Effects of Environmental Degradation on Taj Mahal
Located in India’s northern city of Agra, Taj Mahal is a white domed marble building constructed between 1632 and 1654 by Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in to house the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal his favorite wife. Although the monument still stands tall, the effects of environmental degradation on Taj Mahal have not faded away. The monument houses the tombs of some Indian royals and has been used for various commercial purposes, including tourism. In fact, it is one of the main tourist attraction sites in India, receiving millions of visitors annually. This makes it a significant factor in the economy. Besides, it is also a mark of beauty and pride to the people.
Since the claims came up years ago, various studies have been conducted by researchers about the environmental degradation on Taj Mahal. Most of these reports reveal that the monument is indeed, facing the threat of environmental degradation resulting from various factors. According to those studies, the degradation is mainly caused by air and water pollution. However, there are other agents too.
Assessment of the effects of environmental degradation on Taj Mahal
In order for one to understand the impacts of environmental degradation on Taj Mahal, it is advisable to first assess the damage and extent to which it has thrived. This will help you in effectively understanding the root of the problem and its influence on the monument.
A survey commissioned by India’s Ministry of Environment in 2010 established that, in the city of Agra, the pollution levels had significantly gone up over the years due to industrial, population and traffic expansions. The commissioning of the program received international attention. Recently released reports point out to increased levels of nitrogen oxide and particulates in the areas around Taj Mahal as the main cause of degradation
Despite the efforts made towards bringing back the beauty and significance of this great monument over the years, the effects of environmental degradation on Taj Mahal will not easily fade away. The following are some of the main impacts of the environmental pollution on Taj Mahal;
The Indian northern city of Agra is one that flows with a series of industrial operations and traffic, which release toxic gases into the air. As a result of the increased activities, the levels of dust, black carbon, and brown carbon in the atmosphere have also gone up. Combustion of fossil fuels is among the main agents of air pollution in the area.
Studies found out that these substances end up being absorbed on surfaces, causing discoloration. Besides, the pollution of water from the Yamuma River that serves Agra city is also blamed for impacting the discoloration of the monument. However, acid rain also plays part. Instead of the white vibrant marble, Taj Mahal is covered in dark and yellowish color.
The sandy particles also attach themselves to the monument, causing the surfaces to become rough and spotted. In an effort to reduce the concentration of toxic substances resulting from burning fossil fuels around Taj Mahal, cars are today prohibited within 500 meters of the landmark.
Taj Mahal has been and still remains one of the major tourist attractions in India, generating lots of revenues to the economy. However, these revenues are currently under significant threat since the number of visitors to the monument are dwindling. It still attracts visitors but the numbers are significantly shrinking because of the degenerating beauty and splendor of the iconic monument. Although it might be too early to quantify the economic impacts, it is clear that they will soon hit a record high if appropriate and effective measures are taken towards preserving the beauty and iconic nature of Taj Mahal.
Apart from the impacts outlined above, environmental degradation on Taj Mahal also inhibits the growth of vegetation around the monument due to contamination of the soil and water across the city coupled with acid rain.
Over the years, the government of India and other environmental conservation agencies have introduced measures and policies aimed at protecting the iconic monument. However, they have not been effective in eliminating the effects of environmental degradation on Taj Mahal. A lot still needs to be done to bring back the monument’s vibrant image.
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