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Chinese Restaurant Charges Customers For Clean Air

There's no such thing as a free lunch. Nor, apparently, is there such thing as free air to breathe while you eat that lunch.

Recently, an eatery in eastern China's Jiangsu province was caught adding an 'air cleaning fee' to its customers' bills, requiring local diners to cover the cost of purifying the air within the restaurant, reports BBC.

In order to cope with the thick smog currently plaguing many Chinese cities, the restaurant's proprietor purchased an air purifying system for the business and then tacked on a one-yuan charge to each bill without first informing customers. When local diners eventually realized what the additional yuan was for, many voiced their outrage, causing the Zhangjiagang city government to get involved.

In the end, a city official declared it illegal for the restaurant to charge diners when they had no choice about whether or not to breathe the filtered air.

Some Chinese social media users, however, were not opposed to the idea. On Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site, one user wrote: “I'd agree to the fee!” Other social media users also expressed a willingness to pay for cleaner, safer air, however noted that they'd prefer to be told of the charge beforehand.

Still, it appears Chinese residents are open to the idea of purchasing purified air, as CNN reports one Canadian startup has begun shipping fresh, “hand-bottled” Rocky Mountain air to Chinese buyers at US$14-20 a canister. We were disappointed to learn that it was not, in fact, called Perri-Air.

Either way, it's gotten so bad people are willing to purchase clean air to breathe. Perhaps it's time to do something about the smog, China.

[Photo via Wall Street Journal]

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