Polluted city

I mentioned in the below post that the pollution in UB is bad.

I wasn’t kidding.

The annual average particulate matter concentrations are 14 times higher than WHO’s recommended level.

Some reports consider it to be the second most polluted city in the world. In other words, it’s worse than Beijing.

It is seasonal pollution though. It is mainly related to the burning of coal, wood, tyres (yep, bad) but wait it gets words… dogs. A local told me this. I was horrified, as I can imagine you are. I guess what they were trying to get across is that when you need to keep warm, you will burn anything. There are also coal-fired power plants that spew smoke over the city, which is a valley surrounded by mountains that trap the pollution.

On a good day

On a bad day

Around town

I’m going to make the effort to put up more pix of what UB looks like.

For two reasons: 1) I get the sense you guys are genuinely interested in seeing these pix. People often ask me what it looks like, and I guess my response of: ‘Kind of like a deserted Soviet outpost, on account of it being a deserted Soviet outpost’ doesnt’ really help.

The second reason I will be posting more pix is because it’s an easy way to keep this blog updated now  I have found myself a job.

I blame this whole job business on Kai. He was in a meeting, they mentioned the need for someone to help with communications, he suggested they give me a call. So they did. And now my days of updating blogs and playing Bridge are over.

I try not to complain too much, because it really is an excellent opportunity. I am working for the internal change management communications team. There is no shortage of work to be done, and when you’re talking change management in a land like Mongolia… well, there’s no shortage of challenges either.

But it does mean my hilariously funny blog posts will be less frequent (feel free to blame Kai for this too). Ergo, I shall attempt to satiate your Shantasia appetitie with photos from around the traps. Deal? Ok, good.

Let’s start with these:

This is within our apartment compound, walking home from the grocery store (about a five minute walk away). Every time I see the mountains in the background, I can't help but think that old mate Chinggis Khan once roamed around there. That's pretty cool...

Taken from the window of the Irish Castle pub, which is right next to the supermarket we were walking home from in the above shot. We live about 4km from the city. It's a straight run into town on this road. In this photo you can see the pillow of smog that clouds the city. It's from a number of pollution sources, but namely the fires they burn in the Ger district to keep warm.

Taken from the 11th floor of my office building. You can see Sükhbaatar Square in the distance, which is right in front of Government Palace. The reason I took this photo was because of the protesters gathering in the square.

This was the group of protesters gathering. We had been given a security warning that they might attempt to enter our building to protest against one of the other companies that are located there. They didn't. The trade unions are basically protesting a heap of domestic issues including high cost of food and fuel. It's election year (elections are in June), and the protests will only get more heated and intense.