Several government agencies including the Ministry of Health have begun campaigns to minimize the health damages of air pollution, especially amongst children. This shift symbolizes the “hopelessness” of Ulaanbaatar residents as the situation shows no sign of improvement.

Due to the fact that air pollution is now a constant, many organizations have shifted their focus on treating the symptoms of the pollution. The Ministry of Health recommended that children need to regularly visit places with clean air to support their health. According to a study by the ministry, 24 percent of respiratory illnesses and ailments in children can be attributed to air pollution.

Other agencies such as the Ulaanbaatar Tourism Department have created a campaign titled “Clean air for families”, which offers anywhere from 10 percent up to 50 percent discount at resorts outside of Ulaanbaatar.

The Ulaanbaatar Health Department recommends that parents carry their children when walking next to roads as most pollutants remain within 1.5 meters of the ground.

A study that included several classrooms in schools around the city revealed that classrooms have three to 10 times the normal amount of pollutants. This has caused many organizations and individuals to look towards air filters within their workplaces and homes, as the amount of pollutants is still remarkably high even indoors.

In light of a market gap in the prevention of health damage of air pollution, businesses that specialize in reducing air pollution and health of individuals have increased by 27 percent according to Bloomberg.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Air pollution has been a curse in many densely populated cities. Rightly so, Mongolian government is taking a serious view on damage of health especially among the children and elderly by constant low air quality. Good move.

  2. Even if the GoM meant what they said, still they wouldn’t be able to do anything. The solution is money, truck loads of it, and the coffers are empty, the economy is stagnant and prospects for growth are dismal.
    Billions to build affordable housing and give low-interest mortgages to slum dwellers. Billions to build new non-polluting power plants, billions to build a subway system……. Not to mention totally reforming the obsolete soviet educational system, fighting corruption at all levels, building modern hospitals, training doctors in 21st century medicine and allowing new meds to enter the market, maybe building a new capital city, a new university campus, kindergartens, monitoring contaminated food from ‘abroad’, sports facilities affordable to most of the ( low income ) populace… Gosh! They an’t even finish a road to the new airport nearby! I have a Mongolian nephew studying in Toronto and every time he comes back home he looks around and cries of revolt and shame. Sad!

  3. A sense of hopelessness by UB’s citizens is well understood, considering how many times over countless years this vital subject keeps cropping up at Government level. A full scale investigation was carried out by University of California Berkeley in 2014 “Air Pollution & Health Ulaanbaatar” funded by the Ministry of the Environment and Green Development, UB. The report was extremely thorough and very well documented. (I have no connection with it whatsoever)
    No doubt its recommendation (Page 14 of 63) was far too sweeping, to ban the use of raw coal in stoves “….we urge UB authorities to seriously consider the aggressive actions outlined in this assessment. By doing so, UB could follow the lead of other polluted cities such as London in the 1950s……which became one of the cleanest cities in the world…. starting with banning raw coal use in households.” The report cites other notable research/reports on UB’s pollution going as far back as 2004! It includes how many UB lives are lost to its air pollution, and Table E1 – LLYs (Lost Life Years 2010) Page 40, alone, is eye-opening, alarming, and a ‘must read’. It can be found in full here:
    http://ehsdiv.sph.berkeley.edu/krsmith/publications2014UB%20Final%20Report%20-%20July%2010.pdf

  4. If the link gives ‘error 404 Not Found’, copy and paste it to a Google search (not as a url address). This will pick up the University of California (UC) Berkeley website containing the pdf report.
    It should be read by every member of the Governmentl to shame them into action.
    In a Reuters article from February this year it gave this data on UB’s problem: “The capital’s total emissions of harmful breathable particles known as PM2.5 surged to as high of 855 micrograms per cubic meter late last month. In comparison, Beijing’s air on the same day, measured 70 micrograms. The acceptable standard, according to the World Health Organisation, is 20-25 micrograms. The reading in Ulaanbaatar has been known to hit 1,000 micrograms.”
    They quoted one UB mother who said she was pregnant three times, but lost all of them. With her fourth child, she had to go to the countryside to get fresh air to give birth.
    In October 2013, The Guardian newspaper carried this headline: “In Ulan Bator, winter stoves fuel a smog responsible for one in 10 deaths”
    How many more citizens have to suffer with lives shattered, shortened or lost, caused by this avoidable social failure? Yes, it will cost money, but according to World Bank articles, much of this will be saved, year on year, from healthcare costs.

  5. Totally true. We got ordered to change our restaurant (in Gandan) heating to electric, from coal. We did. Cost a couple million in investment, and now we have the electric going at night. But in day, we still add a small bag of coal. Electricity is too expensive, in the daytime, and we don’t have enough Amps to keep all the cookers going. To get more amps, we need a bigger cable, new mains box, and that box needs a bigger feed also. Even if we wanted to, it will take a few years to change all of that.

  6. I’ve just found this rather poor translation of a message by PM Erdenebat confessing failure of many government attempts to reduce air pollution from stoves, including the trial use of smokeless fuels: http://www.cleanenergy.mn/en/130/article but he says they don’t work. It seems full of excuses.
    So how come the UK made them work 60 years ago after passing its Clean Air Act? I lived and worked in London at that time and know only too well the effects of smog. Within a few years of the act the whole of the UK was within safe air pollution limits from smoke emissions domestic and industrial.
    Smokeless fuels last up to 40% longer than coal, whilst producing 20% less CO2. Heating efficiency can be as high as 65% on a multi-fuel stove, more than twice the 28% figure achieved by house coal. That’s from a statement by a UK smokeless fuel manufacturer.
    Modern Mongolia prides itself on being enterprising and adaptive, now even having its own research satellite, MongolSat! It’s hard to believe that it has no answers to a problem solved 60 years ago.
    He does have my agreement to spending more money getting ex-herders back where they would rather be – in the countryside. Just give them more support during dzuds to stop them from returning to UB.

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