It is possible to produce disinfectants in Mongolia

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Until recently, households and organizations had almost no idea about disinfection and sterilization. Unless there are cockroaches or some insects in the house and office, disinfection was not given any forethought. But the spread of the coronavirus around the world has forced Mongolia to take disinfection and sterilization seriously.

As Mongolia imports 100 percent of the disinfectants used in the country, money continues to flow out. According to the National Statistical Office of Mongolia, in 2015, Mongolia had imported 94,535 kilogram of disinfectants, while in 2020, it has been imported 77,311 kilograms for only three months. This indicates that the usage of disinfectants will increase in the future. A total of 391,804 USD was spent on 77,911 kg of disinfectants imported from 13 countries, including China, the United States, South Korea, Russia, Germany, France and Singapore. At Tuesday’s exchange rate, it is 1.9 billion MNT was spent on imports of disinfectants since the beginning of the year. But it is possible to save this money. In other words, I would like to say that even if Mongolia does not produce 100 percent of the disinfectants used domestically, domestic manufacturing can seriously uplift certain industries.

Mongolian scientists have developed calcium oxide hydrate or hydrated lime, which has already been used in tanneries. The magic of lime continued to be studied because it can be widely used in many fields.

In the future, Mongolia will spend a lot of money on disinfection. Therefore, according to a study by the Institute of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, it was recommended to use the hydrated lime for disinfection and sterilization, which is natural and does not contain any harmful elements. The institute hopes that the government would support at least one producer when countries around the world are closing their borders, as economies weaken, and national producers face a crisis.

Scientists of Armono Corporation have extracted calcium oxide by burning natural limestone at high temperatures. Unlike imported lime, it does not contain contaminations of soil and stones, and it is 90-95 percent pure hydroxide calcium. Director B.Ochir of Bargil Tech LLC, which produces lime, spoke about the obstacles in using locally produced lime for disinfection and sterilization.
“The main pollutants in the capital city are ger district’s pit latrines. As a result, soil pollution in some areas has reached a depth of 70 meters. Furthermore, there are so many places with environmental pollution in the capital, namely, around markets and shopping malls, in the corners of apartments, in the flood dams and ditches. So our lime can be used to disinfect all these contaminated areas. During analysis of the bactericidal quality of the substance in the central laboratory of the General Agency for Specialized Investigation, it was found that it completely destroys bacteria caused by soil contamination, which causes intestinal infections. But it is impossible to use hydrated lime instead of all imported substances. It would be a better to at least disinfect the soil near flood dams and ditches, markets and shopping malls with the hydrated lime. It is commendable that the list of chemical substances used for disinfection and sterilization has been updated this year to include hydrated lime. However, in order to obtain a permit of production and sale, we need to submit the same documents as a private hospital or pharmaceutical company. In accordance with the procedures, the necessary materials were submitted to the Mayor's Office. I'm sure it will be supported,” he said.

B.Ochir noted that if hydrated lime is allowed to be used for disinfection and sterilization, Bargil Tech will be able to supply the substance at factory price. Since the tanneries are closed, the company lost its main customers. Currently, Bargil Tech is in a difficult position. The company said it keeping production going despite difficulties to maintain jobs.

High-alkaline hydrated lime is widely used for disinfection and sterilization in the United States and Europe. Particularly, some countries of the European Union have even legalized the usage of hydrated lime to decontaminate soil and sterilize sewage sludge and suppress odors. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended the usage of hydrated lime for disinfection and sterilization since lime is a natural mineral that is not harmful to the human body. According to German studies, chlorine lime is the most potent substance against the new coronavirus. However, the disinfectant with chlorine lime has a pungent odor and is very harmful to health, so some countries have begun to abandon the use of chlorine lime.

Hydrated lime is used to prevent a variety of infectious diseases in animals, to kill parasites, and to disinfect pets. Lime has the ability to stop the growth of greenhouse bacteria for a long time and to disinfect food storages, even vegetables and fruits. It is used in food additives, dental fillings, paper manufacturing, emulsion, and soil fertilizers. Although it cannot be widely used, at least if it is used for disinfection purposes, it will not only reduce the amount of imported disinfection substances, but also save costs for Mongolia.

There are other uses of hydrated lime as well. Bargil Tech company highlighted that it has introduced briquette binder with hydrated lime. Sulfur gas in briquettes is several times higher than the permissible level by WHO. The company has introduced the method to reduce it. There are more than 400 ways to reduce sulfur gas emissions from fuels, according to the company. The most effective of these is hydrated lime, which is the least expensive and most widely available raw material. In particular, briquette binder can bury sulfur in ash instead of releasing into the air. B.Ochir mentioned that hydrated lime absorbs sulfur gas and converts it into gypsum at the end of combustion. An analysis of briquette binder by the Ulaanbaatar Air Pollution Control Laboratory showed that the amount of sulfur gas was reduced fourfold. Therefore, the company cooperated with Tavan Tolgoi Fuel LLC to test whether the technology can be used in the production of briquettes.

Misheel Lkhasuren