High Lvl. Inter Ministerial Meeting on Issues of Pollution Affecting Taj Mahal-C.K.Mishra Committee (Download PDF)

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High level Inter ministerial meeting was held on 16th July 2018 to deliberate on various issues & actions to be taken to conserve Taj Mahal. Meeting focused on action points needed to overcome Air & Water pollution in & around Taj Mahal.

Image of High Level Issues of Pollution Affecting Taj Mahal

Image of High Level Issues of Pollution Affecting Taj Mahal

Image of High Level Inter Ministerial Meeting on Issues of Pollution Affecting Taj Mahal

  • Meeting was chaired by Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping & Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, & was attended by Environment Minister.

Decisions Taken During Meeting

  • Inter-ministerial panel took serious cognizance of observations made by Supreme Court on Taj conservation & will take every possible step to deal w/Air & Water pollution.

  • To deal w/air pollution, use of bio fuel, green fuel, & electric vehicles will be popularized in Agra.

  • Ethanol policy will be introduced for Agra, which will include conversion of bio mass to ethanol during crop burning season.

  • Use of ethanol auto rickshaws combined w/introduction of mass-rapid transport system will be introduced as part of policy of zero tolerance to pollution.

  • Some of measures that will be taken up to deal w/water pollution in Yamuna include afforestation along Yamuna, construction of rubber dam, solid waste management, developing 35 KM long garden along water front of Yamuna in UP, Haryana & Delhi.

  • Govt. will soon file affidavit in Supreme Court putting forward all steps & actions taken up by Govt. to conserve Taj Mahal.

Constitution of C. K. Mishra Committee

  • Committee under Chairpersonship of Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, C. K. Mishra will be constituted to suggest ways to deal w/Air & Water pollution.

  • Committee will include experts from NEERI, IITs & experts from various organizations to look into issue of industrial pollution.

  • Committee will study on case-to-case basis & take tough stand on hazardous industries in vicinity of Taj Mahal.

Water Pollution in Yamuna

  • Cleaning of Yamuna falls under Namami Ganga project since it is tributary of Ganga & several projects are already been taken up to make river pollution free.

  • Total of 36 projects of Rs. 4000 Cr. on river Yamuna were identified already. Already 11 projects have started in Delhi on river Yamuna & tender for 12th project will be finalized soon.

  • Construction of rubber dam in downstream of Yamuna & STPs on Yamuna in Mathura, Vrindavan & Agra are being taken up.

Pollution Affecting Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is turning yellow mainly due to these reasons:

  • Air pollution

  • Discoloration of marble due to oxidation of its constituents

  • Environmental neglect

  • Wear & tear caused by millions of tourists who visit it every year.

Its pristine white color seems to be in danger as result of human excesses.

Diff. analyses have pointed at diff. culprits, ranging from algae & dirt to resin applied on Taj Mahal to preserve monument.

Natural Causes of Taj Mahal Yellowing

  • Taj Mahal is 360-year-old monument, so some discoloring is to be expected.

  • Marble does not exist in pure form, so marble in Taj Mahal is full of minerals that oxidize over time.

  • Oxidization leads to browning of these minerals, resulting in brown splotches on beautiful mausoleum.

  • Rain adversely affects monument, slowly weathering it down, leading to chipping & cracking.

  • Iron, was used by Indian govt. for work on Taj, which could be explanation.

  • Iron dovels were installed to repair marble slabs on building. Iron in these dovels naturally became rusted, & new layer of this rust was then deposited onto marble of Taj.

Tourists Polluting Taj Mahal

One potential cause of yellowing is tourists themselves.

  • On some days, Taj Mahal receives more than 50,000 people who want to marvel at architectural masterpiece.

  • Such large number of people trotting & trudging around this marble wonder obviously causes some amount of wear and tear.

  • Due to hosting such large crowd every single day, humidity level inside building increases, leading to gradual darkening of walls.

  • Grime & dust from sweaty palms cake onto immaculate walls.

Environmental Neglect

  • Trees are felled left, right & center in & around Agra as price for ‘modern development’. Agra lies in semi-arid zone, & temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius.

  • W/o natural obstruction of trees, heat waves that regularly plague plains of North India are free to wreak havoc on whatever stands in their way. Hot dusty winds have highly abrasive effect on monument.

  • According to Archaeological Survey of India, sand accumulated in reclaimed riverbed can erode marble surface during sandstorms.

Air Pollution Leading to Yellowing of Taj Mahal

  • Burning municipal waste, cow dung & other forms of waste releases particulate matter into sky. Agra and its neighboring areas have high rate of particulate matter for this very reason.

  • 2000 metric tons of waste is dumped into city every day. Burning of this waste comes at very high cost. Dust & carbon-containing particles emitted during burning of fossil fuels, biomass, & garbage are leading reason for discoloring of national monument.

  • Waste is not being segregated into industrial, hazardous, & biomedical waste, & is instead being dumped directly into drains & sewers.

  • Drains all eventually lead to Yamuna, w/o any treatment, further aiding slow tarnishing of one of world’s most beautiful man-made creations.

  • 3 % of pollutants was black carbon, 30 % was brown carbon, & rest was dust.

  • 30 % brown carbon was emitted, thru burning of biomass & garbage, which is common practice in area.

  • 3 % of black carbon results from vehicular pollution, which is major concern regarding conservation of Taj.

  • Authorities have banned vehicles w/I 500 meters of monument.

  • Efforts are made to supply clean fuel to industries & improve power grid to lessen impact of diesel generators.

  • Since 1994, authorities were giving monument mudpack treatments to try to curb process of yellowing.

- Published/Last Modified on: September 21, 2018

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