Inability to tackle air pollution to cause 5,200-14,000 deaths by 2024

ZGM DAILY

2019-02-01 11:00 GMT+8

PRESIDENT REQUESTS PROSECUTOR GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE AIR POLLUTION REDUCTION BUDGET

Scientists have warned that the inaction to air pollution will result in 5,200-14,000 death. Urged by the foreboding statement, the President of Mongolia Battulga Khaltmaa sent an official letter to the General Prosecutor’s Office to demand accountability from the authorities behind the potential misuse of air pollution reduction budget last week.

“State policies and decisions on air pollution reduction have become prey for profit-seekers and all the frivolous decisions, such as smokeless stoves and solid fuels have clogged the situation to its current state. For instance, the new development and mid-term program approved by the Parliament’s 36th resolution of 2010 is one of them,” read the letter.

Between 2008 and 2016, Mongolia has spent a total of MNT 164.1 billion, raised USD 104.7 million from foreign loans and USD 48.6 million in non-refundable aid. Regardless of numerous actions, the air pollution became worse in the capital, overreaching the disastrous level.

Considering the time and spent on combating air pollution, as well as the results, people’s lives and actual condition that is harming public health, the President suspects potential criminal violence in related government bodies and authorities, including abuse of power, bribery, negligence of duty and improper use of state budget. 

“...thus, I ask the Prosecutor to pay serious attention to the matter that is gravely violating Mongolians’ rights to live in a safe and healthy environment, investigate the violations in air pollution reduction projects, and take immediate actions in demanding responsibility from the criminals,” stated the President.

In response to his submission of the letter, General Prosecutor of Mongolia Enkh-Amgalan Magvannorov remarked, “President addressed the air pollution issue when he first met me after his election. Accordingly, we have conducted a certain investigation and, in cooperation with the Independent Authority Against Corruption and the General Police Department, opened a criminal case on December 12, 2017.

The investigation is progressing at a slower phase. The data collected between 2008 and 2017 indicates that a total of MNT 129.4 billion was spent from the State budget, MNT 30 billion from Ulaanbaatar city budget and over USD 100 million from international organizations. As we already know, the air pollution in Ulaanbaatar did not reduce. The law enforcers will pay extra attention to the matter. Owing to the fact that air pollution reduction actions were implemented for over a decade, it is taking a significant amount of time to investigate the matter in details.

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