Public hearing on measures to combat air pollution set next month

2019-10-15 12:05:56

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. On October 14, Parliament Speaker G.Zandanshatar held a meeting to discuss air pollution reduction and refined coal consumption in the city, gathering some parliament members and government officials at the helm of reduction of air pollution, including Ministers of Environment and Energy and Ulaanbaatar city Mayor S.Amarsaikhan and so on.  

Highlighting the lack of information on the use of refined coal among the public, the Parliament Speaker said that he had visited several families living in Ger areas of Ulaanbaatar city over the last weekend to get acquainted with their use and view of refined coal to replace the now-illegal raw coal burning. In regard to it, he gave orders to corresponding officials to deliver guidance regarding proper use of refined coal and household ventilation and heating system to residents in Ger areas. 

According to officials' reports at the meeting, some of the tests on refined coal samples delivered to foreign laboratories in China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have also already concluded that the coal manufactured by the Tavan Tolgoi Fuel company does not contain any substances to damage human health. 

Ulaanbaatar Mayor S.Amarsaikhan reported that during the period from October 3 to 14, a total of 273 people suffered from what is believed to be carbon monoxide poisoning, among which 7 people, including two children, died. “Presently, identification of their causes and preventive measures against such incidents are being carried out, namely, ensuring sufficient supply of refined coal, increasing the number of sales points, delivering consumer manual to users, supporting families who cannot afford refined coal, installing CO detectors and the alike. 

Minister of Environment and Tourism N.Tserenbat at the meeting introduced about works being done by the National Committee on air pollution reduction, which include ban on burning raw coal, tax exemption on electrical heating and wood and wooden materials as well as free nighttime electricity for which the government is spending MNT 23 billion for this year. 

Following the reports by officials, Parliament Speaker said “Ulaanbaatar, the coldest capital in the world and a home to a large number of Ger dwellers, is in need of a unique solution and good technology to fight against air pollution”. He gave orders to establish an independent working group involving public, private organizations, civil society, media representatives and citizens to ensure coordination and implementation of the National Committee on Air Pollution reduction, reinforce public awareness on refined coal and maintain standards on air quality monitoring stations, work on replanting of the city and building satellite cities, and implement mid and long term plan in the Asian Development Bank’s recommendation on air pollution, which encompasses various measures of raw coal ban, ensuring participation of private sector in ‘clean coal’ production, supporting electric furnace and heaters and intensifying transition to apartments. 

The meeting concluded to organize an open hearing on the implementation of these orders by the National Committee of Air pollution reduction next month.