Pollution shrouds Tibetan capital, grounding flights

Dec 20, 2013
File photo of Tibetans passing the Potala Palace in the capital Lhasa, where pollution levels have reached new heights, shrouding the city in dust and halting flights

China's pollution reached new heights on Friday, as the Tibetan capital of Lhasa was shrouded in a cloud of dust that halted flights and rendered one of its most-recognisable landmarks nearly invisible.

Lhasa, which at 3,700 metres (12,000 feet) above sea level is one of the highest cities on the world, was named by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection last month as one of 10 cities with the country's best .

But on Friday, the picturesque capital of the Tibetan region was enveloped in a thick cloud of pollution that the Hong Kong-based ifeng.com news website said was caused by that had blown in from north of the Tibetan Plateau.

Visibility in some areas was reduced to five kilometres (three miles), flights were grounded, and the city's air quality index exceeded 500, the highest level, the report said.

Photos posted online by ifeng.com showed the world-famous Potala Palace, a sprawling Buddhist complex and UNESCO World Heritage site that previously served as the winter palace of the Dalai Lama, nearly invisible from a few kilometres away.

The images of in the remote tourist destination, as opposed to in the industrial cities of northeast China, took users of the country's popular social networks by surprise.

"Even Lhasa has floating dust," wrote one. "Heaven on Earth is gone."

"It proves again that Lhasa is the sacred inseparable territory of China," quipped another, in a nod to the tensions between Beijing and Tibetans seeking greater autonomy for the region.

Explore further: Mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak

Related Stories

Dangerous pollution levels blight Chinese city

Oct 22, 2013

Thick smog enveloped a major Chinese city for a third day Tuesday, with schools and a regional airport shut and poor visibility forcing ground transport to a halt in places.

Recommended for you

Mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak

6 hours ago

A record amount of electrical and electronic waste hit the rubbish tips in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said Sunday.

China's struggle for water security

Apr 18, 2015

Way back in 1999, before he became China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao warned that water scarcity posed one of the greatest threats to the "survival of the nation".

Canada revises upward CO2 emission data since 1990

Apr 18, 2015

Canada revised its greenhouse gas emission data from 1990 to 2013 in a report Friday, showing it had higher carbon dioxide discharges each year, and a doubling of emissions from its oil sands.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.