Sandstorm covers Beijing with orange dust

16:31, March 22, 2010      

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A strong sandstorm from Inner Mongolia and neighboring Mongolia hit much of the north China during the weekend, leaving the nation's capital bathed in orange dust.


Visitors wearing facemasks and glasses pose for photos in Tian'anmen Square in Central Beijing amid the sandstorm on March 22.

People in Beijing found orange-tinted skies when they opened their eyes in the early morning on March 20. Visibility was reduced to less than 100 meters in some areas. A level-five pollution warning was issued and authorities urged residents to stay indoors, saying the air quality was "very bad for the health."

So far, the sandstorm has affected much of the north and northwest, including Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, and the provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Hebei.

The sandstorm once again calls attention to pressing issues of deforestation, urban sprawl and prolonged drought in China. The growth of desert in the country's north and northwest has led to a sharp increase in dust and sandstorms over the past years. It is said that the sandstorm was the strongest one since 2006.


Visitors and pedestrians are forced to don facemasks as the severe sandstorm makes its way through central Beijing.

The storm this time dumped hundreds of tons of dust on the capital, and affected the work and life of 16 million people in six provinces and municipalities.
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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90783/91300/6926663.pdf