Chinese residents line up for bags of fresh mountain air
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 0602 GMT (1402 HKT)
- Zhengzhou residents lined up to try bags of mountain air
- Zhengzhou is one of the most polluted cities in China
- Event was a tourism publicity stunt for nearby Laojun Mountain in the same province
(CNN) -- Whatever the motive behind the event, it made for some powerful images of some China residents' desperation for better air.
Making the media rounds this week are photographs of residents of Zhengzhou, the capital of China's Henan Province, lining up for a chance to breathe fresh mountain air via sealed bags.
Some of the more heart-tugging photos were of parents and grandparents fixing the masks on children's faces so they can have a few rare sniffs of the fresh O2.
Zhengzhou is one of China's worst cities for air pollution, ranking 10th in a Greenpeace list of the country's most polluted cities in 2013, which used official data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
At the time of writing, Zhengzhou's AQI (Air Quality Index) recorded an "unhealthy" 157. Even Beijing, often the subject of bad pollution headlines, recorded a "moderate" AQI of 55 (the capital made headlines with its off-the-chart AQI reading of 755 last January).
Zhengzhou is one of the worst cities in China for air pollution.
New York recorded an AQI of 62.
READ: Beijing pollution: Does it put you off traveling there?
The late-March series of events were part clever travel marketing gimmick, part public awareness campaign for China's air pollution crisis, put on by Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve Development Co.
The company brought in 2,000 cans and 40 bags of air that had been packed in Laojun Mountain, also located in Henan Province.
"A TV crew came to Laojun Mountain to test the air and found it unbelievably good and we had the idea of doing this to promote tourism to the area," sales and marketing officer for the park Khurram Zhang told CNN.
Known for its fresh air, the mountain was designated a national nature reserve in 1997, and sits 120 kilometers away from the nearest city of Luoyang.
"We collected 2,000 cans of air from She Shen Ya (a cliff on Laojun Mountain) early last month and we gave them out in multiple locations as a marketing campaign. It was gone in 20 minutes," said Zhang.
"We've launched two more events giving away air from the mountain. There will be more free fresh air coming in the future."
MORE: 40 most beautiful places in China
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Nonprofit Ethical Traveler has released its annual list of the developing countries doing the most to promote human rights and preserve their environments.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
These waterfront watering holes have killer ocean views, creative drinks and the mahalo vibe we demand.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
Can't wait to book your ticket to Indianapolis and Oakland? The venerable guidebook is right there with you
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
By helicopter, snowmobile and big-wheel truck across some of the world's most volatile landscapes.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 2142 GMT (0542 HKT)
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
Inflight chatterboxes are annoying but they're not the worst violators of onboard etiquette, according to an Expedia study.
December 8, 2014 -- Updated 2232 GMT (0632 HKT)
These statues are awe-inspiring even for the strongest of non-believers.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1659 GMT (0059 HKT)
25 years after the death of Romania's communist dictator, tourism is helping heal old wounds.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
Photo sharing website names the top 10 destinations for geo-tagged snapshots.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
New York may be a paradise of Zagat-rated, Michelin-starred restaurants, but some of its best food can be found on the streets.
December 2, 2014 -- Updated 0601 GMT (1401 HKT)
Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana ups the eco stakes with what it claims is world's first battery-powered safari fleet.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
These quirky and beautiful subway stops make standing cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers almost seem fun.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Luxury vintage Land Rover tours explore Bedouin backwaters without bashing up precious dunes.