Deep water contamination found 47m underneath surface www.zgm.mn
Ulaanbaatar Environmental Department (UED), under the support from United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), organized Ulaanbaatar City Soil Pollution and Health discussion to present the results of a study on soil, which addresses critical level of pollution.
The survey, which sampled the soil in Ulaanbaatar city, shows that 88 percent of the territory has been highly polluted with bacterial contamination according to Battulga Erkhembayar, Director General of UED. Furthermore, Mr. Battulga highlighted the necessity to focus on soil pollution and health issues caused by urbanization that are close to danger level.
The UED also conducted a survey on ground breaks recently. The study unearthed several soil erosion caused by mining a mineral that is widely used for constructions. Based on these studies, the UED decided to restore these areas by planting trees and bushes that soak up pollutants and developing apiculture (beekeeping) in areas that have fewer species of plants.
Mr. Battulga addressed, “Regarding the apiculture, bees pollinate plants. This project model was implemented in a locally protected area near Selbe river and was successful. Thus, we will support private entities, especially the beekeepers, next year. Starting from January 1 of next year, households living near river basins will be banned from using pit latrine. This is a significant step towards securing clean water source in the capital.”
Participants pointed out that pit latrines are the main cause for soil pollution in the capital. As of today, about 800,000 households live in ger districts in Ulaanbaatar, of which 95 percent use long drops. In total, there are 190,000 pit toilets in Ulaanbaatar. The highest contamination is around 2.8 meters underneath surface, which is the average depth of a long drop. Furthermore, the study also confirms that the soil pollution is contaminating deep water with microorganisms. In specific, the study on 1.5 meter deep well, which is closest to the surface, came out with high pollution and the deepest (47 meters in depth) well was also had certain amount of contamination.
According to the UED, the lack of waste management is another factor for soil contamination. Thus, the capital city officials addressed the immediate need to install waste segregation system and as its first step, to adapt waste monitoring system. In order to address this issue, over 10 private and public organizations conduct soil surveys; however, due to lack of coordination, ineffective projects and overlapped surveys are conducted. Thus, the discussion further picked up on improving coordination.