China is experiencing its worst sandstorm in a decade, as skyscrapers across Beijing appear to be blanketed in a sea of dust and sand.
On Monday, China’s capital and a broad swath of the country’s north were enveloped in the sandstorm, prompting the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Fox News reports that skyscrapers in the centre of Beijing dropped out of sight amid the terrible weather. Over 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were canceled before noon.
Such storms normally occur in the springtime, when the sands from the western deserts blow eastwards and affect regions as far as Japan. China has taken measures to deal with the intensity of the storms by planting greenery, but the expansion of cities and China’s ever-growing industries have placed undue pressure on its environment.
According to China's National Meteorological Center, the sand and dust is anticipated to affect 12 provinces and regions from Xinjiang to as far north as Heilongjiang, as well as the northeastern port city of Tianjin.
"This is the most intense sandstorm weather our country has seen in 10 years, as well as it covering the broadest area," said the centre.
Although it is unclear if the sandstorm is related to China’s ongoing poor air quality, it hasn’t helped matters either, as Beijing continues to choke from smog. Residents are advised to wear protective face masks to lessen the effects of air pollution.
According to Fox News, the communist party has pledged to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 18 per cent over the next five years. China continues to depend heavily on coal power plants to provide electricity for its more than 1.398 billion residents.