Is Air Pollution a Problem in Mongolia?

Air pollution or grasslands – which is more likely to come to mind when you think of Mongolia? Air purifiers and air pollution masks certainly aren’t top on the packing list when people are heading off to Mongolia, but should they?

Dirty HEPA air filter in Mongolia
A HEPA filter used in Mongolia

According to The Guardian, Ulan Bator is the world’s second most polluted mega city. From 2008-2011, small air pollution particles (PM2.5) averaged nearly 150 micrograms. In 2014, Beijing averaged 98 micrograms; the WHO annual limit at the time was 10 micrograms.


Is it a bustling manufacturing sector? Manufacturing is still a tiny percentage of the Mongolian economy. Cars filling the streets? Not that either.


It turns out, most of Ulaanbaatar pollution is from people burning coal to keep warm. A little heat is necessary where winter temperatures dip to -40 C.

Yet all that air pollution causes 1 in every 10 deaths in the capital, according to an academic study. That makes clean air an urgent need in this city of 1.2 million people.

What can you do to protect yourself from air pollution? Smart Air came up with a novel idea of strapping a filter to a fan, to create simple, low cost and effective air purifiers. In 2015, we hosted our first-ever Mongolia DIY air purifier workshops in Ulaanbaatar!

Since then, we’ve established ourselves as the go-to people for air purifiers and air pollution in Ulaanbaatar and Mongolia. We’re still running air pollution workshops. If you want to learn how DIY air purifiers can help remove dangerous particulate pollution from inside the home, send us an email and we’ll run a workshop for you! We’ll explain how even the priciest purifiers use a fan to push air through a HEPA filter. Workshop participants will make their own air purifier in just 10 minutes, and they’ll take it home to start breathing easier right away.

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Smart Air is a social enterprise and certified B-Corp that offers simple, no-nonsense air purifiers and provides free education to protect people from the harms of air pollution. We are proud to be the only certified B-Corp dedicated to fighting air pollution.

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