Beijing enveloped in hazardous sandstorm, second time in two weeks

1 month ago 5

The Chinese capital Beijing woke on Sunday morning shrouded in thick dust carrying extremely high levels of hazardous particles, as the second sandstorm in two weeks hit the city due to winds from drought-hit Mongolia and north-western China.

Visibility in the city was reduced, with the tops of some skyscrapers obscured by the sandstorm, and pedestrians were forced to cover their eyes as gusts of dust swept through the streets.

“It’s quite serious today. There’s always a day or two like this (of pollution or dust) each month,” said Mr Fan, 39, who did not wish to disclose his full name.

Beijing’s official air quality index reached a maximum level of 500 on Sunday morning, with floating particles known as PM10 surpassing 2,000 micrograms per cubic metre in some districts.

A general view of the city shrouded in smog after a sandstorm, in central Beijing (Picture Credits: Reuters)

Readings of smaller PM2.5 particles were above 300 micrograms per cubic metre, far higher than China’s standard of 35 micrograms.

PM2.5 particles are especially harmful because they are very tiny and can enter the bloodstream, while PM10 is a larger particle that can enter the lungs.

The China Meteorological Administration issued a yellow alert on Friday, warning that a sandstorm was spreading from Mongolia into northern Chinese provinces including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Liaoning and Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.

Beijing was enveloped in thick dust carrying high levels of hazardous particles as a second sandstorm in two weeks hit the city due to winds from Mongolia and northwestern China. Read more https://t.co/e1JRErl9MO pic.twitter.com/ZvPlkUK9rr

— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) March 28, 2021

The meteorological office said the recent sandstorms to hit Beijing originated from Mongolia, where relatively warmer temperature this spring and reduced rain resulted in larger areas of bare earth, creating favourable conditions for sandstorms.

Beijing might face more sandstorms in April due to the unfavourable weather this year, the meteorological office said.

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