Beijing the capital of the People’s Republic of China, was shrouded with the brown dust on 15th March 2021 because of heavy winds that was blowing in from the Inner Mongolia (Chinese autonomous region) and other parts of north-western China.

  • China Meteorological Administration (CMA) has announced the “Yellow alert” stating that the sandstorms had spread from the Inner Mongolia into the provinces of Gansu (north-central China), Shanxi (plateau province of North China)and Hebei (northern Chinese province).
  • Chinese official air quality index also reached to a maximum level of 500.
  • The floating particles called the PM10 reached to 2000 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.

Backdrop

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

About Gobi Desert

The large desert or brushland region of the East Asia and it covers the parts of Northern China, North-eastern China and Southern Mongolia. 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 Desert is significant because of location of several important cities along the Silk Road. The Gobi 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 sixth largest desert across the world while second largest in the Asia region.

Mongolia

The landlocked country located between China and Russia in the East Asia. The area of the landlocked country is roughly equivalent to the historical territory of Outer Mongolia. In south, Mongolia neighbours the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It does not have shared border with Kazakhstan though, the distance between both countries is just 37 km.

Heavy sandstorm in Beijing Heavy sandstorm in Beijing