Saturday, April 7

Chinese Dust Chokes Korea!

A couple nights ago, Rachel and I heard from some friends about the Chinese dust that blankets the Korean peninsula each Spring. Worse than the pollen that covers South Carolina every March and April, this dust is picked up from Northern Chinese deserts and causes health and agricultural problems for Korea. Joy! So now we have to go out and buy face masks to avoid breathing carcinogens.

From the Korea Herald:

The year's worst dust storm plagued much of Korea yesterday, prompting the authorities to issue health warnings against the sandy, chemical-laden wind from China.

Meteorologists are forecasting that this will be the worst ever yellow dust year in terms of severity and frequency due to an unusually warm winter and lighter snowfalls in the desert-like area of northwestern China and Mongolia.

The dense clouds usually contain fine, dry soil particles and dioxins, which are toxic chemicals that cause cancer.

The sandstorms are said to be a consequence of China's rapid industrialization.

Over the past 30 years, Korea was affected by yellow dust for an average of 3.6 days per year, but in recent years the number of days has been increasing. Last year, there were four yellow dust alerts lasting a total of 11 days.

Meteorologists advised people to refrain from outdoor activities and wear masks when they need to go out. People were also advised to wash their hands and feet more frequently.

Read the full story here:

Photo courtesy of the Korea Herald, 2007.

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