On January 9, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar S.Batbold issued three decrees designed to combat air pollution. The decree titled “Restriction Action” has been getting the most attention, as its purpose is to limit rural to urban migration.
Mayor S.Batbold told the media, “Today, the Mayor’s Office has issued three decrees designed to decrease air pollution. A working group tasked with lowering air pollution has been working since June 2016. The decrees are based on studies and research that was conducted during both warm and cold weather conditions. The decrees will be introduced tomorrow, at the National Security Council meeting.”
The Restriction Action decree states that rural residents, excluding those who require long-term medical care, those who already own an apartment, and those who have a mortgage loan, will be restricted from taking up residence in Ulaanbaatar. This restriction will be in place until January 1, 2018. The Mayor explained, “Even though freedom of movement is a constitutional right afforded to every citizen, the threat of air pollution in the capital has reached a point where it could potentially affect national security. The right to health and safety of Ulaanbaatar residents is being violated, therefore, the Mayor’s Office has decided to issue the decree within the rights afforded to it, based on multiple studies and consultation from numerous agencies, in order to meet the demands of our residents.”
The second decree issued by the Mayor’s Office calls for dividing the city into zones. The establishment of any new settlements outside of residential zones will be prohibited, with the area outside of residential zones has being declared “eco areas”.
The final decree outlines the establishment of four different air pollution zones in the city. Zone 1 includes apartments, houses, and residential complexes. The decree states that coal burning will be prohibited in this zone. The Zones 2, 3, and 4 have been identified as areas which will use electrical heating and areas which will use improved fuel.
The Mayor also touched on the subject of pollution from vehicle emissions. “We will be improving vehicle diagnostics and restrict vehicles that are creating air pollution, if necessary,” the Mayor stated.