A haze of polluted air has dimmed the glitter of the country's financial capital. A study conducted by the Maharashtra government with support from the World Bank revealed that increasing levels of carbon monoxide, suspended particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen had caused a proliferation of heart and respiratory diseases among Bombay's populace, who show a death rate 20 per cent higher than that for the rest of the state.
In the past 12 years, the incidence of breathlessness, cough, chest pain, and high blood pressure in most polluted parts of the city has gone up by 10 per cent. Winter sees a 20 to 30 per cent increase in cases related to asthma and bronchitis.
The looming danger galvanised private action in the form of a project on urban air, URBAIR, which has presented 30 recommendations to improve the city's air quality.