Beijingers can prepare handkerchiefs and face masks for dusty
weather this spring because little snow has so far fallen in the
dry, grey Chinese capital, a city environmental official said on
"Beijing is experiencing a warm, dry winter so sands can easily
be stirred up. If the present weather continues, then severe
sandstorms are likely in the spring," said Shi Hanmin, head of the
municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
Beijing has experienced two snowfalls this winter and the
temperature on sanjiu days, a traditional term for the coldest days
of the year, stood at minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, the warmest for 13
Last year, the city reported 241 so-called "blue sky days", or
days with fairly good air quality, when particulate matter in the
air is less than 100 micrograms per cubic meter, according to the
"It is hard for us to improve on 60 percent of blue sky days per
year. We don't have many new solutions to combat dusty weather,"
But he said Beijing will renovate more than 1,100 coal-fuelled
boilers and replace 2,580 old buses by the end of the year in
further anti-pollution efforts.
"Also, next year, the city will apply Euro IV emission standards
to new vehicles to cut automobile pollutants," Shi said.
In the event of sandstorms, city authorities will ask roadside
stores, companies and other institutions to sweep the dust from
streets and roofs so as to prevent further air pollution, he
Beijing experienced 17 sandstorms last spring, and the most
serious one in April saw some 300,000 tons of sand and dust dumped
on the city.
(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2007)