Rome Newsroom, Aug 28, 2023 / 01:00 am
While thoughts of Mongolia can conjure up images of nomadic peoples traversing wide-open steppes on horseback, the country’s more densely-populated capital has the ignominious reputation of being among the most polluted capital cities in the world, especially in winter.
Pope Francis is set to land in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar on Sept. 1, which is the Church’s World Day of Prayer for Creation, a day the pope established in 2015 after publishing his landmark environmental encyclical Laudato Si’.
As the pope recently revealed that he is writing a second part to Laudato Si’ that will address “recent environmental crises,” Francis is likely to make “care for our common home” a key theme of his Mongolian trip from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.
The Mongolian capital’s air quality grew so toxic in 2018 that a United Nations agency issued a report deeming it a “child health crisis.” Measurements of fine particles in the air that can be absorbed from the respiratory tract into the bloodstream called PM2.5 found the level to be 133 times what the World Health Organization considers safe.