Why not have a data-driven discourse on air pollution in Ulaanbaatar?

For ease of access all in one place, herewith my twitter thread on air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, according to data. The motivation was simple: with all the attention to the terrible state of winter-time air pollution, and to its adverse health effects, many reach the conclusion that what has been tried in the past did not work. This, however, is only partially true. A more careful look at what the data say, data on both levels of air pollution and on interventions, suggests that discarding past programs would be a mistake.

Here is the thread, with some later “conversations” on technology also pasted in.


After the thread went out, there was a subsequent conversation about technology.

There was also a discussion about how to interpret very low or missing values in the US embassy data.

A reminder: The analysis and charts were mine, not that of the US embassy or the program that publishes the data. Mistakes from analysis, if any, are mine, not theirs.

In fact, there was one mistake, which I corrected in a subsequent tweet.

Finally, I had an off-line conversation with a colleague about the air pollution monitoring app I referred to in the first tweet.  I have two apps, and both give similar information. One is called O2 from agaar.mn . You can see the map of downtown (screenshot on the left, notice how localized it can be) and tap on any station to see live and recent hourly readings for different pollutants (screenshot in the center). Another app is AirVisual, which links data from testing stations around the world. There is less information on Mongolia, but gives some comparative perspective (screenshot on the right).

TEMP - apps

One comment

  1. Cleaner stoves and cleaner fuels only go so far. The only real solution is to insulate the hell out of the whole city. Which costs money, but the effect is instant, and for ever.

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