When Shyam Goel, 21, won admission to Mumbai's Marine Engineering & Research Institute, he was overjoyed.
The facilities could not be better. The school-affiliated hostel where he would live was neat. Yet two years later, he regrets leaving his hometown of Lucknow, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, to study at India's premier maritime institute.
Located near the port of India's booming financial capital, the institute, known as MERI, is nearly a stone's throw from enormous black mountains of imported coal.
The sea breeze lifts dust off the 19 acres of coal, dispersing particles that leave residents and MERI students vulnerable to potentially fatal respiratory...