The sandstorm sweeping northern China has aroused the concern of many foreigners living in the city, who are appealing for better international cooperation to deal with the sand.
"This is the most severe sandstorm I have ever seen in China. As far as I know, the situation was even worse decades ago. The sandstorms coming from Siberia and Mongolia can even affect North America," said Bruce J.Eichman, Chinese manager of Raytheon International Inc..
He said joint efforts should be taken to transform desert areas and plant trees in order to minimize the effects of sandstorms.
"I was a bit excited when I first saw the sandstorm here, but when I crossed the road, I felt the strength of wind. A shallow sand covered the car when I walked near. Maybe I should wear a mask next time I go out," said Phan Mau Tien, general manager of Vietnam Airlines Beijing office.
He said a sandstorm warning system should be set up to remind citizens of necessary precautions.
"The sandstorm in 2000 impressed me," said Mario Alzugaray Rodriguez, second secretary of Cuban Embassy in China.
"I heard some southern Chinese provinces were also affected by the sandstorm. At the moment, I try to stay in the office, avoiding outdoor activities," said Mario.
The worsening environment was a common international issue, said Isabel Ramallo, press and information officer for the delegation of the European Commission of the European Union (EU) in China.
She said the EU was willing to tackle the issue together with China.
In recent years, foreign companies such as Volkswagen have planted trees in the suburbs of Beijing, hoping to create a much greener city. Those foreign residents show the same concern for the environment as local Beijing people.
"Harsh reality tells us that economic development cannot be based on the sacrifice of environment. On the contrary, economic growth should provide material support for the environment," said Richard Liu, chief representative of the Canadian Tourism Commission in China. Enditem
(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2002)