Shanghai endures worst pollution following northern sandstorms

Shanghai's air was classified as "severely polluted", the worst level of a six-grade scale.
Shanghai's air was classified as "severely polluted", the worst level of a six-grade scale.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (BLOOMBERG) - Shanghai was hit by the worst pollution on record on Tuesday (March 30), as the air in the country's commercial centre filled with dust from northern China, which had endured sandstorms earlier in the month.

The city's air was classified as "severely polluted", the worst level of a six-grade scale, with an air quality index surging to the upper limit of 500 as of midday, according to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Centre.

The primary pollutant is PM10 - particles that can be inhaled and which are commonly associated with sand and dust - the centre said.

It warned children and the elderly to stay indoors.

Beijing, about 1,000km to the north of Shanghai, suffered two sandstorms in March, which also sent air pollution readings off the charts.

Meteorological authorities blamed Mongolia as the source of the pollutants.

Expected rain may help ease the pollution in Shanghai from Tuesday evening, according to a post on the municipal government's Wechat platform.