Over 10 pct of Mongolia’s territory suffer severe drought

ULAN BATOR, July 24 (Xinhua) — More than 10 percent of Mongolia’s territory is suffering from a severe drought, said the country’s weather monitoring agency on Tuesday.
"Currently, about 90 percent of the total area of the country is in good summer condition," Danzan Sumiya, meteorologist from the National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring, said at a press conference.
But over 10 percent of the territory, including large parts of Bayankhongor province in the south-west, and some soums of provinces in the east, are suffering from drought, she said.
It has been raining heavily across large parts of Mongolia since the beginning of this month, causing flooding in some areas.
Until the recent pouring rain, nearly half of the country’s territory had experienced one of the worst droughts in its history, especially the provinces covered by the gobi desert.
Mongolia has a large nomad population of which 40 percent are dependent on rain-fed agriculture and animal husbandry for their livelihoods.

Mongolia bans grain exports as hottest temperatures in 56 years cause drought

ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) – Mongolia has suspended grain exports with as much as a third of its farmland suffering from severe drought after temperatures last month rose to the highest in more than half a century, agricultural officials said.
Temperatures in Mongolia reached their highest level in 56 years in June, according to weather reports, threatening crop production.
"This summer is really dry," said Odbayar, a spokesman with the Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment on Friday.
"Central and eastern Mongolia are most affected."
Authorities are also dealing with wildfires in Mongolia’s fragile steppe and desert environment.
Officials are concerned the droughts will lead to crop failures that will leave the country’s semi-nomadic herders with insufficient fodder to help sustain their animals through the country’s notoriously long and cold winter.
Mongolia frequently experiences conditions known as the "dzud", where freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of livestock.
The country has made the expansion of its agriculture sector a major priority to shield its economy from swings in resource commodities prices.
The IMF agreed to a $5.5 billion bailout with Mongolia earlier this year after a decline in copper and coal prices and falling demand from China sparked concerns that Mongolia would miss debt payment deadlines.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, temperatures in Mongolia have risen by 2 degrees Celsius in the last 70 years, three times faster than the global average.

Details sought of action taken to check air pollution

Details sought of action taken to check air pollution.
Kathmandu, April 11 The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has directed district coordination committees, metropolitan cities and municipalities of Kathmandu Valley to provide it with details of activities being undertaken to guarantee people’s right to live in a clean environment.
“All local levels are requested to explain in writing to the ministry as soon as possible what they have been doing to control pollution and protect human rights in accordance with the constitution and other laws in force while carrying out development activities in their jurisdiction,” read a letter written by Environment Management Section of the ministry yesterday.
Kathmandu has been dubbed as the seventh most polluted city in the world, thanks to environmental pollution.
Numbeo recently made public the pollution levels ranking of 290 cities around the world.
With pollution index 97.73, Kathmandu featured among the top ten along with Kabul, Afghanistan (103.92); Accra, Ghana (102.61); Tetovo, Macedonia (98.09); Faridabad, India (96.58); Cairo, Egypt (96.28) and Dhaka, Bangladesh (95.91); Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (95.34); Karachi, Pakistan (95.29) and Ghaziabad, India (95.27).
The cities were listed on the basis of air pollution and water pollution/accessibility followed by other pollution types.
PM 2.5 indicates the matter present in the air that are 2.5 microns or below.
These particles include dust, coal particles exited from power plants and home heating, car exhaust, and pollen from plants among others.
A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.