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Beijing Sees Orange as Sandstorm Brings Worst Air Since 2017

  • Storm originating in Mongolia has swept across northern China
  • China’s recovery from the pandemic has been fossil fuel-heavy
The China Central Television (CCTV) Tower during a sandstorm in Beijing on March 15.
The China Central Television (CCTV) Tower during a sandstorm in Beijing on March 15.Photographer: Yan Cong/Bloomberg
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A sandstorm sweeping across much of northern China left Beijing in an orange fog and helped push air quality levels in the capital to the worst since 2017.

Beijing’s government issued a yellow alert, the first sandstorm warning this year. The Air Quality Index surged to 500, well above health emergency levels, and a thick orange haze limited visibility to less than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) Monday morning. Chinese social media was rife with pictures of the city’s iconic buildings enveloped by the dust, with many users saying it’s the worst sandstorm in years.