Another Winter Looms and So Does the Smog


Prepare yourselves for another winter and thick smoke. In a month’s time, it will become extremely cold in the coldest capital city on earth. The Government of Mongolia has been working feverishly to deal with this smoke: but what is our current progress?
When it gets very cold during the winter, residents in ger districts has to burn fuel in their stoves to keep warm. All the smoke from 180,000 Ger homes in Ulaanbaatar, in addition to the usual ever-increasing vehicle exhaust emissions, blankets the city of Ulaanbaatarin a large grey cloud of smog. The large mountain ranges that surround Ulaanbaatar ensure that the smoke cannot escape. Of course, the settlers of Urgoo (old name of Ulaanbaatar) of course, did not know that being situated in an enclosed valley area would cause such problems for the 21st century.
It is known, by World Health Organization studies and many other domestic and international NGOs, that Ulaanbaatar is considered one of the worst cities in the world terms of particle matter in the air – is two to ten times the world’s allowed standard. Particle matter is measured by the amount of particles suspended in the air. According to the Millennium Challenge Account Mongolia, “air pollution is a major cause of serious respiratory problems among urban residents. Those especially at risk include the poor, undernourished, very young, and elderly, people with preexisting respiratory disease and people with other health diseases.” Public hospitals also voiced their opinion last winter, saying that a majority of illnesses have both directly and indirectly influenced by the dangerous amount of smoke the residents breathe.
The Millennium Challenge Account made an agreement with the Mongolian Government in 2009 to reduce air pollution generated by Ger Districts, which is an ongoing project.
It was seen that the coal and wood burning exhaust from Ger Districts can be reduced in a number of ways, including replacing ordinary stoves with smoke-free and more efficient stoves, installing heating systems in Ger District homes, and on a larger and longer term effort, the Government is currently running several huge construction projects to house 100,000 households in apartments. Families, if certain perquisitesare met, would be eligible for very affordable loans from banks to purchase these homes.
Yesterday, the National Committee on Air Pollution has decided the following 3 issues become priority on their program to reduce air pollution in a short time.
The first is, Government’s program to continue to sell cheap coal to residents through this winter, the price of the processed coal would be reduced by 31 – 43 percent, becoming the same price as regular coal being sold. Secondly, is the introduction of efficient, thermal stoves from Canada at a 75 percent discount. Currently, 20,000 of 180,000 Ger families are currently using thermal stoves such as these. Additionally, the high-demand and high-efficient stoves supplied by the Millennium Challenge Account are to be supplied by the Government (an additional 17,000 of them are ordered.)
Our Prime Minister, N. Altankhuyag, assures us that Ulaanbaatar will be smoke-free in a matter of four years. But for now, we are still expecting a very smoky winter. There are a lot of things to be done, and many of them are being done.
Let us bear through this winter once more, and hope that there will be many windy days to hopefully blow the smoke away for some time.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=1811

Posted by on Nov 9 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

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