Air pollution in the capital city of Mongolia has reached astounding levels for the relatively small size of the city. In 2019, Ulaanbaatar had an average AQI (Air Quality Index) of 154 – a level officially labeled as “unhealthy” (IQAir). People who are living in poverty in the Ger districts of Ulaanbaatar are suffering incredible health effects, especially children, due to the air pollution. Children who grow up in Ulaanbaatar will have a lung capacity only 40% that of their rural counterparts due to coal pollution. Furthermore, Children getting pneumonia “several times a year” is now considered “Normal in Mongolia” (Gardiner). The situation has gotten so bad that a pediatrician in Ulaanbaatar is on record saying, “I no longer know what a healthy lung sounds like” (Gardiner). It is clear that the air is unsafe to breathe due to the amount of coal pollution in the air, and that something must be done to address this. While the world begins the transition to green energy and pollution controls, it is the people living below the poverty line who will feel the impacts of pollution the most – and likely for decades to come. Our team fills in the gap for the need for an immediate solution that will directly impact the lives of people living in the ger districts of Mongolia.
Our solution comes in two parts. First, we will install solar-powered air filtration units in yurts to alleviate the negative health impact of the local air pollution. Second, we will retrofit yurts with efficient insulation, thereby retaining more stove heat and reducing overall combusted coal. That way we will be immediately helping those living in yurts, and also reducing combusted coal pollution as a whole.