Mongolia's president says air pollution in capital disastrous

ULAN BATOR, Jan. 11 (Xinhua)-- Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj on Wednesday said the air pollution and smog are disastrous in the capital while urging the strict enforcement of a recent ban on the inflow of migrants until next year.
During a public discussion, Elbegdorj said the pollution in Ulan Bator has reached a level of national disaster, and poses a health problem.
It is necessary to ban migration to the capital, he added.
Studies blame 80 percent of the local air pollution on the burning of raw coal, plastics and rubber tires by the about 300,000 households living in slum areas.
The city is currently home to a population of about 1.3 million, out of a national total of 3 million, putting its infrastructure under severe pressure.
Thousands of Mongolians swarm to Ulan Bator every year, and end up living in slum areas where there is little government control. They usually burn raw coal and other inflammables for heating and cooking, thus turning Ulan Bator into one of the world's most polluted cities.
Government and international efforts since 2000 to reduce the pollution have mostly been ineffective, including the discounted sale of fuel-efficient stoves to some 176,000 households.
In addition, many people already deem the migration ban as a failure.
"I doubt that the UB (Ulan Bator) mayor can actually stop the migration. It will be hard for police to check every car coming to the city and ask for their ID cards. Also, it is common for Mongolians to live in another place without registration," said Mongolian economist Damba Lkhagvasuren on social media.

Source:Xinhua News Agency


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