A cyclist and motorist move past office buildings amid a sandstorm during the morning rush hour in Beijing’s central business district on March 15. (AP Photo)
BEIJING – China’s capital and much of the north of the country were surrounded on Monday by the worst sandstorm in a decade, which resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Skyscrapers in central Beijing seemed amidst the dust and Sand out of sight. Traffic became confused and more than 400 flights from the capital’s two main airports were canceled before noon.
Such storms occurred regularly in the spring, when sand from western deserts blew eastward, affecting areas as far as northern Japan.The massive planting of trees and bushes in fragile areas has lessened the intensity of storms, but the expansion of cities and industries has put constant pressure on the environment across China.
The National Meteorological Center predicted sand and dust 12 provinces and regions from Xinjiang in the extreme northwest to Heilongjiang in the northeast and the eastern coastal port city of Tianjin.
« This is the most intense sandstorm weather our country has seen in 10 years, and it covers the widest area », the center said in a post on its website.
It was not clear whether the storm was coincident with a general decline in air quality in recent times It depends, despite attempts to end Beijing’s suffocating smog.
The ruling Communist Party has pledged to cut carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18 percent over the next five years. Environmentalists say China needs to do more to reduce its reliance on coal, which has made it the world’s largest emitter of climate change gases.
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