Beijing engulfed in dangerous sandstorm, second time in two weeks


BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s capital Beijing woke up Sunday morning to thick dust carrying extremely high levels of dangerous particles, when a second sandstorm in two weeks hit the city due to high winds. Mongolia and northwest China affected by drought.

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 blasts of dust swept the streets.

“Today is quite serious. There are always one or two days like this (of pollution or dust) every month, ”said Fan, 39, who did not want to reveal his full name.

Beijing’s official air quality index peaked at 500 on Sunday morning, with floating particles known as PM10 exceeding 2,000 micrograms per cubic meter in some districts.

The smallest PM2.5 particle readings were above 300 micrograms per cubic meter, much higher than China’s standard of 35 micrograms.

PM2.5 particles are especially harmful because they are so small 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 China’s provinces, including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Liaoning and Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.

The meteorological bureau said the recent sandstorms to hit Beijing originated in Mongolia, where relatively warmer temperatures this spring and reduced rainfall resulted in larger areas of bare land, creating favorable conditions for sandstorms. .

Beijing could face more sandstorms in April due to unfavorable weather this year, the meteorological bureau said.

Reporting by Sophie Yu, Judy Hua and Martin Pollard; Editing by Michael Perry

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