ULAN BATOR, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia will spend 75.2 billion Mongolian tugriks (28.5 million U.S. dollars) to improve air quality in its capital Ulan Bator in 2019, Minister of Environment and Tourism Namsrai Tserenbat said Monday.
"Air pollution is the most pressing issue in the capital city of Ulan Bator. The government allocated 75.2 billion Mongolian tugriks (28.5 million U.S. dollars) to reduce air pollution in the city in 2019," Tserenbat said.
"This year, we will focus on replacing low-grade coal with processed fuel," he said.
"We estimate that providing processed fuel for households in the capital's ger districts would reduce air pollution in the city by at least 50 percent," he added.
The Mongolian government has decided to stop burning low-grade coal in Ulan Bator from May 15 this year, in an effort to reduce air pollution.
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 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.