Monday, August 2, 2021

“As Free As Air” : This Idiom is Off The Market!

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71 percent of the earth is covered in water. Then, why do we have to pay for water when it is found in such abundance on our planet?

Out of that total 71 percent,  69 percent is salty water in the seas, while only the remaining 2 percent is fresh water from lakes and glaciers.

Now that makes it clear why water is so precious.

But at least, the air we breathe is free, Right? Nah. It is not free anymore, at least not in China!

Earth is enveloped with air. Pure air consists of 78 percent Nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and 2 percent of CO2, and some other gases. If the amount of any of these gases goes beyond this ratio, then the air becomes impure.

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 More people, more vehicles, more  pollution

China, the country with the largest population in the world. Beijing, its capital city where the view of a clear blue sky is a rarity, the air there is so polluted with the hazardous elements that a red alert was issued for the first time in December. People were asked to stay inside their homes; schools were shut, construction works were stopped.

However, a Canadian company is cashing in on this crisis. They are selling bottled mountain fresh air on Taobao (similar to eBay for online shopping), and 500 bottles have already been sold. Yes! You read it correctly the first time itself; they are selling ‘bottled air’ from Banff and Lake Louise, Canada, by the name of Vitality Air. It’s their solution to pollution.

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The tagline of Vitality Air goes like this “Enhancing Vitality, one breath at a time.”

The company started the marketing of the product less than two months ago in China. The Vitality Air’s China representative, Harrison Wang, has told Mail Online that the minute the bottles went on sale on Taobao, they “sold out almost instantly.” Wang also says that this is a philanthropic step because they are trying to inject a little bit of fresh air back into the lives of the people of China.

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Well, the price of that fresh breath is not very low. The cost of a single bottle of the company’s ‘premium oxygen’ is $27.99 ($18.50), while a bottle of its Banff air costs up to $23.99 ($15.85). This premium air will help people with hangovers, alertness, and working out.

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Another restaurant in China is reportedly charging more after installing an air filtering machine in their restaurant. They are incorporating the operational charges within the food bills. (All charges included: food, water, and air. Nothing for free!)

Imagine all this happening here in India. The ‘pados wali aunty’ would come asking for a bowl of fresh air, vendors calling “hawa lelo, taazi hawa” and ads on television “bas do bottle zindagi ki.”

Scary, right?

We pray that such a day never comes.

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