China’s Yellow Dust Storms Begin, Data Called a “State Secret”

Dust storms, carrying toxic pollutants from Chinese factories, are closing down schools and severely impacting air quality in South Korea and Japan. But information on the storms has been deemed a “state secret” by the Chinese government, making it difficult for its neighbors to find a solution. From Wired Magazine:

The dust storms last from March to May of each year, with sands pulled by wind from deserts in Mongolia and China, picking up pollution in China’s industrial regions and finally arriving in the east.

Damage estimates are hazy, but conservative figures put manufacturing losses in the billions, especially among makers of high-tech goods — and the human costs are greater, as the pollutants trigger lung and immune diseases.

The storms appear to be getting worse, driven by deforestation and desertification caused by excessive livestock breeding. But it’s hard to know for sure: China’s keeping mum on the storms.

See also a Yonhap article “Yellow dust closes elementary school.

Dust storms

[Image via Wired Magazine]

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