“For the nearly 1.5 million residents of the capital, Ulan Bator, the misery of winter is defined almost singularly by the smoke rising out of the city’s chimneys. Since 2016, in addition to being the world’s coldest capital city, it has also had the distinction of being the one with the highest recorded levels of air pollution, surpassing notoriously polluted megacities like Beijing and New Delhi.
According to local government figures, around 80 percent of Ulan Bator’s air pollution is produced by just over half the population, living in the so-called ger districts in the north of the city, named for the traditional nomadic dwelling central to Mongolians’ herding lifestyle.
In recent years, the predominantly lower- to middle-income migrant workers who reside in these unplanned districts have been burning over a million tons of raw coal per year.”
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