Heavy sandstorm in Beijing- Key Highlights

The capital of China, Beijing, was shrouded with the brown dust on March 15, 2021 because of heavy winds that was blowing in from the Inner Mongolia and other parts of north-western China.

Highlights

The China Meteorological Administration has announced 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.

Background

In the months of March and April every year, the capital city Beijing faces regular sandstorms because of its proximity to the Gobi Desert and deforestation throughout the northern China.

Gobi Desert

It is a large desert or brushland 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.

Mongolia

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.

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