Here is an excerpt from an article by Arshad Sayed where he mentions the role of the inefficient stoves and fuel that contribute to the severe air pollution problems of Ulaanbaatar.

UB is the coldest capital city in the world and during the coldest months of the year—December, January and February—the air quality is dangerously bad. In fact, UB is fast becoming the world’s most polluted city; a remarkable achievement considering its population only hovers around the 1.2 million mark.

The pollution is visibly worse in the wintertime. This is because coal-fueled ger (traditional felted tents) stoves and boilers used for heating and cooking produce toxic black smoke plumes that hover like a blanket over the often windless city. The chokingly-thick pollution is a result of a combination of factors: the poor combustion of coal in what are essentially wood stoves, the congested road traffic (it’s too cold to walk and many cars are of a substandard quality), the dry ground condition and industry.

In these areas, which are mainly located upwind of the city, the only source of heating are poor quality stoves or individual household boilers fueled by coal, wood and in some cases rubbish—varying from black tar dipped bricks to old car tires. UB’s remaining citizens live in apartment buildings heated by three coal-burning heat and power stations. All forms of household heating in UB contribute to the air pollution problem.

In UB, annual average particulate matter concentrations (PM10, i.e., particles that cause damage in the lungs when inhaled) have been recorded at as high as 279. This means that UB’s PM10 levels are 14 times higher than the WHO’s recommendation.

The health implications of the pollution are shocking. Levels of premature death, chronic bronchitis, respiratory hospital admissions and cardiovascular diseases are increasing at an extraordinarily rapid rate.


To read the article click here

To read the main report referred in this new Ulaanbaatar publication
click here