BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Strong, sandy winds since March have had a severe impact on China's air quality, pulling down the percentage of days with good air quality by 0.6 percentage points, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said on Tuesday.
A total of 177 cities were affected by two sandstorm waves, which swept across north China from March 14 to 19 and from March 27 to 29, Liu Youbin, the ministry spokesperson, told a regular press conference.
The sandstorms originated from Mongolia and traveled southward, engulfing most parts of China's northern regions, the spokesperson said.
Liu added that natural factors were mainly responsible for the sandstorms. However, he also said that more focus should be placed on protecting the ecological environment and strengthening international cooperation as there is only one earth. Enditem