China sand­storm hits mil­lions

New Straits Times - - World -

BEI­JING: A sand­storm blown by gust­ing winds en­veloped a huge area of cen­tral and north­ern China yes­ter­day in thick pol­lu­tion haz­ardous to peo­ple ven­tur­ing out­doors.

The Bei­jing Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ob­ser­va­tory ad­vised peo­ple to min­i­mize time spent out­doors and fore­cast that the murky con­di­tions would linger into morn­ing to­day.

Tens of mil­lions of res­i­dents across eight prov­inces and au­tonomous re­gions and in mu­nic­i­pal Bei­jing were told to use masks or scarves when out­side to pro­tect their eyes and lungs.

The low vis­i­bil­ity prompted warn­ings for driv­ers to slow down and for air­ports to take pre­cau­tions.

Bei­jing’s air qual­ity in­dex topped 800 in some ar­eas, on a scale rank­ing any­thing above 150 as un­healthy for the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. AP

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