The Air Pollution Reduction National Committee (APRNC) held its first meeting with its new members, approved by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat through Directive No.120, to report on projects and measures completed from 2015 to 2016 and to determine plans for next year.
Members of the APRNC, Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, and representatives from other agencies participated in the meeting.
“Air pollution is increasing every year in Ulaanbaatar, and adversely impacting public health to the extent that it has become a pressing issue at the national security level. Therefore, we’re required to take substantial action to reduce air pollution,” Prime Minister J.Erdenebat said, opening the meeting.
“We will strive to resolve relevant matters through state policy, such as promoting renewable energy use through appropriate spending of air pollution fees; granting nighttime electricity use incentives for families using electrical heating systems; promoting import and the consumption of high-quality petroleum; using natural gas to fuel public transportation; improving services; identifying the quantity and classification of air pollutants in provinces and large rural settlements; enhancing power efficiency and supply in provinces and soums; determining regions that need to improve air pollution; and deciding on measures to take,” he added.
Following the Prime Minister’s opening remarks, the Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism commented on the importance of eliminating air pollution worldwide.
“Today, air pollution is faced by not only Mongolia, but also by the whole world. It’s a global problem. Ulaanbaatar is ranked 47th out of 50 countries with the most air pollution on Earth. Research and statistics organizations reported very unfortunate data, that in 2005, 697 per 10,000 individuals died worldwide due to respiratory diseases. But in 2014, it rose by 2.4 times to 1,740 per 10,000 individuals. At present, the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism isn’t able to stop every activity harming the environment. We don’t have the legal grounds to do more than report and send proposals to the police and specialized inspection agencies. Yet, the public continues to demand that our ministry protect sacred natural sites, and clean rives and conserve them. We’re in urgent need of decisive actions, including developing air pollution reduction plans and strategies; supporting provincial and intersectional measures; and reducing the number of vehicles by increasing taxes on old vehicles.”
Within the scope of air pollution reduction, officials have decided to spend funds from the 2017 state budget on ensuring reliable electricity supply to families living in ger areas, nullifying fees for nighttime power usage, supplying households with eco-friendly stoves, and increasing briquette supply.