16 March 2021.
China’s capital Beijing is facing a heavy sandstorm as the city was covered with a thick brown dust cover due to heavy winds blowing in from northern parts of China, reducing visibility to less than 1,000 meters.
- The China Meteorological Administration sounded the “Yellow alert” stating that the sandstorms had spread from the Inner Mongolia into the provinces of Gansu, Shanxi and Hebei.
- The Beijing’s official air quality index also reached to a maximum level of 500.
- The floating particles called the PM10 reached to 2,000 micrograms per cubic metre in some regions.
- The reading of the smaller particles that infiltrate lungs called PM 2.5 also reached to 300 micrograms per cubic metre.
- This reading was far higher than the standard of 35 micrograms set by China.
- 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
About Gobi Desert
- It is a large desert region of the East Asia.
- The desert covers the parts of Northern China, North-eastern China and Southern Mongolia.
- The Gobi Desert basins are surrounded by Altai Mountains, grasslands & steppes of Mongolia in the north, Taklamakan Desert in the west, Hexi Corridor & Tibetan Plateau in the southwest and North China Plain in the southeast.
- The Gobi Desert is significant because of location of several important cities along the Silk Road.
- The desert is a “rain shadow desert”.
- The shadow is formed by the Tibetan plateau that blocks the precipitation from the Indian ocean to reach to this desert.
- The desert is 6th largest desert across the world while 2nd largest in the Asia region.
- It is a landlocked country located in the East Asia.
- The area of the country is roughly equivalent to the historical territory of Outer Mongolia.
- The country is located between Russia in the north and China in the south.
- In south, Mongolia neighbours the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
- It does not have shared border with Kazakhstan though, the distance between both the countries is just 37 kilometres.