Taj Mahal isn’t only the pride of India but also one of the seven wonders of the world. It is the epitome of architectural beauty which has lost its charm over the period of time. Once pure-white in color, the marble exterior can now be seen turning yellow and the reason is mainly attributed towards air pollution.

As reported by The Art Newspaper, the Supreme Court of India has told the central government in its statement that “Either we will shut down the Taj Mahal or you demolish or restore it,” while hearing a petition on the proper maintenance of the monument.

Agra, where Taj Mahal is located, is a place infamous for its pollution. The discoloration of the white marble due to the oxidation of its constituents is because of environmental neglect, dirt, wear and tear caused by tourists, emissions from vehicles, industrial smoke and the burning of municipal waste in the open. Insect droppings and acid rain also pose a threat to the formerly stark white beauty.

The Supreme Court has asked the BJP-led government to seek foreign assistance for the restoration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site for it to remain open. The Centre, in response, set up a committee to address the issue.

Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister, said that the committee would constitute officials from the environment ministry, experts from the Indian Institutes of technology, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and other forums. The committee would be led by Ministry of Environment Secretary CK Mishra.

It has been found in the study conducted on the depositions on the Taj Mahal that 3% of the pollutants borne by air pollution was black carbon, 30% was brown carbon and the rest accounted to dust.

Air pollution, however, isn’t the only determinant destroying the Taj Mahal. The monument was built near the Yamuna River in the 17th century, and as the water in the river is gradually drying up, the ground underneath the construction is shifting. If it continues, this could lead to the total collapse of the marble mausoleum.

Picture Credits: Jokejacket

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