ULAN BATOR, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian government announced on Wednesday it would impose a ban on the burning of low-grade coal for domestic use in its capital Ulan Bator beginning on May 15, 2019, in an effort to reduce air pollution.
This decision does not apply to the thermal power plants operating in Ulan Bator, the Mongolian government press office said in a press statement Wednesday.
The Mongolian Government has ordered the mayor of the capital city and relevant ministers to study production, sales and price reduction of processed fuel.
It is estimated that it is possible to replace the low-grade coal consumed by the residents of Ulan Bator with 600,000 tons of processed fuel.
In other words, a household that burns 4-5 tons of coal in the six-month-long winter season will use 3 tons of processed fuel. Using the processed fuel is economically beneficial and eco-friendly than burning low-grade coal. Coal is purchased at 170,000 MNT (71 U.S. dollars) per ton. Five tons of coal will cost 850,000 MNT (355 U.S. dollars) whereas three tons of processed coal will cost 660,000 MNT (275 U.S. dollars), thus saving 190,000 MNT (79 U.S. dollars).
The Mongolian government hopes that replacing low-grade coal with processed fuel will sharply reduce air pollution.
Air pollution is the most pressing issue for the Mongolian capital.
More than 800,000 residents, over half of Ulan Bator's population, live in slums, also known as ger districts. They have to rely on burning raw coal and other flammable materials such as plastics, old tires to stay warm and cook meals during the six-month-long winter season.
It is estimated that 80 percent of air pollution in Ulan Bator is caused by ger stoves. The rest is caused by transportation, thermal power plants, and solid wastes.