Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China is facing a heavy sandstorm as the city was covered with a thick brown dust cover on Monday morning due to heavy winds blowing in from northern parts of China, reducing visibility to less than 1,000 meters.
The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) announced a yellow alert on Monday morning, saying that the sandstorms had spread from Inner Mongolia into the provinces of Gansu, Shanxi and Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.
The meteorological agency called it the “the strongest sandstorm in the past decade” which has reached the level of a strong storm which has smothered the capital and other northern Chinese regions.
Beijing’s official air quality index reached a maximum level of 500 on Monday morning, with floating particles known as PM10 reaching 9,000 micrograms per cubic metre in some districts. Readings of PM2.5, smaller particles that infiltrate the lungs, were also crossed 700 micrograms per cubic metre.
State media reported that more than 400 flights have been cancelled at the two international airports in Beijing.
As per reports, Beijing faces regular sandstorms in March and April as a result of its proximity to the massive Gobi desert as well as deforestation throughout northern China.
Beijing and surrounding regions have been suffering from relatively high levels of pollution in recent weeks, with the city also shrouded in smog during the opening of parliament starting on March 5.
About Gobi Desert:
The Gobi Desert is a large desert or brushland region in East Asia.
It covers parts of Northern and Northeastern China and of Southern Mongolia.
The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains and the grasslands and steppes of Mongolia on the north, by the Taklamakan Desert to the west, by the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau to the southwest and by the North China Plain to the southeast.
The Gobi is a rain shadow desert. The shadow is formed by the Tibetan Plateau blocking precipitation from the Indian Ocean reaching the Gobi territory.
It is the 6th largest desert in the world and the 2nd largest in Asia.
The Gobi is notable in history as the location of several important cities along the Silk Road.
Source: News On Air