Air pollution researchers have determined that the air pollution level is recorded highest between 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the morning and from 5:00 p.m. to midnight at night. They recommend parents and guardians to keep their children indoors during these hours to prevent potential health risks.
Children are affected by fine particulate matters the most because they commute to and from kindergartens or schools during the most polluted time spans of the day. Infants and children are more vulnerable than adults because their lungs are developing, they breathe faster than adults due to their lung volume, their immune system hasn’t fully matured, and they spend more time outside.
Moreover, studies find that the levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, fine particulate matter and lead are highest at up to 1.5 meters from ground level. Hence, it’s advisable for parents to hold their children in their arms if they need to go outside to reduce children’s exposure to these air pollutants.
Smog has been a major concern for Mongolia, especially in Ulaanbaatar, for the last 20 years yet the air pollution has remained the same if not worsened over the years. The best way to reduce adverse effects of air pollution is for every individual to take care of their health and stop young children from going outside during the peak pollution hours, a specialist stated.
The Public Health Institute of the Ministry of Health strongly advises everyone to adopt the following habits and actions in their daily routine during the winter when air pollution reaches hazardous levels in Ulaanbaatar:
- Only walk short distances or use public transport when there’s a smog
- Keep children away from roads and have them play at playgrounds far from roads and vehicles
- Drink and consume dairy products to improve immunity
- Ventilate rooms and classrooms
- Use high-efficiency particulate air filtrations systems
- Regularly wipe surfaces with wet clothes
- Turn off the lights and unplug electric appliances when not using
- Sort wastes and take the trash out on a daily basis
- Avoid going near smoke
- Advise friends, family, and colleagues not to smoke
- Keep car ventilation systems closed while driving or going by a vehicle
Experts from the institute said that a good way to rid the lung from unwanted air pollutants is to escape to the countryside or Zuslan area, located outside of the city, during the weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The main causes of Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution are listed below:
- 458,000 vehicles used for more than 10 years
- Three power plants that use 4.9 million tons of coal a year
- 202,000 ger area families using up to 0.7 million tons of coal each year
- Entities use 9.3 million tons of coal for 3,200 steam stoves