, the average negative oxygen ion is between 30,000 and 50,000 per cubic meter. China’s fresh air crisis was also acknowledged by the country’s president, Xi Jinping, who suggested selling cans in the future. “Air quality is now a deciding factor in people’s perception of happiness,” he declared.

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The concept of selling fresh air cans is not a new one – the idea is said to have originated from tourist shops near Mount Fuji in Japan, where cans of fresh air were sold with great success. Last year, Chinese recycling entrepreneur and philanthropist Chen Guangbiao claimed to have sold 10 million cans in just 10 days. The demand for these fresh air products is extremely high, given the ridiculously high levels of pollution. In fact, China’s biggest online travel agency has collaborated with insurance firms to provide better air quality to tourists whose trips are not entirely enjoyable due to high pollution.

Photos: Chinanews via Cri online

Source: Daily Mail

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