Beijing shrouded in sand and smog as authorities issue warning
Beijing was hit by a rare combination of sand and smog on Monday, creating a cocktail of air pollutants that shrouded the city’s skyline in a thick brown haze.
The polluted air cut visibility on the streets and many residents wore face masks to protect themselves.
Levels of PM2.5, the small particles deemed most harmful to health, reached 248 micrograms per cubic metre at 10am on Monday. Readings over 200 are classified by the authorities as heavily polluted.
Levels of PM10, slightly larger particles in the air, reached 150 micrograms per cubic metre.
The municipal environmental authorities issued a warning about the sand and dust on Sunday.
The sand originated in the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia.
This usually occurs in Beijing during the spring during strong winds, but rarely happens with smog as it is frequently dispersed by the wind.
The government said the situation would improve on Monday afternoon as winds strengthen and blow pollutants towards the East China Sea.