Yellow sand, Chinese pollutants wreak havoc


Yellow sand from China reduced visibility in many parts of the nation Saturday and will continue to drift over the archipelago through Sunday afternoon, the Meteorological Agency said.

Visibility was reduced to 5 km in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, and in the city of Saga in the morning, and to 6 km in Nagasaki. The cities of Fukuoka, Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya saw visibility drop to 8 km.

When visibility dips to less than 5 km, it begins to hinder transportation systems.

Meanwhile, Fukuoka warned Saturday that the average amount of PM2.5 particulate matter was likely to exceed environmental safety limits for a second consecutive day. The average amount of PM2.5, which measures less than 2.5 microns in diameter, was projected to reach 39.3 micrograms per cubic meter in the city. The government’s maximum limit is 35 micrograms.

This is the fourth time the daily amount of PM2.5 has been projected to exceed the standard since Feb. 15, when local governments began issuing daily projections.

Fukuoka urged those with respiratory diseases to don masks and advised residents not to hang laundry outside.

The Yamaguchi Prefectural Government issued a similar warning Saturday after observing 89 micrograms of PM2.5 at an observatory in one hour before 10 a.m.

  • Steve

    Pollution is grim in Fukuoka today, visibility extremely low, less than 5kms.

    • It’s pretty bad in Tokyo too … Pollution is over the safety limit, would be great to get an official announcement.

    • Francis Liew

      Would you consider a dust storm in Oklahoma a pollution?

      • Jonobugs

        It’s not just dust or sand though. It’s dust mixed in with pollutants from Chinese industry.


    It’s important to note, in the current Sino-phobic media climate, that one reason it’s cheaper for Japanese companies do business in China is that environmental standards are lower; i.e. some of this “China dust” is actually “Toyota dust”.

    • Skeptic

      It’s also worth noting that dust storms are considered pollution even when there is absolutely nothing man-made in them. The dust itself consists of particulates, and causes *local air pollutants* to stick to it and enter your lungs. This is true for my country as well, where the dust comes from the Sahara desert, not exactly an industrial area. :-)

      A dust storm is a pullution storm. The story makes it sound as if it’s polluted because it’s from China. That’s BS.

      • glad you cleared that up! thanks

  • Huge dust cloud hit Tokyo right when I read this article. I was reading and it suddenly got darker.

  • seetell

    All of those carbon reduction schemes and all of the money spent on them wasted in a yellow cloud. Didn’t anyone realize that the wind blows from the west? Of course they did.

  • Guest

    just wondering why the winds have picked up over the last 4 hours… looking for climate changes but cant seem to find any word in the news.

  • Meteorologists say China is not to blame.

    From Japan Today:

    Meteorologists said the phenomenon was caused by a sudden cold front, and was not linked with the suffocating pollution that hung over the Chinese capital Beijing last winter.

    “A rapidly developing low pressure system in the north was moving down south. It was bringing a snow storm in the north, and strong winds in Tokyo and surrounding areas,” said a meteorologist at the Japan Meteorological Agency.

    “In the Kanto region (Tokyo and surrounding areas), the strong winds picked up dry dust particles from the ground, which lowered visibility,” he said.