- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Chinese entrepreneur looks to make bank by selling cans of fresh air in response to debilitating smog that is blanketing the streets of Beijing.

Chen Guangbiao, valued at $740 million, is selling fresh air in soft-drink cans — and they’re available in different flavors. The cans, priced at 5 yuan each (80 cents U.S.), come in flavors such as Pristine Tibet, Post-industrial Taiwan and Revolutionary Yan’an, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The smog has been so thick in recent days that Beijing has been forced to shut factories, curtail fleets of government cars and cancel airline flights, The Associated Press reports.

Reuters reports the capital’s air pollution hit a record earlier this month, with pollution 30 to 45 times above recommended safety levels.

Mr. Chen has been selling his canned air since September 2012.

“If there’s a serious effort made to sell [these products], a sale of more than a hundred million in the first year should not be a problem,” he told reporters.

The millionaire isn’t just looking to make a few bucks. His gimmick is aimed at drawing attention to the region’s pollution problem.

“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,” Mr. Chen told the Herald.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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