Sand, dust may turn Shanghai to most polluted city in China

14:58, May 03, 2011      

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A sandstorm which hit Shanghai on the first two days of May has significantly increased the level of respirable particles in the city and made Shanghai one of the most polluted city in the country, with Shanghai’s air pollution index 87 points higher than that of the runner-up on May 2.

Shanghai seemed to be covered with a grey lid on May 2. The air was full of dust, leading to poor visibility. The buildings in the city proper looked vague in the dust, and the cars parked outside were covered with a thick layer of dust.

The Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center (SEMC) said that as the sea wind blew the dust back to Shanghai, the city’s respirable particulate matter index rose to 500 at 4 a.m. on May 2, and the air pollution in the city reached “severe” levels. According to a diagram drawn by the SEMC, Shanghai has been in “severe” air pollution levels for the past two days.

A SEMC air quality forecaster said that the city’s air pollution hit two peak periods during the past two days. The first peak occurred at 8 a.m. on May 1 and lasted until evening. The second peak started at 4 a.m. on May 2 and lasted even longer. Experts noted that due to the sandstorms from northern China, Shanghai has suffered its most severe air pollution during the past two days since the beginning of this year.

However, as rain is expected in the coming days, the dust level is likely to fall, and the air quality is likely to improve. The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau forecasted that there would be showers in the city from the evening of May 2 to the morning of May 3, and the particle matter in the air would drop to the ground at a faster pace.

Due to the massive sandstorms sweeping across China, the air quality in the Yangtze River Delta and surrounding areas dropped to various degrees. According to a daily report on the air quality of major Chinese cities issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on May 2, the air pollution reached “severe” levels in Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Nantong, and Ningbo, and “moderately severe” levels in Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Hangzhou, and Hefei. In addition, Lianyungang, Jiaxing, Xuzhou, Changzhou, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing, and Taizhou suffered moderate or mild air pollution that day.

By People's Daily Online
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