Originally published April 18 2014
Pollution so bad in China that residents flock to to inhale mountain air from bags
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Air pollution is not just unsightly or inconvenient; it can be lethal. As a matter of fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) has reported that 7 million deaths are attributed to air pollution annually, with 40% of those coming from China. Of course, air pollution exists to lesser degrees here too. But at least we don't have to resort to buying canned mountain air that's promoted in China.
You have a right to be skittish about buying foods or supplements from China. The heavy metal air pollution from China's recent industrial efforts to catch up to already industrialized nations throughout the world have produced heavy metal residues that not only pollute the air; the soil has also captured its share of mercury and cadmium.
Japan recently officially complained about high mercury levels on Mt. Fuji that they claimed had arrived via trade winds blowing eastward through China (http://www.naturalnews.com).
In China, it's not just outdoor air that's polluted. Many impoverished non-urban dwellers use coal-burning stoves for cooking and heating (http://www.naturalnews.com).
Thus their indoor air is as polluted as or worse than outdoor air, and it's constant. At least in outdoor areas there are some days that pollution is less intense.
Bags or cans of mountain air and face masksChina's Henan Province is located in east central China with a population of over 95.5 million after a relatively recent population explosion. Zhengzhou is Henan's capital city, and it's among the top ten polluted cities in the Henan Province.
Zhengzhou residents were treated to freely whiffing mountain air from nearby Laojun Mountain via air bags provided by a Henan travel agency. The purpose of this air bag publicity stunt was to attract tourists' attention toward visiting resorts at Laojun Mountain, 120 miles from the city.
Zhengzhou residents lined up to get a whiff of mountain air by breathing from the air bags with airline-type hoses and oxygen masks attached.
But this concept was started in 2012 in China when tycoon entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao began selling cans of fresh air from Jinggang Mountain in Jiangxi Province, some ethnic minority areas and Taiwan. Each sold for 5 to 6 yuan each, around 90 cents in U.S. dollars. Although Chen is a high-rolling independent entrepreneur, his motive was to draw attention to the problems of air pollution in China.
Chen confirmed his philanthropic motive by pledging to contribute the earned proceeds to the Chinese military to defend the Diaoyu Islands. "One only has to open the can, directly 'drink' it or put the nose close to the can to breath deeply," said Chen. Canned air products were usually purchased by curiosity seekers and environmentalists.
Not all Chinese were impressed. Some questioned where the air was really from, since there was no way to confirm its source other than taking Chen's word. Others said they'd rather take a walk in the countryside. But at less than a dollar per can, buying one out of curiosity to benefit a philanthropic cause seems like no big deal.
Other than countryside walks, visiting mountain resorts or just buying canned air, many Chinese wind up wearing masks on bad pollution days, which are usually sufficiently announced. Dr. Richard Saint Cyr of Beijing United Family Healthcare says that most masks are ineffective. If one's glasses fog up while wearing a mask, it leaks too much.
Unattractive masks with an N95 rating filter out 95% of airborne particulates. He recommends wearing the nicer-looking mask over N95-rated masks or portable respirators for the fashion-conscious.
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