China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sandstorm from northern China to hit Taiwan today

Dust particles blown across the Taiwan Strait from a sandstorm that arose in China's Inner Mongolia region on Saturday will begin to undermine Taiwan's air quality today, environmental officials said yesterday.

It will be the third sandstorm to hit Taiwan so far this year, and the effect will be more evident than before, officials with the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said.

When the floating dust hits northern Taiwan today, EPA officials said, the micro particle pollution density may range between 150 and 250 microgram/cu m, surpassing the normal level by 100 to 200 microgram/cu m.

The floating dust is not expected to dissipate until Tuesday afternoon, the officials said, adding that the air quality in central and southern Taiwan will also be affected as dust particles move southward along with a rainy front that hit Taiwan late Saturday.

Worse still, the officials said, North Pacific high pressure systems have been gaining strength in recent days, and may bring more dust particles. As most parts of the island will become sunny again on Monday due mainly to the rainy front going away, there should be no rain to "purify" the sandstorm.

With unusually high levels of dust pollution looming, EPA officials advised people with asthma and other respiratory diseases, as well as the elderly and children, to be on guard and to refrain from going outdoors or engaging in heavy outdoor exercise on Monday and Tuesday, particularly those residing in northern, northeastern, and central mountain regions. Such people were also advised to wear mouth masks if they have to go outdoors.

Local people can access the EPA Web site at to learn more about the air quality, according to EPA officials.

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