Buy fresh breathing air in cans-The inevitable future crisis - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Buy fresh breathing air in cans-The inevitable future crisis

Few decades ago, the idea of paying for water didn’t exist. Water was a freely available natural resource and anyone would drink it readily from a stream, well or a tap. However the things have changed. Now not many risk drinking running water- everyone prefers to drink ‘purified’ water or water that comes in cans and bottles. Selling water has become a big business- water is sold in 20L cans, 1,2 and 5 litre bottles, small 200 ml pouches and so on.  There’s ‘packaged’ water and then there’s ‘mineral water’. There’re cheaper brands and there’re expensive ones, claiming to have sourced water from purest possible places, such as the Himalayas.
What next to sell after water? Naturally air.
Air purifiers are already doing brisk business in many cities in India. Given the pollution levels in our cities those who can afford are buying air purifiers for their homes thinking they and their family gets to breath a much more purified air and can live longer. But Air Purifiers work only inside homes- what about outside?

What next? Buying cans of fresh air like we’re using to buying bottles of drinking water. Sounds crazy? But it is true. The trend has started. A New Zealand based company is already selling compressed air in tin cans with a mask. Company claims the air is collected from some of the pristine regions of New Zealand.

I am sure there’re takers for this product. I found it for sale in Auckland airport. Inside city when I asked a few shopkeepers they didn't have a clue about it. Many cities around the world, such as Beijing, New Delhi etc are already having air quality at 'Hazardous' levels, forcing several desperate measures by administration to curb pollution and halt further deterioration of air quality. Will ever increasing urbanization, vehicle population and other factors, this isn't likely to get any better over time. A decade from now, situation may turn too grave to step out of home without proper protection/supply for fresh air.

Not sure how practical this 'carry your own pure air' proposition will be- water we only need a few litres per day while air is something we breathe non-stop. How many cans of fresh air will be needed per day? The company website says a 9 litre worth of air lasts about 180 one second inhalations. Company says 9 litres of air is compressed into a small can and weighs only 135 grams! One second inhalation is tough- a proper deep breath inhalation takes about 3 seconds- thus the 9 litre can would last just 60 inhalations.  If used non-stop, it won’t last 10 minutes (3 seconds inhalation, 3 second exhalation- or 10 full inhalations per minute implies 60 inhalations will be over in 6 minutes. If you heavily ration the usage, one tin can of fresh New Zealand air will last about 30 minutes. 

One bottle is being sold for about 30 NZD (INR 1500, USD 20). If you buy a pack of four, there's an offer - 4 for 99.9 NZD. Assuming you manage for about 30 mins of breathing per bottle, that is Rs 50 or NZD 1 every minute of survival. Now imagine the monthly expense.

Each bottle comes with a mask to fix on your face while inhaling. Doesn't look like it will be airtight- there is a risk of fresh air leaking out or you accidentally inhaling impure air that creeps in through the gap between mask and your face.
Thus at this moment the packaged pure air solution is not really practical for full day use. May be it can be used while crossing a busy/polluted street or such short term occasions where you desperately want to avoid breathing in poor quality air. By carrying 3-4 bottles of fresh air you can do a 2 hour trip max before returning to a location with pure air.

Would have been nice if someone sold a machine that can refill these cans with reasonably pure air- like we can pack some pure air from our home or garden nearby during early morning hours and then use it during the street while navigating a polluted street. Such a refill feature will also be eco-friendly- else assume number of used air tin cans that will be abandoned every day.

It is also not clear how we will know if the bottle is empty. It is too light to know by weight, air won't have any smell or colour, so it is hard to know if we've exhausted the breathing air from the can or not.

It is not clear if these compressed air cans are allowed through airport security. Most deodorants/perfumes which have similar characteristics of this canned air are not allowed in cabin baggage today. Would it explode inside a x-ray scanner designed to explode explosives? Just like how a structural damage to an aircraft’s fuselage can be deadly while in air, a small rupture to the tin can with highly compressed air could cause some damage if the can explodes, shoots n hits someone etc. But the marking on the bottle says this is IATA certified to be allowed as an item of personal hygiene on board aircrafts.
In any case, we all need to prepare for the tough times ahead- the earth is being exploited, polluted, damaged on every possible grounds- underwater, forest, rivers, ocean, air and so on. Despite knowing the future is bleak, everyone wants to have babies, want someone else to do something about the depleting nature as they enjoy their daily life. It will only get worse in years to come, while some smart companies/individuals will mint a fortune of money selling things like fresh air, which so far we had taken for granted.

Soon more companies will invest in selling air, they will run propaganda campaigns to scare people that air we breath has become unsafe and only way is to buy breathing air and then make everyone buy their bottled air.

Watch a short video here

What are your thoughts on this? Are you ready to pay for pure air? Do you think it is inevitable soon we’ll be scrambling for pure air and be forced to shell out money for air? How long you think it will take for packaged pure air sale to become as common as packaged drinking water now available in every store? Do share your thoughts. is the website of the company that manufactures these breathing air bottles


  1. wow amazing, great to know about pure air.

  2. This is becoming dangerous trend. Selling natural resources could be worst thing that can happen to us. Before water it used to be salt. Every shop in town used to have salt in sacks kept open for anyone to pick. A rule was put to stop this and some companies started providing iodized and other fancy names for salt. That is when the thyroid problems started increasing!

    1. True. Corporate have their clear agenda- make money at any expense... Heard that in Punjab, US funded corporation is trying to influence reduction in paddy growth in favor of their own genetically modified seeds...


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