Scientists and policymakers meet to discuss solutions for air pollution


The international Effects of Air Pollution on Children’s Health conference took place in Ulaanbaatar to host discussions on solutions and methods to decrease the negative effects of air pollution on infant and children’s health.
The conference was organized under the auspices of the Speaker of the Parliament at Shangri-La Hotel, on January 25 and 26. UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Sports, the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, the National Authority for Children, and the Public Health Institute co-organized the conference. Over 160 scientists, policymakers, and representatives from public and private institutions from Mongolia, the U.S., England, Australia, China, and South Korea participated in the conference.
The conference introduced the participants to the damage that air pollution imposes on infants and children, and speakers presented data from scientific studies concerning its effects on the respiratory system and children’s susceptibility to pneumonia. The main aim of the conference was to bring about guidance to solve issues related to air pollution based on scientific findings, and to serve as a call for action. The conference aimed to inform the public and decision makers about ways to protect their health and methods to decrease the negative effects of household air pollution.
After an opening speech by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health and Sports, S.Lambaa, the adviser to the Speaker of the Parliament, Ts.Buyantsogtoo, gave opening remarks on behalf of Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold.

“Parliament approved the Law on Air, Law on Air Pollution Fees, and a law on decreasing air pollution in Ulaanbaatar in 2012 to prevent air pollution, to monitor and decrease the amount of pollutants in the air, and to impose fees on those who significantly contribute to air pollution.
The Mongolian government has implemented projects to solve air pollution issues in ger areas, which are believed to be the biggest producers of air pollution. Government projects include creating housing for ger district residents, producing more efficiently burning fuel, cutting night-time electricity tariffs in half for households in the ger district, initiating a reward system to increase public involvement in curbing air pollution, and efforts to increase public awareness of air quality data. Even after pursuing multifaceted solutions, air pollution levels have not decreased significantly.
Mongolia has been listed as a country with some of the highest air pollution readings in the world, and it has been proven to have an effect on public health. Scientists in Mongolia and abroad have found that air pollution negatively affects the health of pregnant women and children. It increases the risk of miscarriage, early birth, birth defects in infants, and contributes to slowing the mental and physical development of children.
“It’s important to bring about efficient, fact-based guidance; a solution that clarifies the connection and roles of multiple disciplines in decreasing the negative effects of air pollution. We will support implementing guidance and solutions at all levels,” said Ts.Buyantogtoo.
The conference discussions were divided into four topics, including Air pollution in Mongolia: Reality and international experience; From facts to activities – Effects of air pollution on children’s health, ways to decrease it; Effects of air pollution on the health of children and infants, ways to protect health; and Next step – Creating guidance to decrease effects of air pollution on children.
Member of Parliament S.Oyun spoke at the session on air pollution in Mongolia and international experiences. “Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital in the world, reaching -40 degrees Celsius in the winter. During these times, air quality plummets, with average levels of fine particulate matter reaching 15 times what is considered healthy by the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
“Actions against air pollution slowed down when the National Committee for Reducing Air Pollution was disbanded in 2013 and the Clean Air Fund was liquidated in 2015, and their operations were transferred to the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism. Without losing momentum, we should advance and accelerate activities in all possible ways.
“So, we have to recreate the National Committee for Reducing Air Pollution, allocate money to fight air pollution, and continue our cooperation with international organizations,” said S.Oyun.
The MP also noted that it is essential to improve infrastructure in the ger districts, provide their residents with apartments, and solve construction issues. “According to studies by the WHO and the United Nations Environmental Programme, over seven million die from illnesses related to ambient and indoor air pollution. The numbers have doubled in recent years, showing the significance of the problem worldwide,” she said.
During the conference, Ryan Allen from Canada’s Simon Fraser University presented the results of his study on the effects of Ulaanbaatar’s smoke on infants in the womb and pregnant women. The study involved 540 pregnant women living in Sukhbaatar District. “Pregnant women who used devices to decrease the effects of air pollution gave birth to babies that were 0.4 centimeters longer and 80 grams heavier than the babies of women who didn’t use any methods to decrease the effects of air pollution. You can see that air pollution is negatively affecting the development and growth of infants in the womb. If we don’t decrease the levels of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, it will become even more hazardous to the health of fetuses,” said Allen. The scientist will continue his study until 2020, to see and follow the effects of air pollution on the respiratory system, the nervous system, and the logical development of his study participants until they reach the age of four. Ryan Allen is known for conducting a 2011 study which revealed that one in 10 deaths in Ulaanbaatar were attributable to air pollution.
“Fresh Air-Healthy Future” exhibition and competition was presented as a part of the conference. It consisted of essays and paintings by secondary school students. B.Azjargal, a fourth grader at Orchin Secondary School, won the competition in the elementary school student category. “Ulaanbaatar has so much smoke that sometimes I can’t see my surroundings, or even the road in front of me. I’m sometimes scared that I might get hit by a car because I can’t see [through the smoke],” she said. Her painting illustrated air pollution as a monster.

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Posted by on Jan 27 2016. Filed under Онцлох мэдээлэл. 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.

2 Comments for “Scientists and policymakers meet to discuss solutions for air pollution”

  1. I really like to read and analyze your articles and news. I use them as a tool to improve my vocabulary and writing. I could not understand what does FETUSES mean.

    • It refers to babies in the womb. Thank you for reading and supporting The UB Post and best of luck in your continued language studies!

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