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如何对付雾霾?吸一口瓶装空气!

The entrepreneurs making money out of thin air
如何对付雾霾?吸一口瓶装空气!

Whether enveloped by the thick smog from factories or choked with invisible poisons from vehicle exhausts, many cities around the world are losing the battle against air pollution.

世界各地的许多城市都在对抗空气污染的斗争中败北,有的被工厂排放的厚重浓烟笼罩,有的被汽车尾气的隐形毒气渗透。

Somewhere between 5.5 million and seven million people die from breathing in the smoke, harmful gases and soot being pumped into the atmosphere. In China and India, the toll of this toxic air is particularly alarming, causing three million deaths in those two countries alone.

约有550万至700万人死于空气中的烟雾、有害气体和烟尘。在中国和印度,空气污染程度尤其严重,仅这两个国家大约就有300万人因此死亡。

This is leading some out-of-breath citizens to go to extraordinary lengths: they are turning to bottled air.

一些喘不过气来的城市居民开始寻找各种奇葩方案:他们甚至转向瓶装空气。

A growing number of companies are compressing and bottling fresh countryside air and selling it online. It sounds like a joke (and it has been in the past) but the idea is to raise awareness and provide people with fresh air – at a price.

越来越多的公司开始在网上出售压缩过的瓶装新鲜空气。这听起来像个笑话(以前也的确是个笑话),但这种想法的目的是提高人们的环保意识,并为他们提供新鲜空气——但要支付一定的费用。

One such company is Vitality, based in Edmonton, Alberta, which collects air from the Canadian Rockies and compresses it into containers.

其中一家公司名叫Vitality,总部位于加拿大阿尔伯塔省埃德蒙顿市,他们专门从加拿大落基山脉收集空气,然后压缩到容器里对外出售。

A single eight-litre bottle of compressed Canadian air – which comes with a specially designed spray cap and mask – holds around 160 breaths and costs C$32 ($24) per bottle.

一瓶8升的加拿大压缩空气——配有特制的喷射盖和面具——大约可以呼吸160次,每瓶售价32加元(24美元)。

Chief executive Moses Lam started the business to sell the canned air as joke gifts, but demand for the product took off in a surprising way. He says China, India and South Korea have become the company’s principal markets. “Our target markets are places choked with polluted air, and where many people actually pass away prematurely due to pollution.

该公司首席执行官莫塞斯·拉姆(Moses Lam)创办这家企业时,是想把罐装空气作为一种开玩笑的礼物来销售,但实际需求的旺盛程度却出人意料。他表示,中国、印度和韩国成为该公司的主要市场。"我们目标市场的空气污染都很严重,那里有很多人因为污染而早逝。"

“Our air is simply an experience that many within China and India will not get to experience,” says Lam.

"对于很多生活在中国和印度的人来说,我们的空气确实是十分难得的体验。"拉姆说。

He now sells 10,000 bottles a month in China and hopes to grow that number to 40,000. They have just started operating in India, where they hope to sell 10,000 bottles a month.

他目前每天在中国出售10,000瓶空气,今后有望增加到40,000瓶。他刚刚在印度启动业务,希望每月能在那里卖出10,000瓶空气。

While Lam says “lots of people purchase our product to use as a gift,” he thinks he’s onto something. “For us, it is definitely a legitimate business. We will be the next bottled water.”

虽然拉姆说,"很多人购买我们的产品只是把它当做一份礼物,"但他认为自己找对了方向。"对我们来说,这绝对是一项正当业务。它未来的发展可以参考现在的瓶装水。"

While some of the bottled air trend seems to be tongue-in-cheek, there appears to be a growing market for those looking to sample the air for themselves too.

虽然有的瓶装空气潮流带有开玩笑的成分,但对于那些想要为自己收集这些空气的人来说,这似乎的确是个不断壮大的市场。

Vitality is not alone. British firm Aethaer collects air from the UK countryside and sells it for £80 ($103) a jar.

Vitality并非个例。英国公司Aethaer也在英国的乡村收集空气,然后以每罐80英镑(103美元)的价格出售。

Aethaer founder Leo De Watts began the practice as an “enviro-political artwork”, coining the playful term “air farming” for the method used to capture the air.

Aethaer创始人里奥·德·瓦茨(Leo De Watts)将这种活动称作"环境政治艺术",他还发明了"空气农业"(air farming)这个词,用来描述捕捉空气的方法。

Concerned that the scale of global air pollution was hard to comprehend through statistics, he started Aethaer to raise awareness about the issue. The money from the jars of air is reinvested to create cheaper breathing masks.

由于担心难以通过统计数据了解全球的空气污染现状,他创办了Aethaer来提高人们对这个问题的重视。他将利用由此获得的收入来开发更加廉价的口罩。

“[Jars of air] can either be bought for aesthetic reasons or to be inhaled,” says De Watts. “We expect many people [are] buying them as decorative pieces, investments, or gifts.”

"装了空气的罐子可以拿来当装饰品,也可以真的用来呼吸。"德·瓦茨说,"我们希望有很多人把它们当做装饰品、投资品或者礼物来购买。"

He has drawn scorn for selling air, saying critics “feel as though I am a con-artist, cheating people out of their hard earned cash”.

他这种出售空气的做法引发了一些人的嘲笑,批评人士"觉得我是个骗子,骗取人们辛辛苦苦赚来的钱。"

De Watts says the company’s primary market is China, and he doesn’t disclose sales figures. But, he says, “at the end of the day, we are a company selling fresh air to people who can afford it, and anti-pollution facemasks to those who can’t.”

