10,000 Mongolians demonstrated against air pollution

Journalist A.Odontuya

2017-01-30 09:50 GMT+8

Second demonstration against air pollution under slogan "We are mad ass hell" was held at Sukhbaatar square on Jan 28th, demanding officials to take immediate actions on reducing air pollution for the well-being of children. Over 10,000 residents have attended the demonstration and signed applications that have submitted to the Application standing committee of State Great Khural

Air pollution has soared to hazardous levels in the most areas of Ulaanbaatar city, exceeding 120 times the limit, as compared with the World Health Organization safe level of 25. Today levels of PM2.5 particulates, which are the most hazardous to health, are reaching 3000 micrograms per cubic meter in heavily polluted areas of the city. 

Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia is home to about 1,372,000 residents. Every winter, residents of Ulaanbaatar city are suffering from hazardous levels of air pollution caused by rising ger districts, where people live with no access to central heating system and rely on coal-burning stoves to survive temperatures that fall below minus 35 degrees Celsius. 

80 percent of air pollution comes from those ger district households. Result of the study conducted by the end of 2015 reveals that Ulaanbaatar city has 214 thousand ger district households, of which 30 percent of them burn items that are extremely harmful to human health such as, animal fat, plastic ware and old tires. Those are families with low income, fighting with cold to survivie. 

Demonstration organizers have promised to demonstrate again if the Government of Mongolia and City Governor`s Office won`t respond to their application. 

At the first demonstration that was held on Dec 26th, 2016, over 4000 Mongolian parents gathered at the Sukhbaatar Square to raise their voices against air pollution and collected more than 2700 applications. 

Demonstration participants have marched from the West four intersection (Baruun durvun zam) to Sukhbaatar square, holding black balloons that represent our damaged lungs caused by air pollution. Moreover, artists have joined the demonstration and performed concert at Sukhbaatar square.

Researcher Alimaa said: "We breathe polluted air for 120 days in a year. In 2017, the Government has budgeted MNT 5 billion on reducing air pollution. However, total of MNT 13 billion is collected annually from tax on imported vehicles and vehicle payments. We want to get acquaint with the expenditure of this income".

Demonstrators hung the balloons on the fence around the Government House, aiming to show that around 500 children nationwide die annually due to air pollution. 

"We want to live"

"Air pollution is violence"

"Air pollution is violence"

"Chidren die from air pollution"

"Air pollution is silent killer"

"We are mad as hell"

Photo credit: B.Byamba-Ochir

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