Breathless in India, home to 9 of 10 most polluted cities in the world

Decades of putting economic growth and infrastructure building first have taken a toll on India's environment. The industrial city of Kanpur illustrates the ill effects of such a policy.

Ms Naseema - who goes by one name - drops wood into a chulha, or traditional wood-fired stove, and fans the flames.

She is cooking lunch - dal (lentils) and roti - as smoke fills her 150 sq ft brick hut on a day with temperatures soaring above 40 deg C. It takes at least two hours and two kilos of wood to cook one meal.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2018, with the headline 'Breathless in India'. Print Edition | Subscribe