德·瓦茨表示,该公司的主要市场在中国,但他并未披露具体销售数据。不过,他还是表示,"归根结底,我们是一家向买得起的人出售新鲜空气,向买不起的人出售防污染口罩的公司。"

Unsurprisingly, scientists say there is no evidence or research which shows the upside of bottled air. “This is unlikely to provide any health benefits. Clean air bottles is a gimmick, a waste of money,” says Shawn Aaron, director of the Canadian Respiratory Research Network.

意料之中的是,科学家认为,没有证据或研究能够证明瓶装空气的好处。"这不太可能给健康带来任何好处。清新的瓶装空气就是一个噱头,完全是在浪费钱。"加拿大呼吸系统研究网络主任肖恩·阿隆(Shawn Aaron)说。

Yet canned or bottled air is not the only way companies are cashing in on pollution. Swedish entrepreneurs Fredrik Kempe and Alexander Hjertström stumbled upon one idea during a trip to Ahmedabad, India.

然而,罐装和瓶装空气并非企业通过污染赚钱的唯一手段。瑞典创业者弗雷德里克·肯佩(Fredrik Kempe)和亚历山大·杰斯特罗姆(Alexander Hjertström)在前往印度艾哈迈达巴德旅行时意外萌生了一个想法。

Hjertström’s long-dormant asthma came back during their trip and their subsequent quest for a quality pollution mask in India led them to start selling their own.

杰斯特罗姆的哮喘病在那次旅行中复发了,所以不得不在印度四处寻找高品质的防污染口罩,他们也因此开始自己销售这样的产品。

“We started to research the market and to our surprise most of the masks we found were basic and far from perfect in their construction,” says Kempe. “Designs were primitive, reminiscent of the masks worn by dentists or miners – nothing you would want to wear every day.”

"我们开始做市场调研,令人意外的是,我们发现多数口罩都很简单,结构上远称不上完美。"肯佩说,"设计都很原始,让人想起牙医或矿工佩戴的口罩——你肯定不想在日常生活中佩戴这样的口罩。"

The pair launched a company called Airinum, which sells colourful and camouflaged masks in a range of styles for between $66 and $75 apiece. The masks use three separate filter layers that help to keep out the fine particles of pollution found in car exhausts and smog.

他们二人创办了一家名叫Airinum的公司,专门出售色彩各异的时尚口罩,每个售价在66至75美元之间。这些口罩使用三层滤芯,可以隔绝汽车尾气和雾霾带来的污染微粒。

Kempe says wearing one of his masks is better for your health than not wearing one. But he is careful not to take the claims too far. The masks, for example, offer little barrier against pollutant gases, such as nitrogen dioxide, that are emitted from car exhausts.

肯佩表示,这样的口罩对健康更有好处。但他在阐述这一观点时也用字措辞非常谨慎。例如,这些口罩很难阻挡汽车尾气中的二氧化氮等污染气体。

The demand for designer masks is growing. Start-ups like Idealist Innovations in China, Vogmask in the US, and Freka in the UK, offer trendy pollution masks for between $33 and $100.

目前来看,设计师口罩的市场需求正在不断增加。中国 Idealist Innovations、美国Vogmask和英国Freka这样的创业公司都以单价33至100美元的价格出售时尚口罩。
 

瑞典的Airinum公司试图把口罩重新定义成一种时尚配饰

There is some research to support wearing a well-designed facemask to help filter out pollutants, but, these are short-term studies looking at surrogate health outcomes like blood pressure and heart rate variability.

有研究表明,戴着设计精美的口罩有助于过滤污染物,但这都只是短期研究,关注的重点是血压和心率变异性等替代性健康结果。

“Masks would have to be used for very long periods to have a big impact on the chronic effects of air pollution,” says Benjamin Barratt, a senior lecturer in air quality science at King's College London, who remains suspicious of these designer products. “Some of the dramatic claims that are made do alarm me.”

"口罩必须长时间使用才能明显减轻空气污染带来的慢性危害。"伦敦大学国王学院空气质量科学高级讲师本杰明·巴拉特(Benjamin Barratt)说,他依然对这些设计师产品持怀疑态度。"其中一些偏激的说法令我感到警惕。"

Yet, as concerns about air pollution increase, the market for products that protect against its harmful effects is likely to grow. A good example of this is the Air Shield – a baby stroller that circulates filtered air to create a “clean microclimate” inside. It was invented by Dominykas Budinas, an automotive designer from Lithuania, and won second place in the Electrolux Design Lab in 2015.

然而,随着空气污染担忧的加剧,为了对抗这些负面影响而开发的产品可能会进一步发展。其中一个典型例子就是Air Shield——这是一种对空气进行循环过滤的婴儿车,可以为坐在里面的儿童创造"干净的微气候"。这款产品由立陶宛汽车设计师多明卡斯·布迪纳斯(Dominykas Budinas)发明,在2015年赢得过伊莱克斯设计大赛(Electrolux Design Lab)的第二名。

Budinas drew inspiration from the ventilation systems used in cars for the concept. While it has yet to attract commercial interest, he is eager for it not to be a luxury product.

布迪纳斯这个概念设计的灵感来自汽车的通风系统。虽然尚未吸引企业的关注,但他不希望将其打造成一款豪华产品。

“Air pollution in the world’s biggest cities has become a formidable problem,” says Budinas.

"大城市的空气污染已经成为一个严重问题。"布迪纳斯说。

Yet, for those who can afford it, there are ways of taking at least a few clean breaths.

然而,对于那些拥有足够财力的人来说,还是有很多方法可以吸上几口清新的空气。
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