Agra: With a surge in air pollution levels this time of the year, the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders and the pinnacle of Mughal architecture disappeared under a blanket of smog on Monday (November 6) morning. The structure was engulfed in a layer of haze and was barely visible to the unaided eyes. However, this was not the first time, the mausoleum of white marble was hidden amid the pollutants. The city’s air quality level has reeled under the poor category since November 4 and was recorded at an overall air quality index of 256 this afternoon.
As per AQI.IN, the air quality in Agra was recorded as 163, in Aligarh it was at 172, 154 in Bareilly and 170 in Bulandshahr, all in the ‘poor category zone’. The air dropped to the ‘severe category’ in Ghaziabad and Hapur with an AQI of 352 while it remained in the ‘unhealthy category’ in Meerut and Muzzafarnagar with an AQI of 289 and 213.
Built-in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is a jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.
Air pollution levels can be high during the winter months for a number of reasons, including dust and vehicular pollution, dry-cold weather, stubble burning, burning crop residues after the harvest season and commuting.
Cold air is denser and moves slower than warm air, so it traps pollution and doesn’t whisk it away. This means that air pollution in winter remains in place for much longer than during the summer.
Taj Mahal’s marble is discoloured by airborne particulate matter, which is made up of black carbon, light-absorbing brown carbon, and dust.
The current concentration of PM2.5 in Uttar Pradesh is 130 (ug/m3). The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 15 ug/m3 as the threshold concentration of PM2.5 for 24 hours. Currently, the concentration is 5.20 times the recommended limit.
Meanwhile, the overall air quality in the National Capital continued to be in the ‘severe’ category for the fifth straight day, as per the Central Pollution Control Board.
According to the data issued by the System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR-India), the air quality in the National Capital was recorded at 488, up from 410 a day ago.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai has introduced the odd-even scheme for vehicles running in the city. Vehicles with registration numbers ending in odd or even numbers will ply on alternate days.
According to doctors, for any healthy person, a recommended AQI should be less than 50, but these days the AQI has spiked beyond 400, which could prove fatal for those suffering from lung-related diseases and even poses a risk of lung cancer.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.