onsdag 22. mars 2023

Sandstorms blanket Beijing and northern China as air pollution soars off the charts

A severe sandstorm has swept across Beijing and several northern provinces in China, blanketing the region in thick clouds of orange dust and sending air pollution soaring to hazardous levels, state weather authorities said on Wednesday.

Dense clouds enveloped the Chinese capital where the air quality index of PM10 – particles of pollution that are less than 10 micrometers in diameter and can enter through the nose and travel to the lungs – have exceeded monitoring charts, according to the Beijing Ecological Environment Monitoring Center. Weather authorities in Beijing warned people not to go outdoors for exercise and other activities, and have asked drivers to stay vigilant and reduce speed because of low visibility.

Concentrations of PM10 particles hit 1,667 micrograms per cubic meter by 6 a.m. local time, according to Beijing’s monitoring center on Wednesday, with the agency calling it “the most severe sandstorm to date this year.”