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Mongolia: Environmental Concerns
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Geography > Environmental Concerns


After many years of uncritical fostering of industrial and urban growth, Mongolia's authorities became aware in the late 1980s of the environmental costs of such policies. Belated Soviet concern over the pollution of Lake Baykal encouraged Mongolian actions to preserve their counterpart Hovsgol Nuur, which is linked to Lake Baykal through the Selenge Moron. A wool-scouring plant that had been discharging wastes into Hovsgol Nuur was closed; truck traffic on the winter ice was banned; and the shipping of oil in barges on the lake was stopped. Deforestation in the Hangayn Nuruu, had reduced the flow of northern Mongolia's rivers, which were polluted by runoff from the fertilized and pesticide-treated grain fields along their banks, by industrial wastes, and by untreated sewage from growing settlements. Ulaanbaatar -- located in a valley -- with factories and 500,000 inhabitants who depend on soft coal, had severe air pollution, especially when the air was still and cold in winter. Deforestation, overgrazing of pastures, and efforts to increase grain and hay production by plowing up more virgin land had resulted in increased soil erosion, both from wind and from heavy downpours of the severe thunderstorms that bring much of Mongolia's rain. In the south, the desert area of the Gobi was expanding, threatening the fragile gobi pasturelands. The government responded by founding the Ministry of Environmental Protection in 1987 and by giving increased publicity to environmental issues.

Data as of June 1989

Last Updated: June 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mongolia was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 49 of 199


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