Photo: Workers start to clear the some of the 300,000 tons of sand dumped on the Chinese capital, Beijing
April 04, 2007
On Monday a RARE sandstorm blanketed the city of Shanghai with yellow dust, causing its WORST AIR QUALITY CRISIS SINCE MONITORING BEGAN. Concentrations of respirable particulates jumped to 0.623 milligrams per cubic metre of air, seven times the daily average for last year. Last Friday the sandstorm originated in the deserts of western Mongolia, dumping 14,000 tonnes of sand in Shenyang, Liaoning province, alone over the weekend. In the last few years, many of the natural obstacles that held the sand in check, like forests and rivers, have largely disappeared in favour of economic development. Unchecked industrial growth and pollution, deforestation, lower water flow in rivers are changing China’s weather with serious consequences for the climate. Millions of people are suffering from drought and the overall economic cost is huge. China’s uncontrolled industrial growth is the culprit. Not only is it destroying the country’s environment but it is also rapidly changing its climate with unexpected consequences. Hydro-electric power stations are taking huge quantities of water from rivers, entire forests have been cut down, and industrial plants that pollute air and water have multiplied. One aspect of climate change that is particularly worrisome is the drop in precipitation. In Chongqing rainfall last winter and this spring is 30 per cent lower than in previous years. The city of Chongqing had already experienced its worst drought in more than a century last summer with temperatures up to 43 degrees Celsius and 1.61 million residents struggling to find drinking water.
Adapting to the damaging effects of climate change, plants are gradually moving to where temperatures are cooler, rainfall is greater, f...