d par-
ticulate matter (SPM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lead (Pb), carbon monoxide
(CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ozone (O3). Of these pollutants, the particulate matter
(PM) is one of the most critical pollutants responsible for the largest health and economic damages. Because of
the importance of the PM pollution for human health, visibility and the environment, many studies are focused
primarily on PM pollution as a target pollutant (Guttikunda et al., 2013).
In Ulaanbaatar city, enhancement of the air pollution and frame of pollutants is also due to its geographic lo-
cation and topography. Figure 3 shows a 3D satellite image of Ulaanbaatar. As seen from the image, the city is
surrounded by valley of mountains. Pollution sources tend to be concentrated, and in the weather phenomenon
Figure 1. 2011 satellite image of Ulaanbaatar city. 1-built-up area;
2-ger area; 3-forest; 4-grass; 5-soil; 6-water. The size of the area is
28 km × 20 km.
D. Amarsaikhan et al.
Figure 2. Main sources of air pollution: (a) ger area, (b) motor
vehicles, (c) power plants.
Figure 3. 3D Landsat satellite image of Ulaanbaatar city (View
looks from the west to the east).
known as thermal inversion, a layer of cooler air is trapped near the ground by a layer of warmer air above not
allowing for any dispersion of pollutants. In such a case, normal air mixing almost ceases and pollutants are
trapped in the lower layer. During winter periods, the effects of thermal inversion are enhanced because of lower
geo-potential or mixing-layer heights (Guttikunda, 2007).
3. Air Pollution Study
National Agency for Meteorology, Hydrology and Environmental Monitoring and National Air Quality Council
of Mongolia deal with air pollution monitoring at a national scale. Their tasks include determination of the
problems, collection of all data/information from air quality monitoring network, and creation of integrated da-
tabase for analysis and information sharing. It should be mentioned that the air pollution is a top priority issue
for the government, and its monitoring is very important.
Until 2006, Ulaanbaatar city had 4 fixed air quality monitoring stations and 15 mobile stations for regulatory
purposes. These 4 stations mainly located in the internal parts of the capital city only measured sulfur dioxide
(SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NO2) concentrations. Figures 4(a)-(c) show station locations and monthly average
sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides concentrations measured at the 4 stations in 2006. As seen, the stations 2 and
4, which are closer to central part, are indicative of urban signature. The studies from the monitoring data indi-
cate rise in the peak SO2 and NO2 concentration. However, SO2 pollution, which has sources similar to PM10,
confirms a direct linkage to growing trend in coal use. Similarly, growing vehicular population is one of the
primary causes for increased NO2 levels, a primary precursor for ground-level ozone pollution and secondary
contributor to PM2.5 pollution (Guttikunda et al., 2013). It could be seen that the 4 stations and their capabilities
were insufficient to cover a large area and conduct thorough air pollution related studies.
D. Amarsaikhan et al.
Figure 4. Station locations (a) and monthly average SO2 (b) and NO2 (c) concentrations
(Source: Guttikunda, 2007).
Over the last few years, technological capacity has been improved and many advanced techniques were in-
stalled for air pollution monitoring. This has given a chance to improve the quality of the research, meanwhile
covering more extensive spatial area of the capital city. For instance, a study conducted from 1 June 2009 to 31
May 2010 showed that the annual average concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, and SO2 measured at the station-2
were 165.1, 75.1, and 50.5 μg/m3 (17.7 ppb), accordingly. Concentrations were highest in winter, for example,
the mean (±SD) 24 hour PM2. 5 concentration from June to August) was 22.8 ± 9.0 μg/m3, while from December
to February the mean concentration was 147.8 ± 61.2 μg/m3. The 24 hour PM2. 5/ PM10 ratios were also highly
variable between seasons with the mean ratio of 0.26 ± 0.11 in summer and 0.78 ± 0.12 in winter (Ryan et al.,
2013). These are illustrated in Figure 5. Such analysis could be frequently made in all stations and improve a
decision-making process toward the pollution reduction.
Moreover, recently, some technological and methodological improvements have been made with the help of
some international organizations. For example, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) implemented a
project on capacity building and air pollution reduction of Ulaanbaatar city from March 2010 to March 2013.
Within the framework of the project, the Mongolian specialists acquired some advanced knowledge about mod-
ern techniques and methods for the solution of air pollution problems. As a result of the project, some very im-
portant recommendations were given and many results were obtained. One of the project outputs is shown in
Figure 6 (i.e. PM10 concentration map of the capital city). As seen from the Figure 6, the PM10 concentration is
high in the city center and is reduced in the urban fringes.
4. Measures to Reduce Air Pollution
There are some urban emission controlling methods used in most developing countries such as fuel switching to
gas and low-sulfur coal, the more wide-scale use of district heating systems, use of flue-gas desulphurization,
emission control equipment, energy efficient installations, and the use of advanced combustion technologies.
However, there are a large number of combustion sources that may be difficult to control, and the efficiency of
these technologies and levels of emission control remain low (Guttikunda, 2007). In case of Ulaanbaatar city,
the following actions could be considered for the reduction of emission and air pollution:
Efficiently improved power plant scrubbers;
Efficiently improved PP-4 electrostatic precipitators;
Use of flue gas desulphurization technologies for sulfur control in power plants;
Efficient NOx control in power plants;
D. Amarsaikhan et al.
Figure 5. Monthly distributions of 24 hour average (a) SO2, (b) PM10, (c) PM2.5, (d) PM2.5/
PM10 ratio (Source: Ryan et al., 201 3).
Figure 6. PM10 concentration map of Ulaanbaatar city (Source: Enhmaa & Toru, 2013).
Smoke-less coal for burning in ger districts;
Improved stoves for ger families;
Gasification and solar heaters for ger families;
Ash pond maintenance—brick making;
Reduction of local garbage burning;
Gasification of urban and solid waste;
Paved road dust reductionsweepers;
Use of solar heaters for winter camping and housing;
D. Amarsaikhan et al.
Abolishing of small scale boilers for heating;
Promotion of public transportation;
Encouragement of vehicle restriction through license plate numbers;
Inspection and elimination of older and too old vehicles;
Transfer of garbage/waste burning factories to eastern part of the city.
5. Conclusion
The aim of this study was to highlight the trend of air pollution and pollution sources in Ulaanbaatar city, Mon-
golia and conduct some air pollution analyses. It was seen that among many factors, smog of ger districts, motor
vehicles and power plants produced majority of air pollution. As seen from the analyses, besides many influen-
cing factors, geographic location and topography of the capital city played a major role for the air pollution
keeping. Because, a layer of cooler air was trapped near the ground by a layer of warmer air above, which was
not allowing for any dispersion of pollutants. In such a case, normal air mixing almost ceased and pollutants
were trapped in the lower layer. In addition, as part of the research, some suggestions for pollution reduction
were given.
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