Heavy sandstorm hits Beijing

A severe sandstorm that hit Beijing has resulted in severe air pollution, the Beijing Environmental Monitoring Center reported.

According to the center, the concentration of fine particulate matter PM 10 in the central areas of the city exceeded 8000 micrograms per cubic meter, which is 160 times higher than the maximum allowable norm of the World Health Organization (WHO), set at 50 micrograms / cubic meter, TASS reports.

PM 10 are small solid particles with a diameter of less than 10 microns.

A sandstorm led to traffic jams, visibility in the city does not exceed 1,000 meters. In connection with the dust storm, the Beijing authorities have declared a yellow hazard level, recommended canceling outdoor events, and not going outside unless absolutely necessary.

According to forecasts of meteorologists, the storm will last until Tuesday morning. In addition to Beijing, it will also affect other northern regions of China, in particular the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Hebei provinces.

Experts are trying to understand the sources of dust storms, while some of them defend natural causes – strong winds that bring masses of the finest sand. But some environmentalists believe that dust storms intensified due to the numerous abandoned mines in the desert and semi-desert regions of Inner Mongolia, as well as due to the uncontrolled felling of trees in the north of the country in the 60s and 70s of the last century.