Built 350 years ago by the Mogul emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal was built of marble, jade, turquoise, lapis lazuli and other precious stones. But its shimmering white walls have begun to fade owing to the effect of pollution from vehicles, factories and workshops in the nearby city of Agra. Pollution has begun to mar the walls of this monument. Despite serious efforts by the Indian government to curb air pollution around the seventeenth century monument, its shimmering white marble is turning yellow. Airborne particles began settling down on the Taj Mahal’s shimmering white marble, imparting it a yellowish tinge. In the past the authorities have established an air pollution monitoring centre in Agra. They found that while air pollutants like nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide were within tolerable limits, the suspended particulate matter reached very high levels except in rainy weather. Corrosive acid rain is also believed to be behind the discoloration of the Taj Mahal’s marble. The Yamuna River flowing by the monument is heavily polluted with sewage and industrial wastes and sometimes emits a foul smell which further pollutes the air. Experts have suggested that the monument be given a clay pack treatment that in non-abrasive and non-corrosive.
To address the serious problem of air pollution around the monument, the Ministery of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched a ten-point programme to reduce air pollution to protect this monument from further damage. The details of the programme are as follows:
1) Supply LPG to all the households in the vicinity. LPG connections have been provided to all the homes in the area and those who apply for the first time get their connections without any problems.
2) Unleaded petrol and low-lead petrol having a maximum lead content of 0.15 gm\liter have been made available at 22 outlets in the area.
3) Commercial establishments and industries are actively...