Effects of Pollution on the Taj Mahal and Conservation Efforts

There are so many questions often asked as why the Taj Mahal turning yellow? What Gases are harmful to the Taj Mahal? Why acid rains are harmful to the Taj? In this present post I would like to present the scenario of 20 years back while there was much pollution and causing harm to the Taj. You can ponder over the present scenario of change and the measures taken by the government.

I can not exactly recall but roughly. More than a decade back this idea flashed into my mind while I was working with a team of N.B.C Radio from U.S who were working on the programme related to all the wonders of the World – 20 minutes talk. They had many queries regarding the pollution impact on the Taj Mahal. By that time I was not much aware of the Phenomenon.

When advocate Mr M.C. Mehta lodged a public interest litigation on this issue before the honorable Supreme Court of India, the Government and the officials took it seriously and measures were taken to reduce the pollutants and save the surroundings. There are so many things which collectively create Pollution – like the gases, dust particles of the storms. Suspended particulate matter, Aphid, chloroforms etc. When you are on Agra tour enquire your tour guide about the pollutants at the Taj Mahal and remedy efforts.

Brick Kilns have been moved out of Agra

 The city of Agra had so many foundries and the mills which were emitting smoke similarly the traffic and the brick klins used to emit the smoke. These industries and the vehicles were using coal, diesel and petrol thus increasing the percentage of Sulphur dioxide gas in the atmosphere.

The roads of the city clogged with the old vehicles and the insects from the mustard fields aggravated this problem. Thus the marble of the ivory white Taj Mahal was Turing pale.

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Tuk Tuk today operate on CNG

The serious measures were taken by the authorities under which at the Taj Mahal the pollution measuring meter was set up. The old diesel and petrol vehicless were phased out and the compressed Natural Gas sub stations were created. Thus most of the Taj city tuk tuk and small cars are availing the facilities of C.N.G. In a radius of 90 kms all the foundries and brick kilns were shut down.

The government tried to dissuade the use of kerosene and coal and rather promoted the use of L.P.G and clean gas. Under the Taj Trapezium scheme the city was given 24 hours uninterrupted power supply. Thus the atmosphere today is much cleaner compared to the old times.

      

CNG stations in Agra

But still there is the problem of storm as in the summer there remains scarcity of water in the River Yamuna and the suspended particles of the river sand in the storm hit the glossy marble which in a way take out the lustre of the Taj gradually. The government of India has a plan to create gardens in the open areas of the sand on the banks of the river which can help to same extent.

But if the river can have more water may be by making a barrage this problem can be scaled out to a larger extent. Now the garden which is being developed by the Archaeological survey of India in front of the Fort and the pervading greenery can attract the tourists and cover the open sandy area.

A.S.I. also tried mud pack on the marble. The scaffolding were put on the edifice and the wet Multani clay was append which after drying up was washed with simple water. This was a sort of natural facial which did not provide any adverse impact.

Under the consciousness the Taj Mahal was not permitted to be lit at night so that the insect from the river area may not hurt the marble. The bonfire in the city was stopped.

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The network of National highways was adding on to the pollution as thousands of trucks were hurling across the city of Taj, Agra since British times has been a very strategic location and very important highways pass through the city, These highways connect Northern India with South India, central India and eastern India are very vital for the Indian economy, Plans were chalked out to reduce the effect of pollution generated by these passing vehicles.

Today city of Agra has a very good network of Bye pass roads which encircle the City of Taj from a proximity thus reducing the pollution. Northern byepass connects National highway 2 with Fatehabad road state highway, a four lane bye pass connects the National highway 3 with National highway 12 and further up to National highway 2 .

Green cover on increase in Agra

The traffic jams were another serious problem adding up to the pollution woes, In last 20 odd years all the major highways have been widened to six lane now the vehicles can speed on these roads without being stranded in long traffic jams.

Another big danger to the Tajmahal is the development happening in the vicinity the new construction activity adds to the already high suspended particulate matter but authorities maintain a strict vigil on these new construction sites and through measures like spraying of water keep the pollution under control.

The biggest effort in recent times has been the afforestation drive and effects of the same are seen already on the environment around the city of Taj, thousands  of trees are planted every year thus increasing the green cover by leaps and bounds hope we will sure be able to tackle this menace of pollution very effectively and Tajmahal will continue to amuse the travellers for a long period of time.

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