Well, not a good way to start off the morning, but I had to report this as I don't know how many of you read The New York Times daily like I now have the luxury of time to do (since being retired). This is just frightening to me.
And when I consider that if Orange One (Donald J. Trump, our illegitimate *president), gets his way, the United States could very well look like this in just a few years when he guts the Environmental Protection Agency and sells off our national heritage to big multi-nationals while slashing environmental protections for all Americans.
Dust Storms Blanket Beijing and Northern China
By Gerry Mullany May 5, 2017
|The central business district in Beijing on April 25, left, and on Thursday, after a dust storm swept through. Such storms have become increasingly common for the region as China’s deserts expand.Nicolas Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images|
HONG KONG — Dust storms enveloped parts of northern China for a second day on Friday, reducing visibility in cities like Beijing and threatening the health of millions of people.
Such storms have become an increasingly common phenomenon for the region, as China’s deserts expand by gobbling up roughly 1,300 square miles a year. A half-century ago, such storms happened every seven or eight years; now they are an annual occurrence.
The storms typically happen in the spring, as strong winds send soil and sand from the Gobi Desert over northern China and even the Korean Peninsula.
This week’s dust storms led to the cancellation of scores of flights and caused pollution in northern China to soar. Beijing’s air-quality index hit a dangerous level of 623 on Thursday; the United States government rates readings above 200 as “very unhealthy” and 301 to 500 as “hazardous.”
Experts tie the problem to the rapid urbanization of northern China, deforestation and climate change. The government has spent billions of dollars to plant forests to stop the creeping desertification, but some experts have questioned whether it has been effective enough in doing so.
The state news media in China said that children and the elderly should stay indoors during the storms. On both Thursday and Friday, the storms were at their worst in the morning, with cities like Beijing clearing later in the day.
Sand and dust storms take place when hot air over the desert destabilizes the lower atmosphere, whipping up strong winds that send huge amounts of sand hundreds or even thousands of miles. The storms have been linked not only to respiratory illnesses but also to lethal epidemics because of the spread of potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and fungal spores.
The dust storms typically hit northern China after the region is afflicted by high wintertime smog, which is caused by coal-burning power plants, factories and vehicle emissions.