Ulaanbaatar - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality is horrible for over half of the year. If you have asthma or breathing issues you do not want to move here. - Jan 2024

Good in the summer; very bad in the winter. - Aug 2022

Terrible in the winter, however, I find that even though the AQI is horrible, I would take Mongolian air pollution over Chinese air pollution any time. The spring, summer and fall here are absolutely beautiful and the AQI is almost always healthy. The winter is when they burn coal and it is quite bad near the embassy (the pollution really depends on which part of the city you are in). However, it usually clears up in the afternoon and because it's always sunny in Mongolia it doesn't have the same effect as living in Chengdu. - Jan 2022

Not good at all in the winter. People with respiratory issues may want to think twice about this Post. - Sep 2020

Very bad but improving in winter, due to burning coal for heat. Can be mitigated with air filters and face masks. - Aug 2020

The air pollution is terrible in the winter, so you'll need to wear a mask. Because of that, if you have asthma or breathing conditions then it will affect you. People try to leave the city on weekends to get clean air. The summer still has moderate pollution. - Jul 2019

See above. Terrible, simply terrible winter air pollution from October through March/April. Some children develop respiratory problems. Face masks are a necessity. - Oct 2016

Seriously bad in winter - according to WHO the worst air quality of any capital city. Half of the population lives in traditional tents, using coal for heating. The result is heavy smoke that gets trapped in the valley which UB finds itself in, and which functions as a natural windbreak. Heavy duty air purifiers are essential, as are regular excursions outside of UB for a breath of fresh air. Air quality in summer is fine. - Feb 2015

Ulaanbaatar is the most polluted city in the world in the wintertime. The combination of coal-fired stove smoke from the gers, the coal-fired and unscrubbed smoke from the power plants and the automobile exhaust is horrendous. Face masks when outside and air purifiers in your home are required. Bronchitis is common. The pollution mostly clears up by April and returns in November. - May 2012

2nd worst in the world. - Feb 2012

The world's worst level of pollution occurs during winter, which is from October - April. Mongolians are still very much a traditional nomadic people. Gers (gares), which look like big tents, are the traditional housing for Mongolians. Gers do not have indoor plumbing or electricity so heat is provided by coal-burning stoves. Mongolians will burn almost anything, including tires, to stay warm. The U.S. Embassy is located in a geographical bowl, with mornings being the worst; with visibility reduced to less than 100 yards. Summer is the best time to be be in this country. The air is barely polluted and visibility is at its best. - Feb 2011

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