Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Mongolia: A toxic warning to the world
Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia, a landlocked country in central Asia. It is also the largest city with a population of over 1.3 million, nearly half of the population of the country. Ulaanbaatar is also known as the world’s coldest capital, where minimum temperatures drop below minus 20 degrees Celsius in winter months, when many of the capital’s residents burn raw coal to heat their houses and coal-fired power stations run at their full capacity to supply enough electricity needed to warm the city.
Here is the problem. Since Ulaanbaatar lies in a valley where high mountains shield the city from winter winds, the smog caused by coal-burning stuck in the valley, resulting in disastrous air pollution. And who are the most vulnerable to air pollution? Young children. They suffer severe breathing problems and lung diseases even wearing masks. Indeed, Ulaanbaatar is not just the coldest but also the most air-polluted capital in the world. And it’s not hard to imagine what is happening to the surrounding environment.
Watch the video and learn the changes occurring in the grassland, herds and pastoral lives in Mongol.