New Delhi: One of the Seven Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal has been battling pollution, be it of air or water caused by industries, for years. Raising concerns over the harmful impacts of pollution on the Taj Mahal, Chandrakant Khaire, Member of Parliament from Aurangabad district, raised questions during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
Posing the questions to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Mr. Khaire asked whether the marble of the Taj Mahal is getting dis-colored due to air pollution. In response to this question, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State in the Ministry quoting the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said in a written reply,
Pollutants from various sources have been superficially depositing on the marble surface of Taj Mahal as particulate matter and due to scattering of light by these particles, the marble surface of Taj Mahal appears to have changed in color.
The color of the Taj Mahal has changed over the years from white to first yellow and now brownish and greenish in color.
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The bacteria from the polluted River Yamuna are also a threat to the monument, according to experts.
Swarms of bugs are breeding in the stagnant water and infesting the marble walls of the monument, resulting in greenish black patches in several places of the intricate floral inlay works.
According to Mr. Braj Khandelwal, the founder ofRiver Connect Campaign, a people’s movement in Agra to save the River Yamuna,
Due to pollution and lack of flowing water, all the structure built on the bank of Yamuna are bound to collapse sooner than later.
When asked by Mr. Khaire whether the foundation of Taj Mahal was becoming weak due to polluted water of River Yamuna, Mr. Sharma, citing the ASI, said,
The water level of the river was away from the northern wall of the monument. Therefore, a specific study on the link between Yamuna water and the strength of the foundation of Taj Mahal has not been conducted.
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Archaeological Survey Of India To Take Up Cleaning and Protection of the Taj
Mr. Khaire asked about the efforts being made by the government for protecting the Taj Mahal. To this, the Minister of State replied that to restore the beauty of the Taj Mahal, ASI has formulated scientific cleaning and conservation plan. The plan includes protecting the surface of Taj Mahal from deposited pollutants. He said,
All four minarets, eight facades, four pedestal marble walls, the interior portion of periphery up to human height and four chhatris at the rooftop of the main mausoleum, have already been cleaned and treated. However, the cleaning of the main dome requires some technical studies.
The Supreme Court had earlier expressed concern over the change of color of the Mughal-era monument and it being infested by insects. It asked the Uttar Pradesh (UP) State government to bring in world experts to help preserve the country’s 17th century white marble mausoleum.
The UP government had recently told the apex court that it had asked Delhi-based School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) for a vision document for the protection of Taj Mahal.
Earlier this year, the Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the the government had taken a serious note of Supreme Court’s observations on the situation of the Taj Mahal. He further added that the use of biofuel, green fuel, and electric vehicles would be popularised in Agra to deal with air pollution and to protect the monuments of Agra.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.