The worst sand storm this year hit Beijing, China, on March 28, while the Beijing Meteorological Bureau also sent out this year’s first “Blue Alarm” warning of severe pollution, according to state news media.
By noon on March 28, visibility in Beijing was at its worst, being less than two miles. The data of PM10, for Particulate Matter up to 10 micrometers in size in the air, reached over 1000µg/m3, 20 times more than the standard guideline given by the World Health Organization. Exposure to a high concentration of small particles such as PM10 and PM2.5 increases the incidence and deadliness of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and some cancers.
On March 29 the sand storm continued its onslaught, and smog joined the attack, making the pollution worse.
The Beijing authorities sent out a notice on the Internet on March 29 asking individuals and organizations to cancel all outdoor gatherings and sport activities. The note also suggested shutting windows and doors, and avoiding going outside, recommending that children, seniors, and people with respiratory disease and allergies take particular care.
A weak cold air front and rain is estimated to arrive in northern China on March 30, which will help ease the sandstorm and smog, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau says.