ULAN BATOR, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of 160 million U.S. dollars to support Mongolian government's efforts to improve the air quality and health in Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator, the ADB said in a statement released Thursday.
"Air pollution in Ulan Bator has improved significantly, but there is still work to be done to protect the health of people in the city, especially children and those in ger areas that are highly exposed," said Pavit Ramachandran, ADB country director for Mongolia.
He said clean air is central to long-term and environmentally sustainable growth in Mongolia.
According to the Manila-based bank, it is the second loan to support improved policies, regulatory and institutional capacity, and actions to tackle air pollution in Ulan Bator.
Air pollution is a pressing challenge for Ulan Bator, where over 800,000 residents, half of its population, live in the city's ger districts, with no running water, central heating or sewage systems.
Ger residents use stoves and burn raw coal and other flammable materials to cook and keep warm during the region's six-month-long winter, a practice believed to be responsible for an estimated 80 percent of the air pollution in the capital city.
The Mongolian government has been striving to improve air quality in Ulan Bator by taking various measures, including the banning of burning low-grade coal for domestic use.