Violation of rights to live in a safe and healthy environment


We all know the rights of citizens stated in the first clause of the Constitution: the right to live, the right to be judged by a just court, the right to live in a safe and healthy environment, and the right to be protected from environmental pollution. Wait, what?
Article 16.2 of the first clause of the Constitution states that Mongolian citizens will assuredly experience the right to live in a healthy, safe environment and the right to be protected from environmental pollution and natural imbalances. I have almost forgotten (as most people have), my basic rights, because no one stands up and says that our rights are being violated because we always live with environmental pollution.
What do we do about a parliament that is violating everyone’s right to a healthy environment? Or rather, what can we do?
With the liquidation of the Clean Air Fund, people seem to be waking up and discovering that we are not breathing fresh air. In recent months, air pollution in UB has surpassed levels in Beijing and New Delhi, cities that have gained notoriety around the world for their dangerous levels of pollution.
Air pollution poses dangers to the health of Mongolia’s future. According to a representative from SmartAir Company, Chisato Fukuda, children’s lung capacity growth becomes limited with air pollution. Air pollution also affects the mind and causes stress, headaches, lung cancer, and birth defects.
Recently, a group of young people under the name Bid Club (Mongolian for “we”) held a press conference stating that there are solutions to air pollution, but no motivation  (or no heart) for anyone to pursue them. Currently, air pollution is at its peak in Mongolia in the coldest months of January and February. With temperatures hitting lower than minus 30 degrees  Celsius at night, the number of bags of coal burnt each night is increasing by the hour.
During the 2012 election, E.Bat-Uul was voted Ulaanbaatar Mayor with his 5A campaign  to bring the city fresh air and a safe environment. The capital has not done anything in the last two years. While other cities fight air pollution scientifically, E.Bat-Uul says, “Ulaanbaatar is covered in fog, not smoke,” and that he will fight air pollution but not fog.
The head of the Capital Air Quality Department, Ch.Batsaikhan, said, “Air pollution in Ulaanbaatar has only reached two to seven times the standard, according to four stations throughout Ulaanbaatar. It is false information that smoke has increased.” Beijing declared a red alert last December for its hazardous levels of smoke, and shut down schools and kindergartens when the air quality index reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter. On the other hand, Ulaanbaatar’s air quality index has been hitting 2,000 micrograms per cubic meter on a daily basis, and reached 2,619 on January 8 and 9 near Tolgoit. The Mayor and the Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism stay quiet.
Mongolia has spent over 350 billion MNT on fighting air pollution in the past. Although the Mayor spent 410 billion MNT in 2015, none of it was allocated to fighting air pollution.
According to recent real-time air quality data, the amount of fine particulate matter and heavy metal in the air was 14 times higher than the Mongolian threshold for what is considered healthy, and 35 times the amount of particulate matter deemed acceptable by the World Health Organization.
The government had allocated 350 billion MNT to the Clean Air Fund. The main operations of the Clean Air Fund revolved around bio-fuel solutions. While investigating this story, I found that ger district residents actually had no information about bio-fuel or where it was sold. This made me wonder what the Clean Air Fund had been doing, and why attention has been brought to air pollution only after it was dismantled.
European countries are fighting air pollution while studying air flow. The  European technology is used not only for fighting air pollution, but also to maintain safety. A recent graduate from a German university and member of Bid Club, B.Battumur, announced that it was possible to decrease air pollution and enable smarter urban planning
The Law on Decreasing Air Pollution was approved through a 2011 presidential decree. A working group was created for the implementation of the project. At one time, the secretary generals of every ministry in Mongolia were members of the working group. They explained that one ministry was not enough to solve air problem issues. Currently, the working group has two members. The investment coming in to fight air pollution has slowly decreased, falling incrementally from 34 billion MNT to 10 billion MNT. This year, only five billion MNT has been allocated for the working group.
“Through the Ulzii Stove Project, 100,000 stoves were provided to households in ger districts. As a result, household coal consumption decreased by two kilograms a month, and air pollution levels decreased by 20 percent between 2012 to 2013. This year’s air pollution is the same as last year’s. I don’t know how it will be next month,” Deputy Head of the Capital Air Quality Department Kh.Galanbek said in a 2014 interview. It is irresponsible of him to say that he

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Posted by on Jan 22 2016. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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