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Ways to Improve Air Quality in Ulaanbaatar

By Ch.Davaakhuu

The air quality in Ulaanbaatar is getting worse and worse. This is related to many factors such as car exhaust, smoke, dust, industrialization, urbanization, and the means of transportation. Though the Mongolian government is taking many measures to reduce the air pollution, the measures seem do not seem to yield results yet.
Possible solutions to improve air quality are listed below:

Restrict Private Transportation

Some resources note that the increasing number of vehicles is resulting in negative consequence to the capital’s air quality, as almost every individual owns an automobiles or car.
One can observe many vehicles in Ulaanbaatar city imported by entrepreneurs. Once businessmen profit from their businesses, they are expected to import more vehicles to Mongolia. Yet the cars are outdated and old. It can be said that most Mongolians are driving low quality vehicles. Given their age, the emission from the cars is worse than normal. Because of this, it is suggested to have requirements for the cars used by locals and to improve the traffic regulations in terms of private transportation.

Relocate the Black Markets

One of the biggest factors influencing Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution is that the city’s black markets – the Tsaiz, Uguumur, Narantuul and Kharkhorin—are located in the centre of the city.
This is generating heavy traffic jams because people either from Ulaanbaatar and countryside visit the markets in their cars. In the case of the constant traffic jams around the markets, emission from transportation is greatly increased.
If the black markets were to be located in more remote areas, people from countryside would not have to go into the city, getting stuck in traffic with their vehicles.
In 2010, there was a television program released by the Mongolian National Broadcasting Television about moving the black markets like the Uguumur and Narantuul into remote areas. However this has not been implemented or initiated by the government because of resistance from the owners of the black markets.
According to a study conducted, traffic jams have increased by 75 percent, air pollution by 15 percent, and dust by 60 percent due to the black markets’ location within Ulaanbaatar.
This supports the idea of moving the black markets to a location outside the city that is more remote and less likely to impact city traffic. Many developed countries have policies to build their informal markets in remote areas, preventing traffic jams. We can learn from their experience.

Ger District Planning

Research on pollution shows that one of the worst sources of pollution is smoke. The smoke originates from the Ger heating appliances.
There is an influx of people moving to Ulaanbaatar and living in ger districts. Though they do not have permission to build their ger or official registration and they live in restricted areas because of a lack of financial resources.
The city should get involved in planning the ger districts and initiate requirements for the moving of residences. With greater planning, the quality of life in the city would be improved and Ulaanbaatar residents would live more comfortably.
Reviewing these three possible solutions, we can see that if we can 1) restrict the importation and use of old cars in the city, 2) move the black markets into more remote areas, and 3) implement planning in the ger districts, we can potentially reduce traffic jams, smoke, dust and car exhaust. Let us breathe fresh air deeply.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=1467

Posted by on Oct 12 2012. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Ways to Improve Air Quality in Ulaanbaatar”

  1. 1) Don’t blame the importers of cars, blame the govt for not enforcing it’s own rules on emissions. If there is only 30% of the capacity needed to test all the cars yearly, no wonder the state they are in.
    2) You cannot move the markets out of the city, the markets are the core-business of the city, of any city.
    3) There is no way to stop the growing of ger-districts, they have been part of UB since the beginning, and the will be there until all Mongolians live in UB.
    On average 45.000 people/year, or 30 gers EVERY DAY join the city. That’s does not seem so much, but the pain is in the ‘every day’.

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