Beijing skies engulfed by sandstorm, pollution

STORY: The city’s air quality plummeted to “hazardous” levels on Friday evening.

Readings of PM2.5 particles – which can reach deep into the lungs and bloodstream - reached as high as 800, according to the World Air Quality Index, one of the local air quality monitoring sites.

Beijing faces regular sandstorms in March and April due to its proximity to the massive Gobi desert as well as deforestation and soil erosion throughout northern China.