Problems Facing Ulaanbaatar

|Mongolia

The improvement of living conditions in the ger1 districts has become one of the pressing issues for the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. In the ger districts a certain area of land is owned, gers or wooden houses stand within fenced boundaries, and are supplied with electricity only; they have a water supply system where water is carried, are not connected to the waste water system, are heated by burning wood or coal, and the public transportation service and upgrading of road surfaces are poor. Generally a low standard of living predominates in the ger districts.

Various studies have established this to be related to environmental pollution. The content of dust, carbon gases, sulfuric acid, and nitric acid in Ulaanbaatar air has exceeded the permitted levels by 2-5 times.

The major sources of pollution are thermal power stations, centralized boilers for heating, household stoves for heating, exhaust gases from cars and diesel power stations, smoke from open burning at waste-disposal sites, and the open toilets of the ger districts. In recent years the number of cases of respiratory diseases and acute infectious gastrointestinal diseases has increased substantially among the population of the city. This opinion paper contributes to the understanding of this.

  1. Ger: Mongolian traditional housing, consisting of a tent-like wooden structure covered with woolen felt.