Winter in the City

It hasn’t been unbearably cold yet, but winter is here, and so is the pollution. Outside of our home you can smell the smoke, but other areas of town are worse. This week I went by the embassy, and I couldn’t believe the pollution.

The embassy is super close to a ger district, a big source of pollution. The ger districts are not connect to the city’s heating system, and the homes must burn fires to keep warm. For at least the past two weeks, Tom usually smells like campfire when he gets home (the embassy has filtered air but, as I learned this week, it only takes a short time outside in the smoke for your hair to absorb that smell).

Below is a picture of the embassy area today, and one I took in July (different angles, but you get the idea). Yikes. We haven’t even had too many nights below 0°F yet. This is of course terrible for the city and its residents, especially the majority that live in the most polluted areas and don’t have air filters.  There population has soared in recent years and there is a power plant in the works, but right now the situation is pretty bad.

You should be able to see beyond that building in the center, but the pollution is too thick.
You should be able to see beyond that building in the center, but the pollution is too thick.
The ger districts near the embassy in the summertime.
The ger districts near the embassy in the summertime.
This was taken a month ago when we were flying in from Turkey.
This was taken a month ago when we were flying in from Turkey.

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