Natural Resource Degradation Leads to Profit for Some, Illness for Others
Cash-For-Oxygen Catching on in Polluted Calcutta
We admire entrepreneurs. But in a just society, the quality of air would never sink so low as to make an opportunity for some to sell safe air to a small number of customers who can afford the luxury. Natural resources are the common heritage of humanity, and polluters are using that common heritage as a private dump. At the very least, they should be charged a full market price for that dumping activity.
Here are portions of a Reuters news report circulated by EV World.
Lean back in a plush leather chair, pay cold cash and breathe oxygen.
That's a deal that increasing numbers of people are lapping up in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta, as they struggle to cope with the metropolis's foul air.
Cashing in on rising concerns about air pollution, two brothers have started Calcutta's first oxygen parlor, where customers can sink back in soft leather chairs, inhale oxygen flavored with various scents and be lulled by soothing music.
"The response has been great. We get bureaucrats, policemen, college students, housewives, corporate bigwigs--all looking for a way to fight pollution and stress," said Rajeev Madhogaria, who owns "Oxyzone" along with his brother, Sanjeev.
A UN-sponsored study released earlier this month said a cloud of smog covering southern Asia is putting the health of millions at risk.
Calcutta is one of India's most polluted cities. Many of the city's 15 million inhabitants complain of fatigue and headaches due to emissions from the thousands of taxis and buses.
The brothers said they were surprised by the response, with hundreds willing to shell out $3.60 for 20 minutes of pumping oxygen into their lungs.
Besides single sittings, Oxyzone also offers memberships, although its rates are likely to be out of reach for many people in a country where the average annual per capita income is $450.
But Purbasha Majumdar, a 20-year-old college student, is an oxygen-seeker who evidently believes it's worth the money. "The smoke from diesel vehicles gives me a headache and makes me tired," Majumdar said, waiting for her turn to breathe oxygen scented with an array of aromas such as sandalwood, lemon, orange and lavender.
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