03/15/2021, 09.30
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Massive sandstorm suffocates Beijing

It is the worst in the last 10 years. A surge in pollution indicators. Government reforestation projects fail to solve the problem. The country produces 28% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Xi Jinping: "decarbonization" by 2060.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The biggest sandstorm in the last 10 years has hit Beijing and the neighbouring provinces, making the air unbreathable and causing pollution indicators to soar.

The Meteorological Administration has announced the alert for 11 western and northern provinces in addition to the capital. The authorities urged the population to stay indoors and wear protective gear.

In March and April winds blow from the Gobi Desert which cover a large part of the country with a thick yellowish blanket. This morning the concentrations of PM10 polluting dusts reached the threshold of 500 micrograms per cubic meter: in some districts the level has reached 8 thousand. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily limit of 50 micrograms.

The capital's environmental monitoring centre also recorded very high levels of PM2.5 dust, which is especially harmful to the lungs. The figure of 732 micrograms dramatically exceeds the limit recommended by the Chinese health authorities (35 micrograms per cubic meter) and by the WHO (25 micrograms).

The seasonal sands that reach Beijing from the Gobi district amplify the pollution problems of the capital, already surrounded by a dense ring of industrial areas. To stop seasonal storms, the government has been launching reforestation projects for years, but these do not seem to be achieving results.

Last week, coinciding with the annual session of the National People's Assembly, a thick layer of smog had covered the capital. The country produces 28% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. President Xi Jinping has promised that they will be reset by 2060.

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