Beijing is Seriously Polluted As Sandstorms Continue in Northern China

Zhou Tong, Ed.

PureInsight | April 19, 2004

[] According to a China News Network report, another sandstorm occurred on March 29, 2004 in Northern China. The affected area was approximately three hundred and ninety thousand square kilometers and included about sixty million people. This extreme atmospheric condition followed immediately after the March 26-28, 2004 sandstorm, which covered a vast area with great intensity.

The most recent sandstorm affected the northern regions of China. The areas included the Northwest regions, and the Northern regions of Northern China including northern Shanxi Province and central Hebei Province. They suffered either sandstorms or high intensity sandstorms. The sandstorm spread to the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Shaanxi Province, Shanxi Province, central Inner Mongolia, and vast areas of Hebei Province including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin. These storms affected a total of seven provincial regions, one hundred and seventy-one provincial cities, and covered an area three hundred and ninety thousand square kilometers with a population of more than sixty million people. This included seven and a half million hectares [1 hectare = 2.47 acres] of ploughed land, eight hundred and sixty thousand hectares of rural farms, and more than nine million hectares of grassland. The dense and sustained sandstorm weather caused severe pollution and adversely affected the health and livelihood of the population. The Central Environment Monitoring Station of China said that the main consideration was the shifting of the sand in the regional areas and the intensity of the sandstorms. Amongst the forty-seven seriously affected cities, only Beijing was affected by extreme pollution.

According to meteorologists' analyses, the forecast for the next ten days calls for strong winds and sandstorm weather in the various northern regions. The appearance of the sandstorms will be on March 30 and 31, April 2 and 3 and around April 8, 2004.

According to the weather forecast, there will be sandstorms on March 30 and March 31, 2004 for the eastern region of Inner Mongolia, northern Hebei Province, Beijing, Tianjin and most regions in the three provinces of the Northeast. At the same time, southern Xinjiang, mid-west areas of Gansu Province, mid-west areas of Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia will also experience sandstorms. On April 2 and 3, there will also be sandstorms for the northern and north-central regions of China, and the plains of the northeast. On April 8, there will be dusty weather for the southern and east of the northwest regions of Xinjiang.

This is the eighth occasion that sandstorms had occurred in China this year.

According to official publications, the following were the sandstorms that occurred in China from 1999 to 2003:

Year 1999: 5 occasions of shifting sand, 2 sandstorms, 2 severe sandstorms, totaling 9 events.

Year 2000: 5 occasions of shifting sand, 7 sandstorms, 2 severe sandstorms, totaling 14 events.

Year 2001: 4 occasions of shifting sand, 11 sandstorms, 3 severe sandstorms, totaling 18 events.

Year 2002: 1 occasion of shifting sand, 7 sandstorms, 4 severe sandstorms, totaling 12 events.

Year 2003: 5 occasions of shifting sand, 1 sandstorm, 1 severe sandstorm, totaling 7 events.

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