These Post-Apocalyptic Photos of Beijing are Real, Thanks to Catastrophic Sandstorm

Beijing China

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Nature can be fierce. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes… the list goes on, but Beijing, China has experienced something this week that makes the entire city and surrounding area look like a scene straight out of an eerie post-apocalyptic movie.

The sandstorm is the product of catastrophic winds pulling sand from the Gobi Desert through China’s capital city. While the geography of the area has produced sandstorms in the past, experts say that this is the worst case in over a decade with air quality the worst the city has seen in 4 years.

Residents of Beijing wore masks, goggles, and even hairnets to protect themselves from the choking dust. The government ordered people to stay inside as school, sporting events, and even flights were shut down.

The good news is that China has been working on a project that would stop such sandstorms from becoming this intense by rebuilding a natural barrier with trees and shrubs. The “great green wall,” as it’s known, has been established for over 20 years now, but this current storm shows that more will need to be done.

The recent droughts in China haven’t helped matters, though. According to Beijing-based environmental health expert Pan Xiaochuan, the unusually dry ground made things worse this year.

“If there is less moisture, more dust will be scraped up,” he said. “Since the sandstorm is blown from a high altitude, the general windbreak tree belts won’t be very effective, so it has been blown over… very quickly.”

Fortunately, Beijing is back to normal today, though, as citizens report clear skies once again.

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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