May 14, 2018
1 year

What is the issue?

  • The iconic Taj Mahal is losing its shiny whiteness due to pollution.
  • Despite about 3 decades of conservation efforts, there seems little improvement, which is worrying.

How is the case for Taj preservation proceeding?

  • Petitions for the conservation of Taj has been hovering the corridors of Supreme Court for over 3 decades now. 
  • In a 1996 case, the SC ordered a slew of measures, including the closure of factories in the vicinity, to protect the monument.
  • But successive government haven’t implemented these in spirit, which has resulted in the monument turning from “Whitish to yellowish” and then to the current state of brownish-green.
  • Recently, the SC criticised “Archaeological Survey of India” for its dismal performance in preserving the monument.
  • The union government has recently stated that it is mulling options for getting international experts to aid the conservation effort. 

What has led to the change of colour of the Taj Mahal’s marble?

  • Firstly, the polluting industries and the vehicular emissions in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) area are a major source of pollution.
  • Notably, Agra (location of Taj) has been rated the world’s eighth most polluted city in terms of PM 2.5 levels as per a recent WHO Report.
  • Rampant construction and encroachments along with air pollution only compound the problem
  • The second reason is that the Yamuna River, which flows behind the Taj, has become highly polluted (due to Agra’s drains).
  • The pollution has destroyed all aquatic life in the river, and has also proliferated insects around the river, which swarm the monument at night.
  • Fishes that would’ve eaten water breeding insects and their larvae have now been wiped out, which has led to the increase in population of the latter.
  • This insect swarming has led to algal growth on the surface of the monument.

What is the way ahead?

  • Renowned experts and institutions working in the field of conservation and preservation might help in finding solutions.  
  • As Taj Mahal is a World Heritage Site, considerable international interest is a granted one, which needs to capitalised on. 


Source: Indian Express




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