SciFi to SciFact: Cans of Fresh Air

Did Mel Brooks predict the future in SpaceBalls?  No, we don’t yet have a Winnebago that flies through space and the schwartz isn’t real, but one aspect of the universe may have come to life here on planet Earth.

Cans of fresh air.

Air pollution in China has been led one entrepreneur to begin selling cans of fresh air.

Chen Guanbigao says he’s not selling the cans of fresh air to make money, but as a social commentary on China’s declining environmental conditions.

“If we don’t start caring for the environment, then after 20 or 30 years our children and grandchildren might be wearing gas masks and carry oxygen tanks,” Chen tells Fairfax Media.

Chen sells the cans for about five yuan each (80 cents), according to the Brisbane Times, and the cans come in a variety of “flavors,” including “Taiwan,” “Tibet,” and “Yan’an,” early home of the country’s Communist Party.

The American Embassy in Beijing issued its second recent alert this week about the level of airborne PM 2.5 particulates, which it says can lead to a number of health issues, particularly for children and the elderly.
As recently as Friday morning Beijing time, the embassy measured a “very unhealthy” warning on its site.

The World Health Organization’s standard is levels of around 25. The levels in Beijing’s atmosphere according to the U.S. Embassy peaked at 205 on Friday morning, nearly 10 times that standard limit.

Chen is known in China for other high-profile acts to promote environmental causes. He recently gave away 5,000 bicycles to encourage people to pursue alternatives to driving cars.

“People say I am high profile or love to stage a show, but I don’t think those who seek ‘stability’ and a low profile can do much for social progress,” he said.


  1. Big BS in PA says

    My stepdaughter used to go to the Pepsi bottle in Tuscon and buy the cans that did not get filled but did get sealed. He then put a label on them and sold them. He called it Air-izona

  2. says

    Pet Rocks. Digital Pets. Cans of Air. At least he’s up front about it being a gimmick to draw attention to a cause, not claiming that people will have to buy cans of air to survive.

    Crap. and now I’m thinking about how we could sell something like that… like tanks of air verified to be free of the airborne virus that causes zombie mutations, perfect for keeping your underground bunker clear of external contaminants for a while (c’mon, y’all saw “Night of the Comet”, right?)

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