Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ulaanbaatar's Pollution Through a Magnifying Glass

It’s 6:50 a.m. in the morning. I wake up next to my beeping alarm clock to see the usual blanket of smoke covering the city in my view through the window. With a cup of coffee in hand and its aroma enveloping the room, I look at the poetically beautiful but realistically lethal sight: smoky Ulaanbaatar. In the sky, a beautiful dark gray to blue gradient spans from the north to the south, and a navy blue streak is followed by a thick swatch of dark gray, and then by a softer gray from the sky to the ground.

The smell of smoke fills my nostrils and lungs as I take the first step out of what seems to be my safe haven, my home. It instantly triggers a minor headache. What we jokingly say often is that we Mongolians are a fast-adapting people, and that we’ve probably already adapted to the smoke. Some have uttered this phrase so much that they actually believe it themselves. According to E.Undarmaa, a teacher at the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, you don’t want your body to adapt to pollution. “It’s not even adapting, your cells are changing for the worse,” she says.

I instantly put on my air filtration mask, hoping to God it doesn’t ruin my makeup or that it doesn’t imprint itself on my face. The mask’s exterior seems to be resembling the gray shade I so often see every morning. I’ve only worn it for four days.

Read the full article @ UB Post

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