For the second year in a row Moscow has been the world’s most expensive city. After calculating the cost of housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment Moscow is 34.4 percent more expensive than New York. The Russian capital is choked with luxury cars, upscale construction projects and a new financial self-esteem. If Lenin had ever been buried he’d be rolling in his grave now.
But all of the economic progress is coming at what cost? Over the past two years escalating numbers of vehicles on the roads put a stifling strain on the environment. Today Moscow has nearly 3,000,000 cars. Gray-brown noxious haze of smog covers the streets filled with jam-packed traffic, which blows out tons of unhealthy exhaust fumes of carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals. Additionally there are 12 huge heat power stations, 53 district heating stations and 3,000 industrial enterprises still operating within the city borders. As a result concentrations of harmful substances often exceed maximum allowable by 10-20 times.
The level of air pollution varies from one neighborhood of the city to another. This accounts for the variability of child health levels. In the most severely polluted areas the prevalence of childhood bronchial asthma is much higher, and the cases of disharmonious physical development among children are more frequent.
Several government programs were designed to combat air pollution with a target to bring Moscow back down to EU standards by 2010. But those are just optimistic plans considering the severe present conditions