Selling fresh air by the bottle in polluted cities sounds too bizarre to be true – but believe it or not, it is happening.
Increased incidents of smog has given rise to a strange new industry called air farming. ABC.net.au reports that while it sounds gimmicky, people in such cities as Shanghai and Beijing are happy to pay for that jar of fresh country air. The news site claims that citizens of such cities where air quality is a serious problem are paying as much as US$160 for a jar of air.
British resident Leo De Watts has seen the opportunity in this new market and is now providing bottles of air from such well-known clean air areas as Somerset, Yorkshire and Wales in the UK. He has given each region’s air its own unique description with the Welsh variety said to have a “morning dew feel to it” whereas Somerset air has “unblemished qualities”.
In the few weeks that his business is up and running, the 27-year-old entrepreneur has already sold 180 bottles. He said that demand is so keen that it’s far outstripping what he can supply. His customers often make it clear what sort of air they are looking for. According to Mr De Watts, it means that sometimes he is on mountain tops looking for air while other times he is down in the valleys. How the product is cultivated by the air farmers is simple – they put their bottles or jars in special nets and run around their pastures to collect the air.
Mr De Watts’ company is not the first to put a price on the air that we breathe as in 2015 a Canadian start-up started selling plastic bags of air as a joke on eBay. However, they soon saw there was a serious market for what they were offering when it sold for over $200. So began the company’s work of bottling Rocky Mountain air and selling it to China at over thirty times the price of bottled water.