Sand Attack

SEOUL (AFP) — Hazardous yellow sand from China covered parts of South Korea and Japan on Monday, keeping people indoors as Tokyo pressed Beijing to reveal more information to the public.

Schools were closed as the dust blanketed southern parts of the Korean peninsula, while Japan advised people to be cautious and predicted the dust would continue for another day.

Yellow dust — fine sand from Mongolia’s Gobi Desert which sometimes includes toxic chemical smog emitted by Chinese factories — usually hits South Korea and Japan in the spring. It can cause respiratory disorders.

In Tokyo, Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita recently called on Beijing to disclose data on the yellow sand.

“About yellow sand, I am not quite sure how and why it can be regarded as a national secret,” Kamoshita told a press conference last month.

“Air is connected beyond national borders, and yellow sand travels beyond borders. I think it is important we share information,” he said.


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March 2008
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