On Monday morning local time, a PM10 value of 8,000 micrograms per cubic meter was measured in some areas.
PM10 refers to the content of air pollutants in the form of very small particles that, when inhaled, pose a health hazard. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the average daily PM10 content be no more than 50 micrograms per cubic meter.
The PM 2.5 content, the size of particles considered the most dangerous to health, Monday morning was over 300 micrograms per cubic meter. The average for China is usually 35 micrograms per cubic meter.
The strongest storm in decades
According to the country’s meteorological authority, it is the strongest sandstorm in decades, and warnings have been issued from Inner Mongolia to the provinces of Gansu, Shanxi and Hebei that surround Beijing. Several flights were canceled due to the sandstorm and air quality was measured
Mongolia was also hit by a sandstorm and at least 341 people were reported missing, according to the state-run New China News Agency.
The sandstorms are expected to turn southward later this week. Beijing is often hit by sandstorms from the Gobi Desert in March and April, and forests have been planted in an effort to limit the impact on the capital.