Chinese businessman Mr. Liang lives in Beijing, where the air is just horrible. After spending a business trip in the south of France, he came back with a small item to share his pure air experience: A small sealed glass jar of clean Provence mountain air. The result of the jar was 5,250 yuan ($845 at today’s exchange rate) when he auctioned it in front of a group of Chinese artists.
“Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar,” Liang said in an interview. “This is my way to question China’s foul air and express my dissatisfaction.”
Things have gotten so bad that even the authorities fold their hands anymore. Pollution is now one of the top causes of social unrest in China, and even Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said that it is a “major problem” and he wants the government to “declare war’’ on smog by removing high-emission cars from the road and closing coal-fired furnaces.
Pollution is ‘‘nature’s red-light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development,’’ Li said at the start of the year’s National People’s Congress in Beijing. ‘‘Fostering a sound ecological environment is vital for people’s lives and the future of our nation.”
In fact, the World Health Organization has concluded that air pollution is now the world’s biggest environmental health risk with 7 million deaths per year. Clean air is not only a money business, but also our health business that definitely deserves our effort and attention.