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Zhengzhou, China is one of the highest polluted cities in the world. In fact, the air pollution density has earned them the position of number 10 on the Greenpeace list of cities with the most pollution in 2013. The rankings were built by using information from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Furthermore, the Air Quality Index (AQI) gave Zhengzhou 175 on the scale of “Good to Hazardous” levels of pollution. Their number falls within the “unhealthy” group, meaning that “everyone may begin to experience health effects, and members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”

The city has also surpassed the capital, Beijing by 102 points on the AQI, with Beijing at 55, which is considered to have “moderate” levels of pollution.

During the last week of March, China revealed a series of pictures featuring Chinese citizens inhaling fresh mountain air from sealed bags. These pictures were part of the campaign for fresh air, issued by Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve Development Company, a travel agency.

Though mainly a publicity stunt to bring people to the resort on the Loajun Mountain, in a city filled with smog and unhealthy air, it was a hit. Thousands of people lined up to take turns inhaling the fresh air from 20 bags, which traveled over 120 miles to the city. Each person was given a few minutes to breathe in the air.

It certainly made a statement about the city’s lack of breathable air, which the World Health Organization has deemed a health crisis.

One pregnant woman mentioned to a TV reporter that she “felt [her] baby move right when [she] breathed in” the fresh mountain air.

Khurram Zhang, the sales and marketing chief of the Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve, stated that in another promotion they gathered 2,000 cans of air from the mountain and distributed them to the public.

They were all given away after 20 minutes.

– Becka Felcon

Sources: CNN, PolicyMic, UPI, The Wall Street Journal
Photo: The Wall Street Journal