The impact of the Project will be improved quality of life in ger (traditional) housing areas resulting from air quality improvements in Ulaanbaatar.
The outcome will be a reduction in the coal and firewood consumption of target households. The output will be improved ger insulation for about 4,000 target poor households.
The activities consist of (i) implementation of a pilot project involving the addition of highly insulated ger blankets for about 4,000 households in the ger district in Ulaanbaatar; and (ii) consulting services, which will include baseline and impact surveys, household selection, training for local ger blanket manufacturers to improve the blanket quality while reducing production costs, business model development, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) assessment, consultation and knowledge dissemination, workshops, and grant management.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Mongolia has an extremely harsh winter climate with an 8-month heating season. Mid-winter (late December and early January) daytime temperatures are minum 10 dgree C to minus 30 degree C, and can drop to as low as minus 40 degree C at night. Ulaanbaatar, where more than 60% of the population lives, is the coldest capital city in the world. There is severe winter air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, which is a major cause of the rise in serious respiratory problems among urban inhabitants. An estimated 23% of air pollution comes from ger areas, and is caused by burning low quality coal for space heating in inefficient stoves to heat minimally insulated ger.
There has been a major movement into Ulaanbaatar of rural families seeking job opportunities. They create informal settlements (the ger district) around the city, where about 60% of the population (135,000 households) in Ulaanbaatar now live in a combination of small traditional nomadic ger (typically 25 square meters) and small houses (typically 24-32 square meters), which are mostly informally constructed. In 2006 the incidence of poverty in Ulaanbaatar was 20%, compared to the national average of 32%. The total population of Ulaanbaatar is about 1 million; most of its poor residents (204,000 people or 46,000 households) live in the ger district.
The Government has passed three resolutions relating to the reduction of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, and improvement of ger insulation is a key activity. The country strategy and program (2006-2008) identifies inclusive social development as one of the two strategic pillars; better urban services, environment and housing for the poor are targeted as key outcomes.
Based on preliminary estimates in 2006, the key contributors to ambient concentrations of particulate pollution are the ger district (23%), power plants (mainly thermal power plant number 3, 34%), and heat-only boilers (16%). Concentrations of particulates less than 10 micrometers in diameter (PM10, measured in parts per million) are attributable to the burning of about 650,000 tons (t) annually of lignite and other low quality fuels in the ger district. The households use rudimentary steel stoves with simple combustion chambers and short chimneys; the stoves contribute 40%-50% of winter PM10 concentrations. Coal supplied to households is mined mainly from artisanal mines around Nalaikh city, some of which are unlicensed. Both urban ger and small private houses are estimated to use an average of about 5t of coal ($125-$210) and 1.5t of fuel wood per year, primarily for space heating in winter. Recent studies suggest that the energy use in ger and small private houses could be halved with optimal levels of insulation, and halved again with high-efficiency stoves.
Ger were traditionally insulated with only one layer of felt in summer and two or even three layers in winter. More recently, prior to 1990, most ger were insulated with either two layers of felt or one layer of felt and a winter insulation blanket of cotton from Central Asian countries. However, since the 1990 post-Soviet Union economic contraction in Central Asia and the adoption of market pricing for Central Asian cotton, this form of insulation is now no longer cost-effective. The existing cotton insulation blankets are now worn out and mostly ineffective. It is estimated that 30% of urban ger (about 41,000 households) are insulated in winter with just a single insulating layer (for an R value of around 1.0, and an R-value of 0.5 for one layer of felt). Ger are generally occupied by families with the lowest incomes and no savings, whose winter incomes are often limited. The poor insulation forces households to spend MNT1,000-MNT2,000 ($1-$2) daily to purchase about 25 kilograms (kg) of domestic fuel. This expense accounts for over 50% of average household income.
The air pollution-related health impacts are also on the rise in Ulaanbaatar. The particulates (PM10, PM2.5, and secondary PM due to sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions) cause negative health effects when inhaled by people working and living indoors, where cooking and heating is done using coal. These health effects include premature death, acute respiratory illness, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function. Those especially at risk include the poor, undernourished, very young and very old, and people with preexisting respiratory disease and other ill health. In ger areas where population density is high and there is a high concentration of coal combustion units, the concentration of indoor and outdoor particulate matter in winter greatly exceeds the World Health Organization standard, and the incidence rates for related health effects are much higher than in other areas.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pilot-tested highly insulated ger blankets in 440 ger under the Commercialization of Super-Insulated Buildings in Mongolia project in 2005 and 2006. It was rated as a very successful project according to an independent evaluation in February 2007. Household fuel consumption was lowered by a factor of between 2 and 3: households saved MNT110,000-MNT180,000 ($90-$150) annually in fuel expenditures, accounting for 30%-50% of their annual expenditures. Households also reduced their solid wastes by 200 to 600kg/year. The aggregate carbon dioxide emission reduction by the sample of 390 ger was 1,462.5t/year, according to a survey by the Mongolian University of Sciences and Technology. However, it is estimated that there are still about 41,000 poor households living in under-insulated ger in Ulaanbaatar.