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China's Smog Problem Is So Bad, One Town Brought In Fresh Mountain Air For Residents To Breathe

By Sean Breslin
Published: April 8, 2014

This picture taken on March 29, 2014 shows residents breathing 'mountain air' from blue bags in a square in Zhengzhou in central China's Henan province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

One of China's most polluted cities gave its residents a fresh breath of air in a publicity stunt gone right.

Bags of fresh mountain air were sent to Zhengzhou, the capital city of China's Henan province, to give smog-choked locals a few minutes of clean breathing, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The air came from 120 miles away, originating in the higher elevations of Laojun Mountain.

(MORE: Hole Found in Layer of Our Atmosphere)

The promotion originated after China's Ministry of Environmental Protection announced only three of China's 74 cities met official air quality standards, the Daily Mail reported. The gimmick was simply an attempt to show residents what they're missing when the dirty air deprives them of oxygen.

“I felt my baby move right when I breathed in,” one woman told the China News Service, according to the WSJ report.

This isn't the first time Chinese residents were marketed fresh air in times of disgusting pollution. Last year, NPR said entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao sold cans of fresh air from assorted smog-free regions, hoping his idea would leave a positive legacy on a polluted nation.

But it was yet again necessary in Zhengzhou as pollution levels remain high for the city of more than 8.5 million. According to WSJ, Zhengzhou's Air Quality Index on Monday was 158, while the most polluted city in the United States – Bakersfield, Calif. – recorded an AQI of 45.

MORE: Smog Hits Dangerous Levels in Beijing

This picture taken on March 26, 2014 shows residents talking to each other on a bridge in Beijing as environmental authorities issued a 'yellow' smog alert for the capital. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)


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