|Plan to Relocate Ger Districts to Reduce City Pollution|
The ger districts of Ulaanbaatar
needed to be moved to a better location in order to reduce air pollution, said
the Green coalition of Mongolia.
“The most efficient way to diminish the air pollution is the ecologically correct location of the ger districts. In other words, the ger districts need to be moved to a place which has the right wind direction. There is the full possibility to do this,” the Green coalition said.
In research conducted by scientists from the coalition, which grew out of the Green movement of Mongolia, it was found that 9100 hectares of houses needed to be moved. The average cost of one house evacuation was US $1000.
“The whole amount of this year’s budgetary income is MNT 1 trillion. Fifteen percent out of this amount is enough to be spent for the people’s health and security,” said O. Bumyalagch, head of the Green movement.
According to the research, it was possible to move ger districts from Bayanzurkh to Nalaikh district, and also to the western districts.
However, if the ger districts were moved, there would be problems with infrastructure in relocating the citizens.
“Why can’t the people who worry about their health and children and live in the city pay an additional MNT 10,000 each month?” said B. Naranbaatar, head of the research group from the Green coalition.
About US $ 1 million could be collected if the people living in apartments agreed to the charge. The Green coalition said that money would be used to move people from the ger districts to Nalaikh and other districts. As a result, people would be able to access transport twice an hour by bus from the edge of the city to downtown, and four times a day by train.
“Research shows that one family in a ger district produces 1kg of human waste a day. This means 130,000 households pollute the air with more than 130 tonnes of human waste each day. If this keeps happening every day, no healthy land will be left out of that 9100 hectares of land,” the research group members said.
Eighty-four percent of the air pollution in Ulaanbaatar comes from the ger district, nine percent from power stations and seven percent from cars.
The researchers said that the air we breathe was comprised of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and other gases. The World Air Quality Organization has set the maximum percentage for air pollution at 0.1 percent. It is considered dangerous if it exceeds more than six times that level.
According to research conducted by the Social Health Institute in 2003, nitrogen dioxide in Ulaanbaatar had increased 1.5 times more than the maximum amount; carbon under oxidation 4.2 times, and dust content 7.8 times
The Green coalition said: “It is a fact that a tonne of coal burned in household conditions diminishes the air breathed by 10 people a year. This means the air that seven-million people could breathe in a year is diminished in just half a year.”
In the air of Ulaanbaatar, Japanese scientists have detected an oxide with a quantity of 11 ml. This particular oxide can cause birth defects, sterility and a loss of bone density. The effects can take up to 30 years to manifest.
“Carbon under oxidation goes to the brain through the lungs and diminishes the amount of oxygen. Furthermore, it creates asthma and lung cancer. And it has a negative consequence for neonatals in inducing cerebral pressure,” said physician I. Enkhsaikhan.
Dr Enkhsaikhan said that an adult needed to breathe 16kg of fresh air a day. In order to maintain good health, people who breathed polluted air for five working days needed to breathe fresh air for 6-8 hours on the weekend.
According to research conducted by the Social Health Institute, 37,000 people suffered from respiratory diseases in 2005 and MNT 3 billion of state money was spent on medical treatment from the state. But according to the Green coalition, only 1.1 billion was necessary for prevention.
“Seventy-five percent of the population of Ulaanbaatar are people under 35. In the Constitution, it says a person has the right to live in a healthy and secure environment. But today health insurance has become some kind of symbol. The City Office should organize some work to let the citizens breathe fresh air, at least during the weekends” Dr Enkhsaikhan said.