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Dust and sand storms like this one in China have increased in North East Asia.
Source: Mylvakanam Iyngararasan/UNEP RRCAP
Dust and sand storms are plaguing North East Asia nearly five times as often as in the 1950s, and are also growing in intensity (UNEP 2004a). In April 2002 dust levels in Seoul exceeded 2 000 micrograms per cubic metre, twice the level considered hazardous to health (UNEP 2004a).

The storms originate in the dry regions of northern China and Mongolia and blow across the Korean peninsula and Japan. They cause considerable hardship through disruption of communications, respiratory problems and related deaths, loss of livestock and crops over large areas, and associated loss of income (UNEP 2004a).

To deal with this issue, governments of the region are working together with the Asian Development Bank, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and the United Nations Environment Programme in monitoring and early warning. A joint project has been set up to create an initial institutional framework and a master plan to guide regional cooperation to control dust and sand storms in North East Asia (UNEP 2004a).

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