Any results?

Mongolian Economy
2020-04-13 11:33:49
Category: Pollution
December, 2018                                                                                                                                December, 2019

Air pollution, a by-product of over-centralization and unplanned urban growth has been a talk of the town for the last few years. More than 147 billion MNT from the state budget and 153.3 million USD from the donors have made little impact on the reduction of air pollution between 2008-2016. During this period, air pollution has overwhelmed not only the capital city but also province centers which fueled Mongolia’s air pollution crisis. To find a comprehensive solution to this immediate problem, the National program for air and environmental pollution reduction was approved in 2017, and the program would be implemented in 2 separate stages till 2025. Successful completion of the project is expected to reduce air and environmental pollution by 80 percent.

The current situation

The main sources of air pollution are ger districts and heat only boilers while improper sanitation facility and household and industrial wastes are considered to be the main contributors to the soil contamination in Ulaanbaatar. On top of this, insufficient wastewater treatment has increasingly been a threat to the quality of water sources in urban areas.

Source of air pollution

When the capital city soil contamination was analyzed using eco geochemical investigation, bacteria and fungi were found in 88 percent of the samples taken from 360 sites. Whereas, the average content of heavy metals (cadmium, lead, zinc, and strontium) exceeded accepted norms in several provinces. Moreover, groundwater quality assessment revealed that the number of sites with moderate contamination has been increased compared to the previous year while sites assessed as moderately contaminated and excessively contaminated sites were reduced. Nationwide, the areas with serious water contamination include Songino, Tuul to Altanbulag zone, lower parts of Erdenet of Hangal river, Khiagt river, Duut, and Ganga lakes, as reported by the assessment.

Solid waste, one of the main sources of air and environmental pollution, is primarily being disposed of using burial method or in the existing landfills without being recycled. In 2016, the volume of disposed waste to the central waste disposal sites reached 2.3 million tons which were increased to 3.4 million tons in 2018. About half of the waste could be recycled, though, only 10 percent of the waste is being recycled so far.

It is estimated that recyclable waste, such as paper, plastics, glass, metals, and food waste accounts for 30 percent and 36-41 percent of total waste of the ger district residents and apartment residents respectively. However, only a few waste recycling privately-owned plants operate nationwide, and due to lack of waste sorting culture among the population, these plants often lack raw materials necessary to ensure their full capacity operation.



To fight air and environmental pollution, a total of 75.2 billion MNT is spent from the government budget this year. Most of the amount would be allocated to the refined coal production and night tariff of electricity for residents in ger districts. Besides, extensive measures, including a limit of raw coal usage in Ulaanbaatar, setting up of 4 mobile monitoring stations, employment of 4000 volunteers, two-fold increase of night tariff of electricity, introduction of advanced heating boiler systems and installation of gas, electric and geothermal heating solutions to the schools and kindergartens will be implemented. As a result of these actions, air quality parameters of the last few months have shown promising results, evidencing more days with acceptable air quality compared to the previous year. Though, we need to assess air quality index of at least one full year, preferably 5 years, to make a solid comparison of air pollution parameters says Ch.Gantulga, director of the working group of the National Committee for environmental pollution reduction.

National program on soil conversation and reduction of land degradation is expected to reduce land degradation by 30 percent and decrease soil-borne human diseases by 20 percent.

In terms of water and soil contamination, a revised Water pollution fee law was approved, water pool was built in Khentii, Tuv, Bulgan and Orkhon provinces and sanitation facility for 117 households in Bayanzurkh and Songinokhairkhan districts were upgraded. Moreover, the first soil contamination measurement was carried out, related standards were introduced and sewage sludge treatment plants would be built. National program on soil conversation and reduction of land degradation will be implemented between 2019-2023 and the project is expected to reduce land degradation by 30 percent and decrease soil-borne human diseases by 20 percent. On top of this, soil protection and rehabilitation international best practices will be introduced to Mongolian business entities and individuals, and this will ensure adequate use of soil resources and reduction of rehabilitation related costs.

Based on the resolution No.189 of the government which banned single-use plastic bags, the Ministry has begun to provide professional advice to the companies and established projects aimed to support domestic businesses. Inachis LLC, which recycles waste tires to produce 11 types of products, such as rubber plates, for example, is working together with the ministry on the 400 million MNT project. Within the framework of the project, more than 96 thousand waste tires will be recycled to produce 6000 square meters of rubber plates, it is planned. As of now, some 156 thousand waste tires have been processed and outdoor spaces of 15 kindergartens have been furnished using the product. Thanks to the project, the workforce of the company increased by 10 times and, for Inachis, this was the first substantial support from the state, said N.Munkhbayar, director of the company. Another business entity, “Mogplastic” LLC is working on 2 separate projects. The first project, worth 200 million MNT will involve setting up waste sorting points and garbage containers, waste collection, and advocacy work. As a result of the project, recycling bins have been installed in the street for 40 households of 12th khoroo of Sukhbaatar district and outside of 20 apartments. Within the framework of the second project, waste recycling equipment, such as pressing machines and crushers, which would help to facilitate waste transportation from the rural areas to the recycling plant in Ulaanbaatar have been provided. A total of 150 million MNT was allocated to the project from the state budget and, 8 equipment would be delivered to the 8 provinces at the end of the year.

When we look at the results of the projects and programs that were implemented in the last years, there is no reason to doubt the successful completion of the National Program for air and environmental pollution reduction. Yet we must keep in mind that our weak point is that we are good at approving programs or policy documents and bad at ensuring effective implementation of them. Hence it is important to avoid a repeat of mistakes by ensuring timely completion of the tasks and tight control over their progress.

Mongolian Economy